As a Waldorf mother, I'm not the greatest. My son watches a cartoon show on my computer or my partner's about once every two weeks. We are inside right now. We may or may not go out in the rain later. I do not keep all screens turned off around my son, and we talk to him way too much, with too much intellectual question-asking and explaining.
As a mother, I am not that bad. My son is fed, dressed, and loved. He eats fruit and vegetables and whole grains daily. He goes to preschool with lovely, sweet teachers, and he is tucked into a safe, warm bed every night. His toys are a mixture of natural and mainstream, thanks to loving grandparents. I have sought out a faith community that supports our family and offers him ways to connect with his highest good. I read and tell stories. We bake together. I offer regular hugs and snuggles and tell him how much I love him. We brush his teeth together, and he has a regular bedtime routine.
See how that second list is longer than the first? Take a moment, parents, and list all the ways you are doing well. I bet that, all things considered, you are doing pretty well.
There is a lot of pressure in the Waldorf parenting community to be "perfect". To have the right toys, the right paint on the walls, the right meals, the right way of speaking to your child -- all noble pursuits, but not an end in themselves. We can easily lose sight of the goal here, lost in a forest of material desires, and we forget that the point is to help children develop into loving, responsible, INDEPENDENT adults. When we abdicate our own authority of what is good, beautiful, and true, to Pinterest and mommy blogs (even this one!) and high-minded books, we are not being worthy models of imitation (big goal of Waldorf early years parenting)! We are showing our children that we are not to be trusted -- we don't even trust ourselves!
Take a breath. Know that you are capable of extraordinary parenting, living, and teaching, and that the greatest gift you can give your child is confident, loving parenting. Trust yourself. Do your best, and forgive yourself for being imperfect. Celebrate the journey -- take what works for your family, for you, from those sources that inspire you, and let go of the rest.
I am working on yelling less and listening more. On making magical moments, and of letting myself work hard when I need to work. My child is playing baseball with a soft foam ball and a mailing tube while I type this. I pitch a few balls, then type a few lines. It's working today.
Take a breath. In, and especially out.
Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I write about storytelling, and about living a life with stories.