I am thrilled to be sharing a new interview series with you each and every week. In this series my intention is to reveal the endless ways our family values can inform our Daily Rhythm. The mothers I have interviewed lead diverse lives but they each have a huge sense of clarity about what their Family Values are (even if they change over time) and consciously and creatively strive to create a Daily Rhythm in alignment with those values.
It is my hope that through these stories more Mothers feel inspired to explore what their own family values are, to question them and bring them to life in their everyday experience. I know that seeing the world through another Mother’s lens will develop more empathy, understanding and compassion between us.
To kick off the series I thought it was only fair to share my own answers. Next week we will hear from Jennifer Pepito of the Peaceful Preschool.
Who are you? Can you introduce yourself, your work and your family?
I am Meagan Wilson, founder of Whole Family Rhythms, Mother, Wife, visionary writer & creator. Whole Family Rhythms is an online community and business that aims to connect and inspire mothers, carers and communities with each other so that they feel empowered to raise children who are wholly connected with themselves (head, heart and hands) and to the planet. I have four gorgeous children, three of which are still immersed in ‘Early Childhood’.
What is one of the greatest joys you experience as a Mother?
Watching my children shed a layer of fear or doubt while discovering more confidence and a sense of self-understanding than they had before.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face daily as a Mother?
Emotionally I struggle with the normal (and sometimes not as normal) pain and suffering my children experience as a result of being human (social upsets, stomachaches, allergies, fears). As a Mother, if I could shield my children from as much suffering as I could, I would! And everyday I am confronted with the truth that in all life there is both joy and suffering and we cannot protect our children from any of it.
What does having “Rhythm in your Home” mean to you?
Rhythm for our family is creating a predicable flow of daily events which act as a compass- leading the way and keeping us on course. Our Monthly, Weekly and Daily Rhythms are consciously animated to reflect our family’s values and beliefs.
Can you give an example of some of your most cherished ‘Family Values’?
- Love, Respect and Connection amongst all family members
- Experiencing creative expression & freedom each day
- Consciously consuming food and materials so that we align our family values with our consumption patterns
- Growing, Raising and Making our own food
- Protecting the Wonder in Childhood
- Modelling gratitude and generosity everyday
How do you hope to pass these values on to your children? Or in other words, how do you manifest these family values in your daily rhythm?
With young children we as parents try to model these values as much as we can. This means embodying these values ourselves through our thoughts, words and actions. This takes a lot of inner work, thought and conscious action on our part. So for example, instead of lecturing young children about being generous, we will try regularly model acts of generosity like baking muffins for a neighbour or helping a friend in need.
Can you outline a typical ‘Weekday Rhythm’ for you and your children. Specifically when/where/how do you and your little ones eat, sleep/rest, play inside/outside, work/learn and make time for selfcare?
5am Adults wake up, Mama meditates,
5:30 Dad does barn chores and milks, Mama prepares breakfast and packs lunches
6am everyone wakes up, eats breakfast, makes beds and gets dressed
7:15 Mama or Dad take two older children to school, parent who takes children to school then heads to the office
8:30 Parent who stayed home with younger children is with them for the day, clean up house, free play
9:30 Outside Time
11 Morning Tea, Guided Theme of the Day, Inside Free Play
12:30 Nap/Rest time/Stories
1:30 Dinner Prep
2pm Wake up, afternoon snack, Outside Play
3:30pm Parent at work picks school children up
4:30pm Whole Family is home together, free play, music practice
6 Bath, Teeth, Hair
6:30 Two little ones books, blessings and bed by 7
7pm Six-year-old chapter book and some readers aloud, eight-year-old independent reading
7:30 Guided meditation with eight-year-old,
8pm Brad and I have a cup of tea, talk, discuss week’s plans, read
9:30 Bed for grown-ups
How important are higher belief systems, stories, literature, art, family history and creative expression to your family? How do you weave these into your family life?
We use Pagan/Christian Festivals to weave virtues and moral lessons into the year. We do not dogmatically follow any one religion but draw from different spiritual pools. Artistic self-expression is a strong value of ours. Our son plays the piano or with his guitar constantly which we put very few limits on. My older daughter has watercolour paints, brushes, glues, scissors, crayons and a variety of paper in her room which she can access at any time- which is most days. My younger children have access to crayons, paper, modelling dough and other artistic materials whenever they choose. We also try to make time for poetry, music and some movement as much as we can.
When does your family rhythm get thrown off kilter?
When we’re sick we go into a different sort of family rhythm. Once everyone is well again it takes about a week to get back into our regular family rhythm.
Do you consciously re-evaluate and change your family rhythm with the seasons and ages and stages of your kids?
Yes we follow the rhythm of the seasons so that the artistic crafts, songs, stories and lessons we learn are in tune with what is happening in the physical world around us. So for example right now bedtimes are a bit later than in the deep Winter because there is more light. We are decorating eggs because it’s close to Easter, we’re planting seeds for the garden and we’re eating more raw greens as they become locally available.
When you’re feeling stuck, tired, frustrated with your role as Mother, what do you need most to shift your energy and perception?
Time alone! When I am disciplined enough (or everyone is well enough- because sick children wreak havoc on our Rhythm) to give myself a whole hour or longer in the mornings before anyone else is awake, my days are magical. I am very slow to wake up and I feel I have a lot creatively to digest, process and express right after sleep so this time is critical to my presence and contentedness.
If you could recommend one book to ALL Mothers out there what would it be?
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes