One of the biggest challenges in following the RIE philosophy is creating a calm, peaceful environment in the home. The reason it’s a challenge is because it requires I be calm and peaceful.
I’m the mother of three young children.
You know, the stereotypically frazzled one in yoga pants, covered in spit and paint.
It’s really, really tough for me to maintain calm if I’m running on empty. So this is how I do it:
I get lots of help.
When I was about seven months pregnant, I realized I wasn’t keeping up with anything. I was exhausted, my house was a mess, and my overheated emotions were making everyone in the home unhappy. There was a lot of yelling, and some slammed doors. (That was me, of course, and then my kids followed suit).
My husband and I decided to find a babysitter for the kids a couple days a week so I could get some rest, and also hire a housekeeper. It worked wonders, and although I wasn’t at 100% (I was at the end of my pregnancy, after all, and feeling as big as a house), it at least provided all of us with a break and brought some sanity to our world.
After baby was born, we got even more help. In addition to putting the boys in a Montessori pre-school twice a week (all we could afford), I hired a neighborhood teenager to watch the boys in the after school a few days a week after school. I also kept the housekeeper to clean our bathrooms and kitchen floor once a week.
I was hesitant to write about it, because I feel very privileged to get this kind of help. We aren’t extravagant people, though, and we give up other things in order to make it work in our budget. We decided that having a peaceful home was more important to us than eating out more often, or taking trips, or buying new clothes (I’ve been fortunate enough to not buy a single piece of clothing for my daughter — we’ve been gifted everything she’s needed).
And thankfully, following RIE means not needing “stuff”, so we don’t spend on toys or gear.
What makes a peaceful home will be different for every family. For others it might be the dinner dates away from the kids that keep the parents sane and the home humming, or taking a trip to get away from it all is important.
Whatever it is, you should do it.
Peace and calm in the home is worth it, hands down.
Photo credit: lrargerich on Flickr