Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Montessori Parenting on Low Spoons

"Is Montessori parenting just for the good days?"

Healthy and informed discussions rely on the good definitions. So to start I wanted to site where I’m taking the term spoons from. I love this term because it’s inclusive of any causes be they weather, personal mental health, or another external situation, it’s covered and it’s not the cause that is the subject of this discussion. Please learn about it here.

My interpretation of “spoons” are units of physical and emotional labor that equate to the smallest task. And different tasks can require different quantities of spoons. 

Charging a phone or paying a bill might be one spoon each. Doing a 2 hour workout might be 2 or 3 spoons. Some tasks just require more. 

So how does that relate to Montessori? 

I will tell you. As a parent and if you are doing this at home, maybe full time, part time, in bits and pieces, on weekends, during vacations, whatever your walk of life insists, you cannot take a day off from parenting on a consistent basis. There are no nights off, no sick days, you know the speech.

If you let the kids make their play kitchen wet, messy, or sticky, is that really conducive to your home life when the parents have no spoons left to facilitate these activities safely and comfortably? And then cleanup the home to avoid longstanding issues like water spots on the wood?

These past two years have been an ongoing test of mental and physical endurance. So the number of spoons we have had has been much fewer. And the Montessori approach to education has still helped!

Our Secret is We are Doing a Lot Less

We are doing a lot less against our will. Sometimes when I am in consistent pain, stress, sickness or exhaustion, I am just not my best version of parent, mom, person, anyone or anything. It's just bad. 

The best thing that I have learned to do on low spoons has been to just act like a hall monitor for the kids, making sure that they are not in danger and relatively happy. 

Instead of Montessori food preparation lessons that are intense because they require FOOD SHOPPING, meal planning, preparing instruments, making sure that the kids have the attention span, and then making sure that the kids eat and clean everything up to the best of their abilities in the ecosystem of our home, I just give them fruit pouches or something just as simple. 

And it is worth it!

One the other hand, other lessons lend themselves very well to low spoon days. Art, reading, writing, and building with blocks are pretty awesome because they kids get to help themselves. And you get a picture or a doodle or a tower at the end. You take a picture and share it with grandparents. It's great. 

There are plenty of low spoons Montessori lessons you can try that include matching socks, brushing hair, scrubbing nails with a nail brush, writing, art, reading, dusting, putting things away, using a dust pan, building with blocks, etc. 

If you are adjusting to intermittent times of low spoons, you might want to recognize that and anticipate not having the spoons later. 

Right now, I am looking for a period with more spoons to be able to potty train my toddler. I want to be able to teach my child to read. I know I cannot do those things if I am constantly in a fog of inattention, pain, or exhaustion. 

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