In these times, many new, second and third time mothers are striving to bring an element of purposefulness to their mothering task. Mothers want to provide the world for their children, as has always been the case, but now also seek nourishment and personal satisfaction from the daily grind. This is a wonderful development, as it means women begin once again to value mothering as an art form. It truly is. Motherhood brings immense satisfaction in rearing your offspring, but when self development and soulful growth are by-products of the work, being a mother becomes a valuable career path in itself. This new kind of parenting can bring real riches, in the form of creative expression, but also in monetary form as mothers sell the products and knowledge base of their creativity.
The phrase “Truth, Beauty and Goodness” can help to guide our purposefulness. Each morning, we greet the world anew. There is a clean slate, waiting for us to pen our adventures. With our motto in hand, we can approach every task with fresh eyes and thoughtfulness.
Young children are like clay pots. They are a little fragile and require special care as we sculpt and mould to ensure they are strong enough to handle the fires of life. Providing age-appropriate truthful, honest activity is like preparing the clay for the intense heat.
Daily living provides a multitude of tasks that encourage the child to play and find wonder and magic. You’ll never look at washing up the same way again! We can prepare bread dough and watch with open eyes as it doubles in size through the activity of the yeast. We can wash tables with bowlfuls of warm soapy bubble water and immerse ourselves with the children in the joyful task or we can bake orange poppy seed muffins for our guests. Their enthusiastic participation in these kinds of things shows us that children seek and rely upon honest work. There is a clear purpose and a predictable end result that provides security and safety for growing youngsters.
Making and eating a delightful afternoon tea or putting the house back into order after a day of play mirrors that which occurs in nature, this gentle cycle of construction and destruction. We see it in the falling of the autumn leaves back to the earth and their eventual transformation into nutrient-rich hummus soil and in the need to layer on warmer clothes during the autumnal transition to winter. We too, benefit by delving deeper into our thinking about our daily practices. Mothers can find these daily tasks become an opportunity for a mini meditation of sorts, a time to reflect upon our children and the task at hand rather than seeing the repetition of a task as a daily drudge. A mindful mother expands the so-called limits of her world and discovers joy in the everyday.
When we hold beauty as part of our mantra, we look at the world through rejuvenated eyes. We no longer tolerate broken toys, junk food or unnecessary mess, and it encourages our action. We fix the toys, we make food from wholesome natural foodstuffs and we de-clutter. Our quest for beauty does not fit a standard one-size-fits-all approach, as beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder. What we strive for when we seek beauty are things that delight OUR senses and mind. If something doesn’t provide us with a frisson of joy when we first contemplate it, then we have a clear mandate to do something about it. Beauty can be found in a newly painted room, in a vase of your favourite flowers, in an artfully displayed set of toys or in a freshly mowed lawn. Equally, it can be found in the re-sorting of your craft materials, the clearing out of cupboards or in the new goal of buying only motif-free clothes for your children.
Beauty in autumn is about embracing the fire-filled colours of the falling leaves, stacking piles of wood for the fire, adding a favourite woollen scarf to a tired outfit or sweeping a path clear to your door. It is about making a conscious effort to see beyond a potential annoyance and finding the spark of beauty that may hide just below the surface. There really is potential for beauty everywhere. We only need to open our eyes a fraction wider and clean off years of dust and grime.
Every child, woman and man is born with a seed of goodness planted deep within. Life might take someone along a bumpy road but there is always potential for this seed to germinate and grow. We just need to create the right conditions. If we embrace goodness as one of three conscious virtues for our family lives, a child will necessarily imitate those good deeds as what they experience is the soil from which they grow. As parents, we have a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate our belief in goodness. We can look past a grumpy exterior of a hardened old man to see his child within and win him over with laughter and friendship. We can keep a close hold of our friend’s child who displays difficult and challenging behaviours, long after the rest of his friends have dropped away, whilst we search for his hidden good qualities. (They are definitely there!) We can focus on the rainbow after the rain and see the glass as half full. In autumn, it is acknowledging that the wild winds dust away the earth’s debris or that the shorter days offer time for introspection and a return to hand making of craft. We celebrate the goodness of the season by embracing the fact that it is time to indulge in warming, nourishing foods from the harvests such as potato pies, rich pumpkin soups and apple crumbles. Oh, yum!
The three virtues of truth, beauty and goodness can actively support us in our quest to grow responsible, kind, caring children as we choose these boundaries above all others. As adults, these three virtues encourage us to mind our manners, to speak well of others and to create a loving, inviting home for our family and friends. No matter what the season, there is always an opportunity for renewal in our thinking and feeling processes that can lead us and our children toward a purposeful and engaged life.
Amber is a mama-bear to Henrietta and Ned. She is a writer and ex-Waldorf kindergarten teacher who strives for creativity in all aspects of life, and explores this theme through her blog Mamamoontime.