Mom victory

I’ve noticed distinct mom victory moments this week, and because someone in one of my Facebook groups asked the members to share a mom victory, I’m posting in honor of all the women who are running the long, 18 year marathon of raising a child.

Victory One. “G” of GAIN Academy and I are in our community garden plot. He’s helping me plant corn and beans. (Yes, I know it is very late to be planting anything.) Because I can’t find another tool, I grab a stick and start drilling a hole in the dirt. I’m laughing inside about being “way back” in technology, and evidently he’s thinking the same thing. He asked if I felt like a native. Then he asked if I would like a little fish to plant with the seeds. Victory (or as I told my husband, “evidence that we did it right”) is choosing a living book that made a lasting impact. G is 15 yo. We read the book when he was 7 yo.

Victory Two. I’m showing “N” of GAIN my way of harvesting basil, “When you cut one branch, two grow in its place.”

“Just like pruning honeysuckle,” he says. He is correct. When we cross to the other side of the house to cut from another basil plant — we are orally making observations about the different kinds we’re cutting — I point out a tiny basil plant to him. Then I explain that I took a basil cutting a while ago and stuck it in the ground. It was still alive because it takes root when you place it in water or moist dirt.

Just like willows.” Victory is sticking to a long term project — growing tiny willow roots took one month — and having it visible and  memorable. We worked with willows four years ago. N would have been 12 yo at the time.

Victory Three. “A” of GAIN is walking with her friend on a bike trail. (“Multi-use trail” is closer to the truth, but that term sounds silly to me.) She notices grape vines with baby grapes. This afternoon, she makes sure I know their location. Her friend has no idea what a grape vine looks like. Victory is training my children to have strong powers of observation after the age of 2 years, and to give them a relevant reason to identify wildlife (especially wild edibles), and letting them have time to play after the age of 5. Yes, let them play:

A’s first experience with wild grapes occurred during a geocaching hunt back when she was 12 yo. She is now 19 yo. We didn’t find the cache, but grapes are fun as playthings. Victory in letting children be messy and taking their time to just be kids.

Victory Four. “I” of GAIN is 12 yo. I just looked around and realized that my house is reasonably clean. She loaded and unloaded the dishwasher. She’s now tall enough to perform this job safely. She also can wash, dry, and fold her own laundry, or ask other family members to go in on a dirty wash load to fill the tub. She can scrub or vacuum a floor and clean a bathroom pretty well. (“Hey, let’s play Cinderella” works a few times when they’re little.) Victory is giving my kids habits and real purposes for working — no clean dishes have a natural consequence.

We started teaching the kids to fold washcloths when they were about 4 yo. Sweeping when they were younger. Cooking and laundry when they could safely reach the control knobs, respectively 10 and 8 yo. Observation skills, playing, and reading aloud from birth.

Parenthood is a marathon.

The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days.

— Charlotte Mason


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