I recently came across a pin on Pinterest titled “Mother Culture: You are Mothering Wrong” and couldn’t help but click on the article. To say someone is mothering wrong is definitely a title that warrants a click.
I am sure this pin showed up in my feed because of my recent searches regarding routines and schedules that would make mom life a little more manageable. Life has been somewhat hectic lately and this mama has been needing a better rhythm in my day-to-day.
After reading that one article, I went down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest on mother culture and here’s what I discovered.
What is Mother Culture?
If you are a homeschool parent or familiar with Charlotte Mason, you may have heard this term. But for those of us that aren’t all that familiar, mother culture is a Charlotte Mason-inspired concept. The term actually came from Karen Andreola, the author of A Charlotte Mason Companion. The mother culture concept introduces the idea for a mother to take 30 minutes each day to focus on herself and learn what she wishes to learn.
The big idea of mother culture is that it completely prevents burnout and overwhelm. According to the various articles I read on this topic, motherhood shouldn’t be exhausting or leave you feeling empty. As mothers, we give and give until we are left feeling irritable and burnt out. By focusing on mother culture, you won’t experience that because you’ve been filling your own cup each day.
How Does Mother Culture Work?
One of the first steps in implementing mother culture into your daily routine is to look in your current routine or schedule for space. Even if you have a full schedule, think about what is most important and what things can be moved around in order to find 30 minutes just for you each day. Some posts suggest outsourcing things like laundry, cleaning, etc. in order to get some free time back. The key is that once you’ve found that free time, don’t fill it with something else other than your time.
Once you’ve staked a claim on your free 30 minutes, it’s now time to figure out what to do for yourself during that time. This is where things get a little more freestyle-ish.
Those who are more committed to the true essence of mother culture utilize something called a commonplace book, or a place to store quotes, thoughts on books, new recipes, things you’re learning, or whatever you want to keep track of. If you’ve started to read an audiobook while doing the dishes, you can write about it here. If you’re learning to sew, you can write a list of the things you want to sew in the future. It’s basically a book of all the things you’re loving and enjoying right now.
Other moms don’t use a commonplace book specifically but just get in their 30 minutes. The 30 minutes can be blocked together or spread out over the day. Ultimately, mother culture is a way for moms to not lose themselves in motherhood.
But Does it Work?
I decided to give mother culture a try for a month. I am a stay at home mom but I homeschool and run an online shop and a doula business, so my days are usually very full and yes, motherhood can get tiring.
I started out by looking for free time. I love my sleep. I am not one of those moms who stay up after their kids go to bed to watch Netflix or drink wine. By 9:30 p.m., this mama is in bed. But I am usually up pretty early so I decided to put my 30 minutes at the start of the day. I’d spend my time reading, drinking hot tea, and writing in my journal. Some days I do restorative yoga. I don’t do any planning or cleaning (even though it’s tempting). I just focus on myself and what feels good to me.
After a month, I do feel as though my days have been more intentional. When starting my day only focusing on my own needs and not my husband’s or the kids or what I need to do around the house or for work, I find that how I start my day carries over into everything else.
But, I still have moments where I feel burned out and down for the count. I don’t think this “mother culture” takes that completely away but I do think it helps make it happen less often. I also don’t agree that if I am not spending 30 minutes every single day doing something for myself, that I am mothering wrong.
Mother culture is definitely a great concept with a pure meaning behind it. Motherhood is not perfect and social media uses this concept to make moms think there is a way to be perfect – and this isn’t that. While I do agree that moms should dedicate more time to themselves and focus on the things that they love, it doesn’t have to fit into a box.
Be free to create your own mom culture. I know moms who sleep in until 11 or later and their spouses do all the morning routines. I know moms who do it all alone and can’t afford to outsource all of their laundry or cleaning, so some of these ideas just won’t work for them. It’s not one size fits all when it comes to being a mom.
Motherhood is all you, mama. Do what feels best for you and yours, and take care of yourself in the process.
What do you think about mother culture? Have you tried it? How has it worked for you?