Why you need hygge, homeschool mom

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Written by Kara Anderson.

“The great motherhood friendships are the ones in which two women can admit (how difficult mothering is) quietly to each other over cups of tea at a table sticky with spilled apple juice and littered with markers without tops.” ~ Anna Quindlen

We gather on Tuesdays. Our four families.

We bring pastries and Pokémon cards, and there is always tea.

Buckets of tea.

Embarrassing amounts of tea.

We gather around a table covered with muffins and fruits and cheese; books and broken pencils and drying art projects.

(Those last few are mostly at my house.)

There’s no schedule. No real plan.

There’s never pressure to host.

We understand when one of us is swamped with work or finishing a paper for a class. We get it when church commitments come up.

And yet, it happens almost every week, in some form or fashion, and it has become one of the most important things in the world to me.

These friendships, formed around homeschooling and mothering and being daughters and wives – I hold them in my heart.

I’ve wondered what to call the wonderful feeling I get while sitting around those tables.

And then, recently, I read about hygge.

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Hygge is a Scandinavian word that isn’t easy to translate into English.

(The concept isn’t really translatable, is the thing.)

Because we Americans – we run all over the place. Few of us give into our snuggly, cozy cravings.

Few of us remember how to be still.

My favorite definition is from hyggehouse.com:

“The Danish word hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary everyday things simply extraordinary; whether it’s making coffee a verb by lingering over a cup, to a cosy evening in with friends to lighting a candle with every meal … Words like cosiness, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, fellowship, simpleness and living well are often used to describe the idea of Hygge.”

Now tell me that we don’t all need a little more of that.

I know I do. I know I crave it as Tuesdays approach.

It isn’t the food or even the tea.

(Not those things alone, anyway.)

It’s the chance to just … betogether.

Shauna Niequest says it well in her book Bread and Wine:

“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.”

That girl’s got The Hygge.

 ~::~

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Occasionally, we question whether we should formalize our little tea parties somehow.

Should we pull out some art supplies? Should we set up a science experiment?

But isn’t the very beauty in the fact that we don’t have to do anything for a change?

Isn’t the peace found in the utterly low expectations?

{Make-up-schmake-up. I’m wearing yesterday’s clothes.}

Sometimes we bring homemade treats — sure.

And other times, we stop at the grocery store on the way for a bag of potato chips.

Once in a while, one of us will bring nothing at all.

And it’s always OK. There’s always more than plenty.

Nobody keeps track.

It always feels abundant and welcoming. Whether or not there are coordinated cloth napkins or enough matching cups.

Even if there’s nothing but a box of crackers and two kinds of grapes.

Or three kinds of cheese and no crackers at all.

Because those tables are where our hearts can speak.

And every mama needs that, I think.

Each one of us needs a place to feel safe and understood and loved.

{As we are. Because that is peace.}

Where nothing has to be complicated and it’s nobody’s responsibility to make it happen.

That’s the magic of it, really.

And so it becomes a weekly respite.

We can talk homeschooling or not.

Because Tuesdays are not a homeschooling mastermind group.

They aren’t a co-op, or even a playdate.

Instead, they are a feeling that for just a few hours, our kids are busy and happy, and so we can just be.

It’s hygge, and today I wanted to share it with you.

I hope you can find a little in your world.

Because I think we all need it.

What are the things that bring you comfort and connection? Harmony and hygge?

About Kara Anderson

Kara is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom, with a goal of encouraging fellow mamas in real-life homeschooling. She also's the happy co-host of The Homeschool Sisters podcast.

Comments

  1. Hygge might not mean the difference between persevering in the homeschool journey or quitting, but I bet it makes all the difference as to whether a mom actually likes her life or simply drudges on. We all need comfort and safety, no matter what the journey.
    Hannah’s latest post: Nothing Is Wasted: On Scrubbing Toilets and Making a Difference

  2. Thank you for these loverly words that are full of peace and warmth. Really, we all need to have an opportunity to simply be together and be our true selves.
    You have inspired me to simply get together without a special academic plan with my homeschooling mum-friends 🙂

  3. Lovely! I am daughter of a full blooded Dane—- love the word “hygge” and it is going in my journal this morning. Thanks for the great thoughts.

  4. This is beautiful. I wish we could slow down and do this…I think I could, but I don’t know if my other homeschool friends could. But, I want to try.

