Happy May everybody, even though so far the month has been pretty chilly here, there are beautiful blooms at every turn. Here in England, the countryside looks particularly abundant during the month of May, and provides some wonderful inspiration.
As part of the ‘Inspired By Nature’ series, today I’m talking to a busy mother who is deeply focused on seasonal and family rhythms. Through her life with her husband and four children, North, Indigo, Juniper and Sage, she works to help other parents create clarity, balance and rhythm within their days with her Seasonal E-Guides. Having lived in Australia for nearly a decade, this family decided to put down new roots in the Canadian countryside. Meagan explains “My vision is to connect and inspire mothers, carers and communities with each other so that they feel empowered to raise children who are wholly connected with themselves (head, heart and hands) and to the planet. I believe from the bottom of my heart that peace begins in the home.”
Please welcome Meagan from Whole Family Rhythms…
What is it about nature that inspires you?
Nature is the most grounding force in my life. I am naturally very ‘heady’ – I love to philosophize, read, write and think, in fact I overthink everything way too often. When I am outside and in nature there is no escaping the moment. My senses are heightened and I feel so much more at ease and at peace with the world around me.
Do you have a favourite season? If yes, what particularly inspires you about that season?
My favourite season used to be Autumn because of the vibrant colours and smells and the sense of abundance… but having just spent our first full Winter in Canada after a decade in Australia… I can honestly say that I am really truly excited for the first sign of Spring!!
Can you describe a typical day to me?
My husband and I share full-time care for our almost 4 and 2 year old right now. Our older children (ages 6 and 8) attend a local Waldorf school. On school days, the parent who brings the older children to school also has a working day. Currently Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays I am at home with the younger children. Thursdays and Fridays my husband takes this domestic role.
The children’s weekly rhythm is Mondays: Baking, Tuesdays: Painting, Wednesdays: Drawing, Thursdays: Playgroup and Fridays: Modelling. In the mornings we have a simple warm breakfast, get dressed and I do a few household chores (laundry, beds etc) while the children play. By 9:30 we head out to the barn to collect eggs and say hello to the animals (my husband does the ‘real’ barn chores in the early morning). We may also wander through the property on walks, but it is still quite cold so we don’t stay out too long.
By about 10:45 we head inside and have a simple morning tea (muffins, porridge or stewed fruit are popular). The children then play again while I prepare lunch and prep dinner. We have lunch around 12:15 and after lunch the 2 year-old goes down for her nap. I make a cup of tea and the almost 4 year old and I start on the ‘weekly theme’ (baking, drawing etc). Afterwards we read some books together or I tell a story. She then plays by herself for an hour or so while I listen to an audio book, read, write or rest. When her sister wakes up we have an afternoon snack around 3 (most often a small smoothie). By then I have usually done 2 loads of laundry and now it’s time to fold! I take the basket to a couch close to where the girls are playing and fold everything into piles and then carefully put the clothes back into the basket folded to distribute to rooms later. We head outside at this time for a little walk around the property or swing on the swings or play in the sandbox.
We come in at about 4 and then I start getting dinner on – putting prepared things in the oven, making a salad, setting the table. The older children arrive home with their Dad around 4:45 from school. We sit down to dinner around 5:15/30 and are doing the bath/teeth/book/bed evening ritual from 6-7. Our older daughter (6) gets a chapter or two read to her from her book once the little ones are asleep. Then my son (8) gets some time alone with us, we do a guided meditation, read aloud together or play a board-game until 8pm. From 8-10 my husband and I connect online, read and talk. The days my husband has the girls have the same rhythm foundation but obviously we do things slightly differently too.
We chose to move from a very urban life in Australia to a more rural setting in Canada. We wanted space to roam around at home, we wanted to have animals and a big vegetable garden. This has been such a blessing but to be honest we aren’t really spending that much more time outdoors. Even when we lived in the city we made it a huge priority to get outside everyday – going on bush-walks and planting a tiny garden in our yard. Getting out and into nature is one of our most important family values. I feel making the effort to get outside everyday is a huge investment in our mental, emotional and physical health right now and in the future. And it also fosters a sense of interconnectedness between us and the earth and its inhabitants.
How does nature influence your work and business?
Through my work I try to inspire Mothers (and carers) to incorporate outside time into their daily rhythms. Seasonal rhythms, festivals and celebrations inform children about the ever-changing landscape in which we live. When we celebrate seasonal rhythms within the home we are creating traditions and rituals that mirror, compliment and illuminate what is happening in our natural environment.
Just yesterday I was reminded again of how much Nature pulls me into the moment. I had spent a long morning inside and was feeling tired and stuck. I went outside with the children and immediately felt more gratitude, more abundance and more presence. I didn’t have “to do” anything. Just being in the garden, walking and listening to the birds was enough to fill me up.
What advice would you give to others wanting to live more in tune with nature. Where can they begin? What are your top tips?
Make the time and then dress for it! Make outside time a priority in your daily rhythm. Can you walk to a bus stop instead of drive? Can you drive to a park after school drop-off or meet with some friends once a week to go for a walk? (Toddlers can walk too! You don’t need strollers!). Then make sure you have all the clothes you need – I have been wearing my snow-pants everyday at the farm this Winter even when it’s above freezing. This way I can sit down on the earth without feeling cold and really relax into being outside and enjoying the moment.
All photos are courtesy of Meagan Wilson from Whole Family Rhythms.