Discovering Waldorf – ‘Connecting the Dots’

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Today, I welcome Imene to Discovering Waldorf. Her story is much like my own. When I became a parent, I set about learning how to do everything ‘right’. The more ‘right’ I became, the more uneasy I felt in that place in myself where instinct dwells. A little voice kept on saying… ‘you want to do this differently, don’t you?’. Then I rediscovered Waldorf and at last, I found the confidence to parent the way I felt was right to me.

Thank you for sharing your Waldorf journey with us, Imene…

* * *

Connecting the Dots by Imeme.
Samy and Layla


I always wanted children. As long as I remember children were part of my future. I had very strong opinions on how many (two), if I would go back to work and when (what do you mean stay home?) and how I would raise them. They would sleep in their crib, no pacifier and sleep through the night before their sixth week. I know you’re grinning!

Shortly after our wedding we came to live in the US and because I was home in between two jobs, we thought it would be a good time to start a family. I did three things when the test showed the two pink lines (actually five tests, I had to be sure). I bought the baby his first outfit, called a doctor and stopped at the bookstore.

I bought every book/magazine available and armed with a highlighter set about learning everything I could about being a parent. I read all the parenting books I could get my hands on (English and french), every magazine and website. The theme of everything I read was “Only do what’s best for the baby”. Except no one really agreed on what was best.

Writing


When I held Samy in my arms for the first time I learned one thing and one thing only. No matter what I thought before this child changed me in a way I never thought possible. Very early in I knew my son was happier held than alone in a crib but I was feeling guilty about putting him in bed with me. My mother and many magazines were not helping by relating the cases of babies smothered while sleeping with their moms. But I did what felt right and tried to figure out the rest one step at a time.


I wasn’t too sure about my decisions and had no support system I could rely on for help, advice or reassurance. My mother was 6000 miles away, I was the first among my friends to have a baby (and they were too far) and my husband relied on me for making decisions. He was even more lost than I was.

I stayed home, co-slept, had two more babies. I bought the right toys, the ones recommended by “experts”, signed up for classes and did everything the right way…or so I thought. The underlying message in the media is that in order to give your child a good start in life (and what parent wouldn’t want that) he had to have the right toys, watch the “right” videos, educational was the magic word. The more I complied and bought, the more I had doubts about my parenting. I realized that I was relying on books and magazine fueled by a consumer society to teach me how to raise my children.

Eat


I felt the need for a change, for a more meaningful life. It all started randomly by picking a book about Simple Living and looking up information on the topic. I uncluttered my home, gave away many toys (plastic/electronic), spent more time outdoors and enjoyed simple pleasures with my children.
The more I changed my life, the happier I was. We saw the difference in our children’s behavior and in the calm and confidence I gained about myself and my parenting. Once I started reading blogs on simple living, it wasn’t very long until I stumbled on blogs about Homeschooling and Waldorf education. The first thing I thought when I read about Waldorf philosophy is “I can finally connect the dots, finally it makes sense”.

A birthday gift

The first book I read on the subject was Heaven on Earth and I never looked back. Even though we’re not a typical Waldorf family (if such a thing exists). My children do not go to a Waldorf School nor are they homeschooled, they are allowed to watch TV and some unwanted toys still make it into our home.


Still I believe in the core teachings of Rudolf Steiner. We are taking our first steps in the Waldorf world so I am by no way an expert on the subject. At first I was overwhelmed by the change and a bit taken back by the cost of replacing the toys we had by the ones recommended. I was approaching the subject the wrong way. I forgot the main teaching of Waldorf that all your child really needs is you and that you can make pretty much all he needs to plays with. In fact you should..

We made gradual changes. We introduced Rhythm in our daily lives. The consistency has brought calmness and security to our lives. We started celebrating our birthdays with songs, homemade gifts, crowns and birthday rings. We make things together and celebrate nature and the seasons. We celebrate family traditions and nature. I also started making toys for my children with the help of some really talented and resourceful bloggers. We are taking it one step at a time and enjoying it all the way.


Waldorf education is about reclaiming parenthood and childhood from the commercial realm. It is about enjoying the beauty of the little things and treasuring nature. It is about trusting yourself and your instincts as a parent and respecting the child you are raising.

My biggest pride lately was my son asking me “What are we making for Layla’s birthday?

