Do you ever feel like you’ve come to the Montessori philosophy too late?
I have. I’ve carried unnecessary shame over ways I could have supported my children better.
Ever feel like Montessori is only for some people?
I have. I thought it was for calm, cool, collected people. People with tidy homes and roomy budgets. I’ve thought it was only for mamas who stayed calm and served all the right foods.
I longed to be a true Montessori mama, but believed my personal shortcomings were obstacles. I felt discouraged because of this.
It dragged down our homeschool days, my faulty beliefs fueled lots of self-defeating actions.
I want to take some time to share with you how Montessori Philosophy can meet you where you are in many phases of mothering.
Montessori Mama in Pregnancy
As an expectant mama, you are the prepared environment.
What’s happening in your thought life, effects your emotions. What affects your emotions affects your body. What happens in your body is passed on to your developing baby.
This is the perfect time for some inner work, noticing your default thoughts, emotions that continue to bubble to the surface. It’s also a perfect time to dive into Montessori philosophy in regards to how we are with children. You may have more or less reparenting to do than I did. The defaults will run on autopilot when that little one upsets you. That may be your experience when babe kicks you in the ribs, cries and can’t calm down or eventually becoming an opinionated three year old.
What’s happening in and to your body are extremely important too. We often think of taking prenatal, doing prenatal yoga and staying hydrated. We also want to look at what’s coming ON our body. Soaps, Shampoos, Lotions, Cosmetics are, at least in the USA, loaded with unregulated and unsafe chemicals for a growing fetus. Clean up your household cleaning products and body care products to give every growing cell what it needs to thrive.
Even when you have older children, pregnancy is a wonderful time of introspection and learning new skills.
Montessori Mama in Postpartum and Infancy
As a mama, it’s very easy to let your self care slide. It’s easy to be consumed by working out feeding issues, supporting baby’s sleep and just staying afloat with basic household needs.
As you welcome baby into the prepared environment of your home, remember you are baby‘s first guide. A guide who hasn’t taken care of herself cannot follow the child well for long. When your child is in the early days of infancy and you are recovering from birth: resist the beliefs that you should or must do this on your own. As your uterus heals, you do need to take things down several notches, bouncing back before six weeks is an unreasonable cultural standard that leads to poorer outcomes for moms and babies.
Seek ways you can be supported, that may be someone helping with meals or cleaning. It might mean hiring a postpartum doula, or asking a trusted person to be with baby while you shower, read, journal, meditate, pray, do a postpartum yoga practice. If you have older children, this may look like accepting support as I mentioned as well as support with your older children. Accepting a new baby in the family can be a challenge for children, but it’s amazing how far 5-10 minutes of your undivided attention will go.
As a mama who as experienced postpartum trauma, postpartum anxiety and depression, please hear me: relaxing your household standards and getting help is much more aligned with Montessori than neglecting yourself.
Montessori for infants is so much fun and lights me up. I am thankful that even though I came late to Montessori infant ideas, that my last two were exposed to more and more Montessori experiences and materials.
The Montessori Topponcino is a wonderful way to hold baby cozily, transfer to another adult and allow freedom of movement on a safe floor space. Also excellent for allowing baby to enjoy the Montessori mobiles.
Perhaps the mobiles aren’t in your budget or DIY wheel house, but exposing baby to similar artwork is a great idea too. We still had a traditional changing table, and in the early weeks I had black and white art prints which I displayed next to the changing station. It was an inexpensive item I bought on Etsy.
Infant Massage from a trained therapist is an excellent way to support health, increase bonding and grow your communication skills with your baby. It also helps teach consent to even the littlest baby. Letting your baby know what’s going to happen next, “I’m going to change your diaper” and then talking through the process is a very easy way to bring Montessori philosophy to your baby.
And for all phases, observation will inform ways you can support your baby’s curiosity and needs.
Montessori Motherhood in Toddlerhood
Toddlers are brilliant, this is a phrase I heard Simone Davies say and I could t agree more. Her book is an excellent resource for raising your toddler. I want to share a few of my favorite lessons I learned from Simone.
1. Go slow, allow your toddler to explore in everyday activities. This actually reduces frustration for you, and allows them to gain mastery over skills and enjoy the wonder of life.
2. Allow them access to tasks of daily life. This could look like setting up toddler sized kitchen, self care spaces in larger homes, or it can look like having a learning tower or safe step stool so they can reach everything they need.
3. Use soft hands. This is something I repeat to myself all the time and model it for my kids. I was used to being handled brusquely and that’s not what I want to repeat. When keeping your child safe, transitioning them, when things are tense always use soft hands.
4. Use kind and clear communication. Use rich language for your child’s growing vocabulary and use respectful words, loving tones and avoid sarcasm. The world offers enough sarcasm about toddlers and children, you don’t want to bring it in your home.
Montessori Motherhood in Primary / Preschool
This is where I began our Montessori journey with my oldest child. I desperately wanted to provide her with a rich Montessori experience and I would stay up late making DIYs, reading blogs, falling down the Pinterest rabbit hole. Eventually, I began buying materials and albums to support our learning journey since I didn’t know how or when to use all these amazing resources.
In primary we continue observation, a prepared home environment and we add in some of the academic experiences, through continued practical life, sensorial experiences as the foundation for math, geometry and language development, language, cultural and mathematics.
In primary, I have found you do not need to buy all the printable materials, all the albums to give your child a Montessori homeschool education.
That’s why I have created The Relaxed Montessori Homeschool Mama this is where I offer a document with hyperlinks to every montessori primary presentatio (lesson). But I don’t leave you there, I have weekly group coaching where we discuss a montessori philosophy for the homeschool environment and you can get support for your specific needs.
Montessori Motherhood in Elementary
As a mother of elementary children, you build on the existing montessori foundations or we support increased independence if Montessori has not been in the foundation. Observing their sensitive periods, their innate sense of justice, love for language, collaboration and relationships outside the family we offer key experiences that offer an engaging hands on framework for all they typical subjects.
Elementary is so fun because these children can differentiate between myth and reality.
Now you can use didactic tales, embellishments to create lasting impressions in our presentations. My children have LOVED every story I’ve used from Michael J Dorer’s book, The Deep Well of Time.. I highly recommend it.
The Relaxed Montessori Homeschool Mama is a perfect offering for elementary parents because as your child is in an entirely different plane of development than all other periods, you will likely want more support than ever. I also offer monthly themes that have extensions for younger and older children, so you won’t need to be pulling together resources from multiple resources and age groups—it’s exhausting I know!
Want to bring Montessori into your family life? You can.
I am here for you with the mindset, experiences and resources I wish I’d had when I started.
To get in on my first group coaching, join Better Mama Life Today. It’s where I’ll be doing a free training on Montessori Homeschooling Philosophy and you’ll have first access and reduced pricing for founding members.
See you in there!
If you are looking for support that acknowledges your mind, body, spirit and human need for community, I am the coach for you! Book a free planning & assessment session with me to get clear on what you need. You’ll be so glad you did!