Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On Housekeeping and Montessori-at-Home

I always daydream of having a housekeeper who comes once a week to do the deep cleaning in our house. In my mind, this means that our home always feels organized and tidy and it's a huge stress relief for me to have that component of our lives taken care of. So the other day, when I ran into a friend on our lane, we got to talking about cleaning and housekeeping and I shared my daydreamy thoughts with him. 

His response really surprised me. And seriously got me thinking. All of my deep thoughts on cleaning and what it means to be a good mom after the jump!


That day in the lane, my friend said that cleaning your house is important and that no one else should do it but you. "When you're taking care of your own home," he said, "you know the status of everything. You know that plant needs a bit of water in two days, you know that dust tends to gather in a that corner; you're in contact with your home." He went on to say, "When you clean your own home and run your own household, it keeps your two feet on the ground; it keeps you engaged in tasks, and it keeps you well." 

Wow. 

I had certainly never thought of it that way. And as I walked away and thought about it a bit more, I was so happy to have an alternative perspective because I think he's right. (I'm going to add in right here that this friend is not married and he takes care of his own home. ;) 

If I didn't have the house to take care of, I might actually have too much idle time to focus on Coco. Now I know that sounds counter intuitive, but as a Montessori trained teacher, I know that children need to be engaged in tasks themselves. It's how children, even babies, gain the capacity to concentrate and problem solve. It's how they learn. That means that if I'm constantly with Coco, reading to her, playing with her and entertaining her sun up to sun down, she never gets the opportunity to expand her skill set and make discoveries independently. Right now, as I write this blog post, Coco is playing with two baby-food-jar-lids that she has been busy and occupied with for the past 20 minutes. She just discovered that she can make the lids spin on the hardwood floor when she drops them, but that they won't spin when dropped on the rug. She likes to watch them wobble and wobble until they stop flat. Then she lets out a little chirp when it's all finished. That is a discovery she made it all by herself. That probably wouldn't have happened if I had been playing with the lids with her. As an adult, I would have felt compelled to "do something" with the lids whereas Coco stumbled upon that organically through independent play. A discovery like that isn't satisfying when someone else does it for you or shows you. It's like solving a riddle. When you figure out a riddle and have that "Aha!" moment, it feels good. If someone tells you the answer before you figure it out, it's just a big let down. 

So, I don't think I'll be daydreaming of having a cleaner or housekeeper anymore. I am going to view my housekeeping as positive and necessary, both for Coco and for me. It's good modeling for Coco to see me engaged in tasks that are part of everyday life and it's good for me to be connected to our home. If I were working, it would be different. But I am a stay-at-home mom, so there is no reason for me not to take on that piece of our lives with purpose. I'm going to get my little sweetie involved as soon as possible. Did you know that children love sweeping and scrubbing as early as 18 months?! Children are so capable when we give them the tools and opportunity to be involved. Would you like to hear more about my integration of Montessori philosophy into our life at home? Would you like to know how you can engage your child in meaningful Montessori activities at home? If so, I'd be happy to make that a more prominent part of the blog. :) xo  

5 comments:

  1. Awesome! I also got a lot of good response on Facebook, so maybe Montessori Mondays? :)

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  2. I'm interested too! Ha, never heard so poetic thoughts about cleaning, inspiration just when needed :)

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    1. I'm hoping the theory will match the reality for us both! ;)

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  3. Montessori any day sounds great!

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