Spring break is here! As homeschoolers we're not obligated to follow a certain schedule, but our family will be lightening the school load next week in order to have some time to play with public school friends and to do some traveling. And while the kids think a break from schoolwork is nice, Mama is the one who really needs a break.
Unfortunately, most of us don't get many breaks. There are people to be fed, clothes to be washed, and floors to be swept; there's always something. If we don't take some time for ourselves, though, it all falls apart eventually. When time for myself is rare, though, I find that I need to be smart about how I'm spending that precious commodity, which is why I want to talk a bit about the idea of Mother Culture today.
If you read about Mother Culture, some you may feel that it's a rather lofty notion. A lot of the books and blog posts I've read don't quite fit with the way my life really runs. It's kind of like comparing a picture from Pinterest with the way your living room looks on Christmas afternoon. There's nothing wrong with either one, but I think it's important not to get so caught up in the ideal that you fail to do what you can with what you have. I don't have the time (or the desire, truthfully) at this point in my life to do some of the things Charlotte Mason deems most desirable, but there are things I can do and can do well, and that's where I need to focus.
So what is Mother Culture? Simply put, it's taking time to educate yourself alongside your children so that your mind is growing all the time just like theirs are. It's reading and learning and trying new things so that as your kids get older and are learning more complex concepts, your mind isn't stuck in the land of Nick Jr. Sometimes this can be done in conjunction with what your kids are learning. I've found that when I'm researching artists for our artist study time, I usually get caught up in learning about them way beyond what my kids are ever going to need to know at this point. It does give me some extra background that I can share with them, though, and I'm learning new things and enjoying it, too. If you do nature study, this is another area where it's easy to extend what you're doing with your kids into your own projects.
Mother Culture is also something that can be done on your own. One way is to read as much as you can on different topics so that you're expanding your knowledge in different areas. Visit a museum or try a new project. Keep your mind active! Of course we still need that time that we can kick back with a pointless movie or go get a pedicure, but if you can find a way to enjoy some time to yourself while doing something to benefit yourself and eventually your kids later on, that is great, too!
If you want to learn more about Mother Culture, Karen Andreola's blog is a great resource. She also has a talk on Mother Culture you can order on CD that is good, too. You may find that not all of her beliefs are yours—I had to laugh as I was listening to her talk about women not wearing jeans while on the way to Old Navy in search of new jeans—but if we only took advice from people who shared all of our beliefs we'd never get any. I think she gives some good ideas if the whole concept of Mother Culture is new to you.
However you spend next week, I hope you find some time for yourself. You deserve it, Mama!