    • Kara Anderson says:

      It’s tricky, isn’t it? We feel like as homeschool moms our job is to go, go go. I am so grateful for a group of moms who are willing to share these slow days. I think it makes it easier too that our kids all really like each other, so we don’t feel like we’re being selfish! 🙂

  5. This just sounds like the most beautiful time with friends! I think that spending time with friends and hosting should be more like this. I have this with my sister-in-law who is local (& would have it if my other SIL was closer by). I love the low pressure of the get togethers. We can get together unshowered and unkempt and it doesn’t matter one bit!
    I love the picture with all the beads on the tile floor. It’s a beautiful picture, especially within the concept of Hygge. If you didn’t take this time to relax and refresh, then you maybe would see the mess instead. Enjoy this time and friendship!
    Emily’s latest post: April Goals

    • Kara Anderson says:

      I took that one day when we had everyone over, and I thought there was a bit of happiness to it. And *eventually*, we all worked together to clean it up, which was lovely too! 😉

  6. Where do I sign up!? haha!
    I love this and will be praying for my own hygge group 🙂
    Cindy’s latest post: Autism Breakthrough: a Book Review

  7. Love. This.

  8. I learned this word from my Australian host sister, who learned it after an exchange in Denmark. As cozy is my favorite state of being, this word is pretty near perfect!
    Caroline Starr Rose’s latest post: Links for National Poetry Month

  9. Beautifully written. I am looking forward to this summer with lots of time around the pool w/ Mom friends for that very reason! Thanks Kara.

  10. Anna G. B. says:

    “Hygge” is a Danish word. Scandinavian is a common denominator for everything Danish, Swedish and Norwegian(at the same time). While we do understand what each other are saying and most people are able to communicate without much trouble, we do speak different languages – Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. Much like the Eastern European languages are similar, but different, some Asian languages and French-Italian-Spanish-Portuguese. The best translation of “Hygge” in Swedish is “Mysig” or “Njuter” and “Roligt” can be used in some situations(To my best knowledge. Swedish is more complicated to read for Danes). Norwegians usually say “Koselig”, but can use “Hygge” as well. As you can see, most is very different from the Danish “Hygge”. The concept of Hygge is mostly a Danish thing, while Norwegians sometimes use it too. The Swedes don’t. It’s not a Scandinavian thing.

    • Anna G. B. says:

      And sorry about being the annoying person, posting not-important comments like that, ha! We Danes are just so proud of our Hygge, we don’t want to share it with the Swedes 😉 I’m glad that Hygge is getting attention internationally 😉

      • Kara Anderson says:

        No worries Anna! I am glad for the clarification, because I was having a hard time figuring it out — different sources said different things, and the concept it completely new to me. Thanks!!

  11. It must be part of my Swedish genetic makeup, but our family has been practicing hygge before we even heard the name! LOL! I wrote about it this winter on my website as well as our take on Hibernation Homeschooling, something new we did this year and loved.
    One thing is that you don’t have to leave your home to hygge. And you don’t have to have a circle of friends to hygge. We are a family of three and our home is full of the idea of hygge. It really is a mindset.
    In fact, as someone strongly introverted, the idea of leaving home often to hygge doesn’t appeal to me at all. It’s much more about being home in my mind.
    Sallie Borrink’s latest post: Teachers who become homeschoolers are the indicator species

  12. Sara R. says:

    Precisely what I’ve been searching for since moving to a new place nearly two years ago. For some reason even our family has trouble with this…and we’re home together 24/7. Hoping this summer will provide us the chance for an overall shift in attitude and a relaxing of our daily schedules. Maybe with the addition of some cousins and adult siblings? Sounds glorious!

  13. Precisely Dear Lady !!! 😀 LOVE THIS !! 🙂 This is exactly what I do did not know there was a word for it 🙂 hygge is the best 😀 heheh Me thinks it may be apart of my Italian genetics but I love to host , Home is where the Heart is and even though me and my family of 6 are in a small apartment (until our house is done 7+ years and counting) It never stops me from “Hosting” “Entertaining” For me when I have someone coming over or plural, I always have a baked good and such ready and yes Shameless amounts of *Allergen free Tea and Handmade goodness 🙂 And after Homeschooling almost every day my 4 kids and I stop and have tea and a goody before dispensing with the rest of the days tasks and plans 🙂
    Thank u for this post its lovely !!! 🙂
    JoAnna GluenFreeChef’s latest post: Dinner menu for tonight

  14. Shelly Roy says:

    Oh such wise words! I am a homeschooling mama of more than 25 years now and for most of those years I have had some sort of this lovely word-hygge- in my life. It is SO important to just. be. together.! If there is one thing I could share with the younger mamas I mentor, this would be it! Thank you!

    • Kara Anderson says:

      I love hearing that Shelly! I want so much to be able to continue to make it a priority! 🙂

  15. I don’t know how I would be through without my hygge tribe. It’s worth searching out nd holding on to!

  16. Michelle says:

    Great article, thanks, exactly what I’m craving. Btw, the link to ikea family magazine isn’t working any more. :/

  17. This is how you know a blog post is truly meaningful – people like me stumbling upon it and finding big inspiration from it 🙂
    Thanks for this!
    Jennie – homeschooling 7 years and craving this

  18. Love this. Also, there is no such thing as an embarrassing amount of tea. 🙂

  19. Yes. A longing of my heart, still in a new-ish place. Food allergies and homeschooling can both be isolating.

  20. Love this. It explains just what I’m looking for, craving really, in our homeschool life right now. Thank you for sharing.

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