Yesterday I wanted to make baked potatoes. I bought potatoes and when I went to do it I realized that I didn’t have any tin foil.
This dilemma has freed me in so many ways.
I pondered packing up kids at prime time to a crowded grocery store. And then I used my brain…
Why can’t I make baked potatoes with toxic aluminum foil? Why not!?!?
I love the earth! I’m a member of the green movement! So cut out the crap!
And so I did. Why didn’t I question this sooner!?!?
The result was a satisfyingly moist and delicious potato. Everyone agreed that they tasted sweeter than usual. Was I because I didn’t use foil? We will never know, as I am never using it again.
When I read Dayna Martin’s book “Radical Unschooling”, I identified with it immediately. At times I felt like it was me pouring out of the book. The questioning of whether it was ok to just let our kids do whatever they want, when they want… It went away. I gained more confidence in allowing my children to be the free beings that they are.
That seems to happen when we can give ourselves a name. We are radical unschoolers and I didn’t even know it.
Why is it that having a label eases and soothes my self-doubt?
Shouldn’t it be enough to follow my heart and live with passion?
I think we all want to feel connected. We want to know that there are others like us. We need encouragement and guidance and it’s been very satisfying to see others living the Unschooling life so happily. The radical
Unschooling life, which means that we are free in all areas not just learning. Shouldn’t it be enough to be a part of the human race? Are not we all the same anyways, at the core?
Maybe it’s not so much a label as a definition. The principles speak to my core, it’s not one a fad like my bangs or Birkenstocks.
My thoughts are interesting to me…
Many people tell me that they are tired all the time, especially mothers. I have two easy recommendations to try first. This can make a world of difference:
Are you drinking enough water and are you eating sufficient fat?
Drinking water throughout the day is important for every single part of your body.
Fat is needed to assimilate many of the good things that you are already eating. Vitamin D is one that needs fat to be produced in your body. So many people have cut out important fats due to concerns over weight gain or cholesterol, but recent studies and ancient wisdom have refuted those theories.
High quality fats include virgin and non-virgin coconut oil, virgin olive oil, palm oil (although there may be environmental issues with this one), butter (especially from grass fed cows), eggs, lard, avacado oil and hemp oil. I use a combination of these daily and am often amazed at the energy that I can sustain! You deserve to feel amazing, too. WAPF info on fat
There has been a lot of discussion in our house about how to get children to clean up their messes. Mostly these conversations spark out of extreme mess and those overwhelming feelings of where to begin.
My mother says they don’t clean up because I don’t make them.
When I am stressed by messes my partner says “Make the kids to help you!”, as if it’s magic.
As most know by now, I don’t believe in teaching by force and chores and housework are no exception.
I have some super awesome ideas about inspiring cleaning motivation in children. I am seeing some great results with my own children in using these methods.
The first thing is always connection. To gain (reasonable) cooperation from children the most important thing is that they feel a loving, trusting connection to us. They need to feel a strong purpose in relation to the family as a group who works, loves and plays together.
The second thing is freedom of choice. They need to feel that they have a choice about things. Everyone wants to feel that they are in control of their lives and children are the same. Nobody likes doing something that is by lack of freedom.
The third is finding the joy behind cleaning. I often hear adults say “We all have to do things we don’t want to.”. Well, I am looking for a more inspired and kinder approach. It’s about finding the reasons that we do want to clean. There must be some or we wouldn’t do it. I have found that the feel of good dish soap and warm water on my hands is so soothing and cleansing. Also, the result of having
clean dishes to use is wonderful too.
The last idea I have is letting go of expectations. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect children to clean messes before they have acquired the skills to do so. I am happy to help my children clean, often I even do it all by myself (more on that later). Helping them also encourages a helping relationship among people. I see many parents who have conclude that doing their share means cleaning up every single thing that they use. To me, these are my precious children and their main job is to play and learn as well as entertain me with their creative antics. There is lots of time for us to learn these skills. It doesn’t have to be immediate and right now.
So, how do we put these four ideas to use?
Well, connection requires daily effort. It means patience and love and letting go. It means absorbing ourselves in our children’s interests. It means addressing our own fears and beliefs.
The second idea choice, means never forcing them to tidy up and that also means never by force of punishment or reward. It means trusting that they will learn the skills with our patient and loving guidance.
