Yesterday I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting another Waldorf mommy. My girls and I have a table set up at Norfolk’s Fair Trade Festival and are selling our handicrafts. This young mama and I connected over some needle-felted dolls and gnomes on my table. Once we figured out that we were both Waldorf moms our conversation found its way to the pressures and performance anxieties that often plague us and the online groups with their Perfection Mavens, which if taken to heart, can make these anxieties even worse.
Apparently I’ve reached either the age of I Don’t Care or the age of being the Giver of Unwanted Advice. Hopefully I wasn’t obnoxious but I really do believe that we must set our goals and live by them. By our own goals and standards, not by those dictated by someone who has read someone else’s words and is filtering them for us.
Most children who are involved with this educational approach go to Waldorf schools. Then they are picked up from school by one of two parents who work full-time and go home to a typical American home. They eat out, watch TV, have tons of toys. Certainly some parents who pay tuition at Waldorf schools make the effort to have a gentler, less media-centered home but probably not all. In fact I suspect that it’s probably not most of them.
So if you’re homeschooling your kids and using a Waldorf approach here is what I think: Do your best and forgive yourself when you don’t get it all just right. Not one of us does and most of our kids come out just fine. Love and intention go a long damned way. So does self-forgiveness. If you are tired or stressed or sick and you let your kid watch cartoons for 12 hours straight one day then pat yourself on the back. You needed the break and your kid will be just fine. The final product that most parents are hoping for: intelligent, caring, capable adult children, is never going to be dependent on whether or not you had one bad day.
Forget the naysayers and guilt mongers and go for it. If we do the best we can things are going to turn out okay.