I only have one child and one husband so my laundry duties are not nearly as abundant as some of my other mom friends yet there are times when I find myself with three heaping baskets of clothes and diapers overflowing onto our small laundry room floor. It is just way more fun to play and spend time outside than fold laundry!
But one of the components of Waldorf education that I like the most is allowing children to see adults do work. Waldorf professionals speak about the importance of children watching parents and teachers use their hands to mend, make, and create things. The idea is that we have gotten so far away from taking pride in these small upkeep tasks that children often don’t even learn the skills. The idea of mom or dad sitting at the computer for “work” is too abstract. But seeing mom fold the laundry with a gentle smile, or watch dad cut up the veggies for a delicious omelet is comprehendible to them. The key is having them watch, and help you, do work through movement. It is satisfying to them.
I also think that children need to be among life, rather the center of life all the time. I say this with my brow raised and a slight smile on my face because this is a work in progress for me. Lydia is spoiled with love and uninterrupted attention, admittedly more so than future children will be because she is our first. I strive to be present with her, as I will with future children. But I am working on the balance. I am working on her playing around me as I prep dinner. I am working on her helping move the laundry from the dryer to the basket then sit as I sign with her while folding the clothes. I am working on her being part of the household tasks rather than me doing them all when she goes to bed or takes a nap.
Transitioning into this flow was difficult for me at first. I felt like I was ignoring her. I felt like I should be sitting and engaging in play with her. But, when I started to research and trust my mom gut, I learned that these household tasks are meaningful for her to watch, that being part of a family means that these tasks need to get done, and that her observing these daily activities help form her pride in her home and her attention to detail, my guilt is slowly drifting away and allowing me to see the beauty of the homemaking flow.