The third idea, finding the joy may be the most difficult as so many parents have a negative association with cleaning. Find the joy. Put on music, take it slow and mindfully. Look for all the reasons as to why you do what you do. Children learn well by example and will too find the joy in life maintenance if they see you experiencing it. If you find housework stressful, your children could develop an aversion to it purely because of it.
Fourthly, letting go of expectations can mean not expecting a child to clean everything they have done. Children must first learn the skills to clean and they do this by our demonstration and engagement with them. Letting go to me means that at times I will clean something up by myself for my child. Yesterday my son threw his banana peel on the floor. My mom wanted to make him come in and pick it up. Knowing that everyone is doing their best, I picked it up for him. I did this not to enable his bad habits but to let him know that I am here for him as he is for me. We work to look for the things that he does enjoy that contribute to the family. He likes recycling and running errands for me. Both of these are a huge help to me and he will do them without my help. I would never leave my husbands plate on the table until he is ready to do it. That’s not a helping cooperative relationship. I happily do it for him, and the same goes for my child. They all see this and often will return the favour.
It’s not about who does more, it’s more about how much can we love…
Here are the children playing kitchen. The oldest is only three and has initiated cleanup, notice how the younger two are watching her? 🙂
I have found that children are eager for order, they just need the space and freedom to discover how that looks to them.
How often are you in the middle of a
mess SO big that you don’t know where to begin?
I find myself feeling like I am drowning in laundry, surrounded by bits of food on table and floor. Is this normal?
How often do you sigh and think the thought ” Why are they so messy?” and “I will never get this all cleaned up.”
The thoughts can go on and on, blaming and criticizing what is simply life and learning.
Today is different. I get it.
I understand the meaning of the messes and for this it is not stressing me out.
Vegetable scraps decorate the counter reminding me of how we, as friends, shared the creating of chicken soup.
The bowls lined in broth and fat resemble the nourishment shared between mother and child.
The floor has been blessed with onion peels, crumbled between precious bitty fingers.
If I squint and really look, the mess of rice, glue, toast and paper scraps look like abstract art.
If I photograph it, it looks like somebody else’s place. And it’s not so bad. I can laugh and share it online.
I need to do this more often, appreciating the messes for what they really are… A life well lived.
I stopped using soap on my sensitive bits, well I will say it for my daughter’s benefit, on my armpits, vagina and butt. I use a clay product in my hair. Mr.Common-Law has stopped using soap completely for about ten months now. He asks me if he smells and I say,
“Probably. But don’t worry. I am
immune to it because I smell too.”.
So, to research for this article, I needed to find out if we really smell bad due to not using soap. So, I asked my mom. She said that we don’t smell bad as people, but our room does. That’s scientific enough for me to conclude that soap does not produce a finer smelling human being! (I also googled it.)
Since our no-soap hygiene excursion, Mr.Common-Law has been experiencing some intensely soft hair along along with “private” skin problems remedied. I had eliminated my stinky armpits (by not using soap) until I accidentaly used soap one day. I remedied that by applying Bragg’s apple cider vinegar to them. It’s truly amazing what a little vinegar can do! I no longer wonder where the cat peed. Everywhere I go!?!?
We also haven’t been using deodorant or any hair products or perfumes. You don’t need them if your body bacteria is living in balance. Think of the landfill space that saves! Think of the chemicals reduced! Being cheap and lazy are not the only reasons to cut down on your personal hygiene!
So, what’s the deal?
While cleansing away that awful BO/Cat-pee-smell, Soap can upset your skins balance of good bacteria. The good bacteria are there to take care of the bad bacteria yet we keep massacring them and so they never live out their full potential.
Now I must address something. It seems that when I blog, some people fit my words into little boxes that are either black or white. Nope. I break all the rules. Heck, I don’t really have any rules.
This means that I do use soap for some things. I wash my hands with Dr.Bronner’s magic stuff after I use the toilet and I use homemade soap on sticky or poop-leg kids.
I have dear friends who make soap (from real fats) and so I need to be careful not to make soap out to be obsolete. Here, I have an official request to the soap-makers for something clay based. So soap has it’s place, just not anywhere near my sexuality.
The radical Mr.Common-Law, the non-user of soap: