Monday, September 1, 2014

Home Apprenticeship #MindfulMotheringMondays

{I was thinking it was nearly time to bring out this archived post and have another look, and Labor Day seems just the day to do that. Lots of things I need to remember here. Enjoy!}

"I could never homeschool.  That's awesome that you do, though."

We're in the waiting room at ballet, watching our pint-sized ballerinas through the window.  I reluctantly lift my eyes from Dinah's porte de bras to meet her gaze.

"Oh I'm sure you could.  It's not much different than regular parenting, really."

She's not readily convinced, shakes her head and gestures.

"No, no, no.  With the kid's home all day?  I could never get anything done."


It's Sunday and I'm washing up the last of the dishes.  Cake baking in the oven, bread dough tucked snugly into pans, vegetables and macaroni and cheese waiting in the fridge for their turn to be cooked for our weekly family meal.

Outside, the hum of the mower and I see my 8 year old walk past the window, throwing the bulk of his thin 8 year old frame against the weight of it.  Behind him walks his Dad, my husband, just a few steps.  Close enough to step in to correct and instruct, far enough to let his son learn on his own.

My toddler comes running in from outside and I set him up with a dishcloth to dry the pots and pans for me. He's quiet and content on his little stool, occasionally looking up and asking me if he's doing a good job.  I apply praise liberally and his face is all light and smiles.

It gets me thinking of that conversation last week at the studio.  How does one get anything done with five kids in the home all day every day?  To be sure, some things can be quite a mess.  But the basics?  They get done.  Laundry, groceries, meals, schooling, all happens just fine.  Maybe a bit more hectic than if they weren't here, but I wonder if that's a bad thing.

In the past 200 or so years, it seems we've forgotten how to "get anything done" with children around.  Certainly some people still have it figured out.  Drive out in Amish country and you'll see a Father plowing his field - with 2 or 3 youngsters tagging along and helping.  Regular families used to be able to do that, too - incorporate their children into the daily running of their homes and lives.  Children learned by watching and working alongside their parents - important skills.  Parents didn't view their children's presence as being burdensome or exasperating, but rather another aspect of the job - training the next generation to work.

These days, it's easier to turn on a video for the kids while you are making dinner, or do all the chores yourself because it's more efficient and orderly that way.  But perhaps this is robbing our children of something very important?

It's not always a picturesque endeavor. They're real people, after all, and who get's excited about unloading a dishwasher? But the result is always worth the struggle it may take to get there.

Homeschooled or schooled, it doesn't matter.  Incorporating children into real life begins with the home life and how we allow them to apprentice along side us, yes, even if it means a bit of a mess in the kitchen, or laundry not folded exactly right.  Perhaps his mowing isn't in perfect straight lines, but it certainly never will be if he isn't given the opportunity to try.  We also need to get away from viewing "work" as a dirty word and something to save our children from.  Teach little ones to love work by allowing them to help when they are little and still want to - and raise up a crop of hardworking adults who get the job done.

It's a lesson I'm still learning when I'd rather just buzz through these 3 loads a day and not be bothered teaching the 5 year old how to fold Daddy's shirts.  Or when I really just want to get these loaves in the oven and not let him help me mix up the dough.  But I know it's all a part of the job - a very important part.  Perhaps the most important part.

Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard 

will prosper (Proverbs 13:4 NLT).

How are you apprenticing your kids?

{It's Mindful Mothering Mondays, a day to take a deep breath and write out your mothering journey, whatever form it takes. A day to link up for encouragement from others who are in this same phase of life. A day of writing out the trials and triumphs and what you're learning right where you are, right now.

You might post recent struggles or thoughts. Maybe just a picture or a quote. Or maybe you'll just come here and read the links that others post. Whatever form your participation takes, this is a day for you.
We are all in this, together. Together, we can encourage and build one another up, be honest with our shortcomings and strengthened by community to keep fighting the good fight.

I chose Mondays because what Mama doesn't need a little encouragement on a Monday?

I hope you'll meet with me! Here's what to do ~

Link up your post below in the comments. Remember to put the link to the exact post you want to link, and not just your blog url. Include in your post a link back here so others who want to join in can find us! And visit some other Mamas who have linked up.

Post the community graphic within your post, so people who are reading your Mindful Mothering post can come back here and find the rest of us! You can use the hashtag #MindfulMotheringMondays on Twitter and Instagram to connect further.

Invite the writers of your favorite blogs to join in!

Share this meme with others on facebook and twitter. This community is for all moms, and the more that participate, the more we will be able to enjoy!!}

Grab the graphic here:


If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to future posts.  Thank you.


  1. Perfect for Labor Day. (And just the reminder I need with my list of 37 things that I "need" to get done today.) How will I help my children work with me? Beautiful.

  2. THANK YOU, Lydia, for this inspiring post! You remind me to cherish the short time I have with my little treasures! They are just as special today as the day they were born and celebrated!

  3. Thanks for coming by, Sandy! I need the same reminders myself :)

  4. It takes longer, it doesn't look as perfect - but busy children are happy children and I think we could all use a little more happiness around here.


Thank you so much for stopping by! I love hearing from you! While you're here, don't forget to click "subscribe"!