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.
Today I am honoured to welcome Jennifer Pepito to Whole Family Rhythms community.
Jennifer Pepito is the creator of The Peaceful Preschool curriculum, and The Bountiful Homeschooling on a Budget course. She is also a regular contributor to the Wild and Free homeschool community. She can be found at The Peaceful Preschool or on Instagram @jenniferpepito.
Who are you? Can you introduce yourself, your work and your family?
I am Jennifer Pepito, the mother of seven children ages 23 to 8, and wife of 26 years to my hardworking husband Scott. We currently live on a 5 acre mini farm in Northern California where we raise chickens, goats and sheep. I have been homeschooling my children for 18 years, and last year I took some of my favorite ideas for nurturing young children and created The Peaceful Preschool curriculum.
What is one of the greatest joys you experience as a Mother?
Although caring for young babies was a deeply delightful season for me, I am currently loving the companionship of each of my children. They are all so unique, but spending time with them, and navigating life together is a daily joy.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face daily as a Mother?
One of the biggest challenges that I face as a mother is pulling up my big girl panties each day and mothering well. It is easy to get tired, and tempted to just let my children veg on the computer, but for their joy and mine, I keep stirring up the energy to love and nurture and guide them.
What does having “Rhythm in your Home” mean to you?
Having a rhythm in my home means that each day I keep reinforcing reasonable healthy habits. As much as I love being spontaneous, basic civility in our home requires that we have rhythms for caring for our home, our bodies, and our spirits.
Can you give an example of some of your most cherished ‘Family Values’?
One of our most cherished family values is the nurture of our spiritual life. We feel that anything good that we do, flows out of the joy we are filled with as we worship our God. We make daily spiritual nurture a priority above most other things.
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?
Aside from basic home and body care, we start each day with devotional time that usually includes some singing, some devotional reading, and some quiet reflective time. This reinforces to the children still at home daily that our spiritual life and relationship with Father God is worth nurturing. We also pause during any crisis to ask God to intervene.
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?
My days aren’t always exactly the same, but what we usually aim for is;
6:45 Wake up, grab coffee and head back to bed for a few minutes of phone time, Bible reading, and journaling.
7:30 Yoga, usually to Christian worship music.
8:00 Quick run with an older son or outside time to check on livestock and gardens.
8:30 Check children’s morning home and bodycare.
9:00 Morning time with children which includes devotional reading, singing, prayer, memory work, Spanish, and read aloud time.
10:30 Seat work, including math, reading and writing.
1:30 My work time- children usually read quietly or play outside. A few days a week we head out in the afternoon for classes or other lessons.
4:00 My husband comes home early and we switch gears to do family work projects
5:00 Family dinners are a regular occurrence, often followed by reading aloud.
A few nights a week we will follow dinner with some family singing time, once or twice a week we might watch a show or movie in the evening. We have several young adults and older teens at home, so there is always someone to talk to or to work through an issue with. We also have a couple nights a week where we are at a meeting or class.
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?
Our spiritual life is the core of our family life, and from that flow many varieties of creative expression. We regularly paint, listen to music, dance, play instruments, read aloud, or even just sit and listen for God’s voice as part of our faith. Erwin McManus says, “A soul that is free and alive is a the soul that creates”, and we see that the more our spirit connects with the Holy Spirit, the more creative we become.
When does your family rhythm get thrown off kilter?
Our rhythm is most thrown off kilter when we are discouraged. When our emotions start to lead instead of our spirit, we can see things through a less hopeful lens which can lead to looking for comfort instead of sticking with healthy patterns. That is just a part of life, and it isn’t always a bad thing to ditch a routine for needed comfort, but we try to work through those emotions, instead of spiralling into a life that is chaotic.
Do you consciously re-evaluate and change your family rhythm with the seasons and ages and stages of your kids?
Our family rhythm and even our family values have changed greatly through the years. Earlier, we were much more concerned about doing things right, and through failing to get things right, we changed focus. We have become much more concerned with loving God and receiving His love. It is only when we know we are loved, that we can continue to muster up the energy to love well.
When you’re feeling stuck, tired, frustrated with your role as Mother, what do you need most to shift your energy and perception?
What I usually do to shift my energy when I am tired and frustrated, is put on my favorite Justin Byrne album and get a blank page in front of me. I journal my feelings, as well as what I feel God is saying about the situation. This has helped bring clarity to many difficult days. If I am too off kilter and confused for that step, I might just have a glass of wine and go to bed with a good book. Sometimes a bad day just needs to be left behind before we can get clarity on it.
If you could recommend one book to ALL Mothers out there what would it be?
I think the three that have most impacted me in the last several years are Heaven on Earth, Simplicity Parenting, and Raising Burning Hearts.