I have often felt guilty because I don’t really play with my children. Sure, I goof around with them, but I am not really a get on the floor and play kind of mom.

Thanks to wisdom coming out of the Waldorf community, I find comfort in getting that it is not my job to play with, entertain and provide activities for my children or the children in my care.

My work is to live the rhythm I create for our home life, while the work of the children is to imitate and play freely with as little interruption as possible.

I realize that the guilt that I felt around “not playing” was actually less about what I wasn’t doing, but rather about what I wanted to be doing; desires yet unfulfilled. My desire is that my children feel nurtured, loved and cared for in my presence. Ways of being that have less to do with what I am doing, but rather with how I am being in their presence.

So while I do the work and live the life of an adult, the children still need regular intervals of my undivided attention. So if I am not playing with them, entertaining or providing activities, then how can I best interact with them in a way that meets my need to accomplish tasks and their need for my direction and care?

Here are some examples of what I more or less do when I am living into my desires. I give myself intervals of 1 and 1/2 hours of focused work and then 15-20 minutes of child focused nurturing care. Everything is offered to the children as an invitation, not expectation. The nurturing care I give includes:

snacktimes (2 each day) with a song and candle
circle time including songs, drumming and movement
foot baths and foot massage
hair brushing and face oil applications
laptime (3 books)

In total this takes up about 1 hour and 40 minutes of my day, not including morning, bedtime and meal time rituals.

These nurturing offerings to children are beyond simple to do. The children love it and I feel like I gave myself fully to the children. At the end of the day, I feel good about myself as a mother and the universe gives back with contented children who are enjoyable to work with (the children are invited to partake in the cooking and housekeeping to fulfill on their need and desire to imitate). They are a pleasure to be in the presence of.