Skip to main content

The Sensitive Period for Motherhood

At a little over 37 weeks pregnant, I'm starting to feel that constant pull between enjoying the last few days of our current life situation and eagerly anticipating meeting our new baby. I've read my Montessori baby books before, but I've been pulling them out again to glance over during the course of this pregnancy and just read randomly parts that spoke to me. Last night I chose Understanding the Human Being to read over in the bath. And, I came across this phrase that really struck me. "the sensitive period for motherhood." 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

Dr. Montanaro uses the phrase while talking about the special relationship that develops between a newborn and its caretakers - particularly its mother. A child's caretakers are the ones most effected by a child's cries, needs, and helplessness. By being in tune with the child, a preferential relationship develops - one that benefits both the mother and the child. 


But the use of this phrase - the sensitive period for motherhood - just struck me. In Montessori we talk and worry so much about the sensitive periods that our children are reaching and meeting, but have you thought about your own? I haven't. Even when I first read this book many years ago. But, it's so true. So incredible - for all parents, not just mothers - how our bodies change, respond, and grow with each child. 

A sensitive period doesn't mean that the learning automatic, or won't be a lot of work, but that the person's brain and body is especially equipped for the task. For me, it sort of takes the pressure off. It's such a reminder that I know what to do, that I just need to listen to my own instincts and tune into my child and my body will adapt. 


A sensitive period also comes with some enjoyment, and without fatigue. A child in a sensitive period is called to this work, and wants to repeat without tiring and with a great sense of joy. Again, this feels like such a great reminder to me. Yes, a newborn will be physically exhausting, but it will come with great joy. I won't fatigue in the traditional sense of the word. I'm up for this task. Sometimes our society likes to remind us how difficult new babies are over and over again. How horribly hard it will be. But, I love this reminder that in that work there is joy, there is contentment, and a sense that this work is what needs to be done right now. 

Have you ever considered early motherhood like a sensitive period? 

---

Comments

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 


So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 


First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return. 

That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains, 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
"A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables a…

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 
This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain fle…