The Truth About Mother Culture

The term "mother culture" is used broadly in the Charlotte Mason community, but it sometimes gets whittled down to mean self care. What's the difference? 

"It would seem as if we mothers often simply made for ourselves the difficulties we find in after life by shutting our minds up in the present. What we need is a habit of taking our minds out of what one is tempted to call "the domestic rag-bag" of perplexities, and giving it a good airing in something which keeps it "growing." A brisk walk will help. But, if we would do our best for our children, grow we must; and on our power of growth surely depends, not only our future happiness, but our future usefulness.

Is there, then, not need for more "Mother Culture"?

                             ‘Mother Culture’ - Parents’ Review

1:45- We want to address a truth about mother culture. You'll see this phrase in lots of different places and contexts in the Charlotte Mason community. What we want to do is talk about what mother culture is, and what it isn't. If we want to keep our minds growing, we need to be feeding them, and we're connecting it to mother culture. 

3:05- Where does the phrase mother culture come from? It comes from a Parents' Review article called mother culture (anonymously written). The article encourages mothers to keep growing intellectually through reading. 

4:35- We have to cultivate this. This article opens with a story- a mother who pours herself out for her family. But in the midst of all this effort "then it is that she wears herself out." 

5:36- Can you relate to that, Leah? 

7:30- I remember early on with two little babies that the rut of my mind had engrained itself to think of my children. I had to get myself out of that rut to think about things that were a little bit bigger and engaged my mind. 

8:17- When we talk about mother culture, we don't mean that we need to take time for ourselves because we "deserve it." Children are born persons, and mothers are persons themselves. 

9:38- Our minds need their proper diet, and the diet is of ideas. "We hold that the child's mind is no mere sack to hold ideas, but is rather, if the figure may be allowed, a spiritual organism with an appetite for all knowledge. This is its proper diet, with which it is prepared to deal; and which it can digest and assimilate as the body does foodstuffs.” Charlotte Mason's 9th Principle

12:45- The mom in the article has been so consumed with her immediate affairs that she lets her mind go hungry. If we stop growing when our kids are young, we stagnate when our children are going to grow by leaps and bounds. 

13:58- The article says,  ‘though she may do much for her children, she cannot do all she might, if she, as they, were growing!”

16:10- I think the understanding of mother culture has been diluted. We've added lots of things that count for mother culture time- "me time," or going to get a pedicure. And while those things can contribute to it, we start to lose the sense of what we're supposed to accomplish during this time. 

17:30- Karen Andreola's definition of mother culture: "the skilled art of how a mother looks after the ways of her household." 

19:30- That question has to be there: where are the ideas in this? Where is the growth for my mind? It might not always look like sitting down and reading a book, but it should have that central mission of growing yourself as a person. 

20:28- Pursuing beauty is a way to establish that atmosphere of learning.

21:08- “The wisest woman I ever knew--the best wife, the best mother, the best mistress, the best friend--told me once, when I asked her how, with her weak health and many calls upon her time, she managed to read so much, "I always keep three books going--a stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel, and I always take up the one I feel fit for!" That is the secret; always have something "going" to grow by.” Mother Culture article. 

23:11- Are any of Charlotte Mason's other principles helpful in letting us know what we should aim for in mother culture. 

24:20- One half-hour in 24 to dedicate to mother culture. 

25:10 The author of this article said to tell your children, 'Now mother is going to be busy.' 

25:56- One thing that I do is make a cup of tea, and if my kids come up to me, I say, 'I can help you when my tea is done." 

26:33- Do you have any suggestions for finding this time, Leah? 

27:00- I do not have to be present with my children every single minute of every single day. 

28:30- Charlotte Mason tells us we need a various diet of ideas. If we only read in a few areas, we are limiting our minds. "It is a mistake, perhaps, to think that, to do one thing well, we must just do and think about that and nothing else all the time. It is our business to know all we can and to spend a part of our lives in increasing our knowledge of Nature and Art, of Literature and Man, of the Past and the Present. That is one way in which we become greater persons, and the more a person is, the better he will do  whatever piece of special work falls to his share." Charlotte Mason, Ourselves

31:15- We should seek knowledge in well-chosen language. 

31:30- I don't have time for poorly-written books these days. Book lists from Charlotte Mason circles, and Goodreads reviews that have four stars or more. 

33:05- So many of us come to the Charlotte Mason philosophy because we want to give our kids the education that we never had. Giving my kids something better is a huge reason why we decided to home educate. This article reminded me that education is something that we lead are kids in because we are pursuing education ourselves. 

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