If your home had a color, what color would it be? If your home had a soundtrack, what would it sound like? How do you want people to feel when they walk into your home? How do you want your home to make you feel?
For many of us, it’s hard to find the time or presence of mind to consciously create our home space, especially once we become parents. In fact, as parents, it sometimes feels like any of the questions above can be answered with one single word. “Kids.”
What’s your decor like? “Kids.” (Legos on the floor, raisins stuck in the carpet, stuffed animals everywhere… and everything just a little… STICKY.) :p
What’s the soundscape of your home? “Kids.” (Singing, shouting, “You took my ____!” “I want more maple syrup!” “Mama, talk to ME!”)
The more we try to balance in our busy lives, the harder it can be to create the kind of home space we’d like to have. But the truth is, now that we’re parents, we need home to be a refuge. We need it more than ever. Our children need it too.
There are so many pieces that contribute to creating a cozy, nurturing home space. The kinds of objects we surround ourselves with… The foods we cook… The activities we do in our day.
But there’s one other aspect that’s less often talked about – and that’s what I want to talk to you about today – the soundscape of your home.
What kinds of sounds do you and your children hear while you’re at home? Does the teakettle whistle when it boils? Do you vacuum, or run the blender or the washing machine, or use an electronic toothbrush?
Which of the sounds in your home are the most anticipated? Which are the gentlest and most restful?
Some sounds that my own family finds soothing:
- The purring of our cat, Rainer.
- Human voices speaking gently, and in loving tones. (When my husband and I can remember to slow down in this way, it’s beautiful to see how it helps our children feel at ease.)
- Rustling trees in the garden.
The current mainstream parenting culture in America is oriented towards stimulating children.
What if, instead of this, we tried to create spaces (and spaces in our day) that would help relax them, and us?
I love, when my children are playing, to sneak in a few little touches that make our one room studio feel a little less like a crowded scream fest, and a little more like a spa. A drop of lavender oil in a diffuser… Some relaxing music, played softly in the background. If you’re sourcing it online, try searching “soothing celtic harp” or “spa music”.
The children don’t always comment on it, but it often mellows them, even making their play more harmonious.
Then again, maybe it’s just me! As parents, our own inner state is one of the most important factors affecting our children. Most of the time, when we can relax, they can too. These things relax me and, by extension, my little ones!
As a working mother, I spend so much time rushing from place to place, carting instruments around, chauffeuring children, trying to get everyone everywhere on time and in one piece. Trying to remember to respond to that email, to pick up the salmon for dinner, sort out the medical insurance. There’s no end to the things that must be done or remembered.
So I cherish, when I can find it, that moment of peace at home. Just an hour in our basement studio apartment, watching the children play, doing what I can to nurture our family culture of warmth, creativity and togetherness.
Thinking about this, I’ve felt deeply called to bring more peace to my own children, and to other families too. So last week I added another instrument to my growing fleet, one that I find so calming and relaxing. A Celtic harp!
So I made a little video 🙂 I’m just a beginner, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my midlife is this – life’s too short to wait for perfection. Dive in, and you’ll have lots of room for improvement along the way.
This harp will also make an appearance on the new Meadowlark Music Class album, upcoming this summer.
And I’d love to hear from you! What ways are you finding to bring more peace and spaciousness to your time with little ones?
In love and music,
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