* * *

Thank you so much for sharing your journey, Imene. I know that your story rings true to so many of us. I love how you are integrating Waldorf into your lifestyle… taking what is working for you and your family and implementing it into your everyday. We did the same. Some of the Waldorf principles seem just too extreme for us… like no TV. How could we ever live a life with no TV? Well, 4 years down the line, that NO TV thing started to look less extreme, attractive actually. It is that we let ourselves fall slowly into this Waldorf lifestyle… we let it happen naturally. Thank you for such a great illustration that the transition can be done, Imene.

Imene writes such a lovely blog called A Journey to a Simple Happy Life. It is documentation of her journey into parenthood, her musings, discoveries and delightful children and family. I love visiting your special space and learning all you have to teach.

Here are the other articles in the Discovering Waldorf Series.

Blessings and magic,
Donni

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17 Responses

  1. I really liked this post – so nice to hear from someone that’s not
    “100%” Waldorf! It just proves that even that doesn’t have to be done “right.” :)

  2. This post just drew me in. I can SO relate. I wouldn’t consider myself “waldorf”. However, I’ve always wanted my kids to have a artful & fun childhood where outdoors is a big part. I’ve found waldorf books and blogs to be so helpful in maintaining this.

    Thanks!

  3. I am relatively new to “Waldorf” and it is wonderful to read about others who gently follow the path which leads them in the direction their heart leads. I find “Waldorf” to be wonderful sometimes daunting but as I do not know any other people who are of the same ideas I am so grateful to be able to connect with others who have similar thoughts and views.

    Thank you.

  4. I really appreciated this post by Imene. Her journey sounds so similar to what I’ve experienced. I loved what she said about Waldorf being something that reclaims childhood from the commercial realm…so true.

  5. Thanks for those discovering series. I’ve read them back to back last month, and happily read the new post each week!

    I love to read about other parent’s journey to an happier life. I’m not 100% Waldorf as well, but the main lines are there!

  6. your journey sound very much like my own.
    only really found waldorf ways in the last 6 months after hearing the word mentioned everytime i found a blog i liked lol!!

    I came from a Childcare perspective. trained to care for children and thought i knew it all. When i had my own son i felt very differently but felt guilt for letting him slep in with me or not doing “AS I SHOULD!” Having him prematurly and in special care did not help matters
    The second son (4 years later) was much different, un planned home birth, baby wearing, co-sleeping and so much more.
    I am on the de cluttering journey and going for wooden and natural toys and less plastic. I have started on the christmas shopping and everything is wooden and traditional. i needle felt them toys and provide much more freedom in the world. I would love to homeschool but do not feel confident. although i do plan on homeschooling my eldest through secondry school (he has aspergers).

    I will be popping across to this blog as it seems like it was writen for me!!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Pipx

  7. I read your blog all the time since I was pregnant. I now have my first baby at home!! She’s 3 months old. My intention is to live a life the simplest way possible but just like you some times it’s hard b/c all the people around me are NOT into it!!

  8. I’m halfway through the book Heaven on Earth and, although this is not the first Waldorf book that I have read, it’s the one which is having the biggest impact on me. Parenting makes sense once you read this book. We are still connecting the dots, but Waldorf blogs such as this one, and books on parenting from the Waldorf perspective are easing the way.

  9. thanks for sharing this! i must confess, that i was trying to do everything ‘right’ by waldorf – and that was a trap too! still figuring it out. i love that sweet bebe! : )

  10. I follow Imene’s blog and have been reading it for a while now.

    I totally agree on introducing Waldorf style play into everyday living while also having 21st century ideas such as TV (as long as it’s suitable).

    It is so great to read about someone who is learning all the time about how to raise children ‘properly’ and what other people think on the subject.

  11. YES! Though I don’t class myself as ‘Waldorf’ all that you said resonates with me. I am trying to take it all a step further and free myself from one doctrine and simple make up what works for us – just like you!

  12. My first blog posting ever. Finally getting into the deeper reaches of the web… I love this site. I have two girls aged 5 and 8 and both are enrolled in a Waldorf school. It has been a wonderful experience for the four of us. So much support and sharing among the community, but to meet the cost, I find myself working more and more and spending less and less time with my children. The community calls these children “Waldorf orphans” as parents struggle to meet the costs of tuition and eke out time for the endless calls for volunteers so important to the school. So I am venturing forth to gather information on homeschooling as I am gathering the courage to take the homeschooling step next year. Tough to do since both girls just love going to school each day. But I miss being an integral part of their everyday lives. It feels like I just hear about their day and share the stories, but not the life. (especially since I work weekends). It’s so inspirational to read about so many others struggling to figure out how to make the wonder, joy and gratitude that Waldorf ways create permeate one’s family life. Thank you for sharing. Namaste, Basia

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