May 11, 2010

Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have waxed poetic about how their parenting has inspired others, or how others have inspired them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


i often find myself wondering how i got here, smack dab on the path of natural parenting, halfway to hippyville, and wholly outside the mainstream of southern ohio.

i still feel like a newcomer to this natural parenting community.  my baby is wee and i'm a first time mom.  as i read around my #CarNatPar peers i'm often both inspired and intimidated.  you know things i haven't learned yet.  you're so much more experienced, more "natural", more earthy.  as far as i have come on my natural parenting journey this also brings to the forefront that by some people's standards i barely belong here at all.  i skirt the fence between two worlds in many ways.

what!? huh?! where am i?  what am i doing?

i can definitely say that you inspire me.  i'm constantly sending jon articles and links and posts i've found, what about this?  what about this?  what do you think of this idea?  pushing learning and growing crunchier by the day.  finding my own path through this madness and weeding out ideas, things that i never would have found out about if i hadn't discovered the existence of groups like this.

in my real life outside the computer i feel more isolated in my parenting choices than ever.  the only sweet joy i've been able to spread so far has been through babywearing.  i get TONS of comments everywhere we go about the slings we use and i love to guide people towards ring slings and mei tai's and mobys with an awesome positive example.  outside that- solitude, aside from the glorious blessing that is jude's also-totally-crunchy attachment parenting babysitter.

it's hard to say if i've provided inspiration for anyone.  online here i have a wide readership.  there are plenty of friends out there reading who haven't made "natural parenting" choices.  regardless of where you fall on the spectrum i hope i'm inspiring you to parent with your heart.  make the choices that feel right for yourself and your family, and JOG ON to anybody who disagrees.  parent with pride.  own your choices.  we can all do this differently and still be doing it right.  i hope that i've inspired people on the fringe to jump the fence and dive in to something they were afraid to try but were curious about.  i hope i've inspired people to at least look beyond the world of babycenter and the mainstream and know there are so many other options out there.

what do you think, readers?  have i inspired you?

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

I think new/young mothers discount their own experience too much: regardless of where you are in your parenting journey, you have the right to be a role model! The breastfeeding mother of a one week old can inspire the heavily pregnant mother to try bf'ing. The cloth diapering mother of a two month old can inspire the mother of a newborn to try cloth. Et cetera, et cetera. Don't sell yourself short! :)


you have encouraged me to keep on pumping!


You know, I think parenting is an ever evolving process because there are so many stages to it. Like Dionna said, you can be an inspiration to someone who hasn't yet reached the stage you're at. The beauty of natural parenting is that it forces you to think about why you're doing things a certain way. While some people may not instantly understand (or may never understand or even want to understand), somewhere out there your choices are inspiring someone to think about their own parenting choices.

Ky •

Best line: "i hope i'm inspiring you to parent with your heart."

You inspire me, sista.

Lauren @ Hobo Mama

I'm still very much in process, too, and all the parenting ideas I have now came as a result of being inspired by someone else. I think with natural parenting, you dip your toe in somewhere (say, babywearing), and before you know it, you're making your own all-natural deodorant. (I'm not there yet, but I'm this close.) And every next step seems like too much, too crunchy, at first, and then you get used to it, and then it starts looking appealing even, and before you know it, you're sold! So maybe to your offline and non-natural parenting friends, they're still at the "what the huh?" stage about your parenting, or maybe they're at the "used to it but unsure" stage. But you never know what might change next! :)

I wonder if you could find some more offline friends who parent as you do, go to a La Leche League meeting or search out an AP playgroup.


Well, if it makes any difference to you, you're FAR further along than I ever was with such a young one. I mean, I was breastfeeding and wearing Hollis everywhere, but I didn't really know where to find support or that there was a community out there. I think I discovered it much later... I wish I'd known about it all along.

In my opinion, you're doing a wonderful job in the ether. Your gentle, natural parenting, and all out l o v e for Jude and the process is evident and that alone is an inspiration.


There's certainly no entrance exam, you definitely qualify! Otherwise none of us would, because there are as many ways to parent, and even parent naturally, as there are babies. Doing something because other people do and not because it's right for your baby and your family is the trap, and by parenting the way that's right for your family you are showing others that they can think and decide for themselves. That's inspirational.


I've been a mom for nine years now and I can honestly say that you've inspired me. You made me WANT to breastfeed, even though I haven't been physically able to with either of my kids.

There is no right way to parent a child, only the best, right way for your child. I think you're doing an incredible job of finding your own parenting style and what works best for you and Jude, which is what I think all mothers should strive to do.


I think it's great there is such a strong online community of natural parenting and crunchy granola mamas, but it's too bad there sometimes seems to be an element of competition or feeling like you have to do such and such to "belong to the club".

Life and parenting are all about process, and we inspire each other by living with love and awareness. For moms with older kids it can be inspirational to see new moms practicing natural parenting with gusto. I love how you describe your process of learning and growing as "weeding out ideas". Some ideas take root and flourish even when they might have been unexpected. :)


My second child is 13 months old, but I am doing things much differently this time around and in Oklahoma (especially somewhat rural Oklahoma) it's definitely not the norm. So I understand exactly what you're saying. It's daunting and lonely. I only have a couple local friends who do things even remotely the way I do. One of my best friends asks me all the time who I am and what have I done with the person I was prior to this child. (Thankfully she says so in a loving way, but recently it's gotten to the point that she's telling me that I'm going to have to stop breastfeeding soon.)

At any rate, it's hard for me to see how I could have possibly inspired anyone around here to do anything differently. They all look at me like I'm crazy.

But I just keep on truckin and doing what feels right for myself and my family and I am reassured and cheered on by my friends online.


In fact, you have inspired me. And I am, by all accounts, more experienced, being the mother of two who's been at this for 5 years. The truth is, that just like anyone else I have my moments where I feel like an impostor. My moments where I feel like I'm not crunchy enough. And so reading the words and thoughts of others who feel the same way helps me through.


parent with pride, thanks for that.

I, all to often, find myself avoiding gazes when the topic of sleep (and where my son sleeps) comes up. Or, adding a still in when it isn't needed. As in, yes, my son is still nursing.

But now, I will try my best to parent with pride. Own my choices. Know that they have been thoughtfully considered. Thanks.


This resonated so much with me - I often feel that I don't really belong in this 'earthy' world - which is why I changed my byline to Natural Parenting in the Real World - because I think people can be intimidated by the crunchiness. I know I sometimes am! I simply love the concept of being half way to hippyville! LOL.

A mom recently saw me open my nappy bag and in it there was vit C, chamomile, rescue remedy and about 6 other bottles (my baby doesn't handle teething well) and she asked me if I was a sangoma (african witch doctor!). So yeah - people think I'm a witch cause I go natural first and foremost.

I must say - it breaks my heart when I see people who don't look outside of the mainstream at all...

Amber, The Unlikely Mama

Oh I know exactly how you feel. I too float between the two worlds. Lost somewhere in the middle.

Online, that's fine. There are people, friends, like you that are the same. Trying to find their way and not afraid to write about missteps along their journey.

In the real world, sadly, that's not always the case. I've lost a few newish friends because of my crunchy tendencies. I've battled with family members and been dubbed the "organic bitch".

I'm thankful every single day that I have ladies like you all to help me feel normal and secure!

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