I’m a Natural Parent But…

Welcome to the “I’m a Natural Parent – BUT…” Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. During this carnival our participants have focused on the many different forms and shapes Natural Parenting can take in our community.

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You did WHAT?!


What is a “natural parent” anyway? If you’re not natural, does that mean you’re unnatural?

Just so we’re on the same page, here’s a working definition. Natural Parenting (NP) includes being respectful and responsive toward your children, leaving a small footprint on the earth through environmentally conscious decisions, and embracing holistic health, which includes gentle alternatives to conventional medicine. (The Natural Parents Network defines NP in detail if you’re interested in more.)

That plays out in so many different ways, though. If you read blogs or attend NP playgroups, it’s not uncommon for a little doubt to creep in. We often portray the best of the best when we’re putting ourselves out there on the web or in person, but that’s often doing a disservice to other moms who feel like they simply can’t live up. “Eek! I don’t raise chickens/make my own elderberry syrup/knit sweaters/fill-in-the-blank.” Chin up, mama! None of us are perfect. In fact, many of us are far from it.

So, in keeping with the eight chapters of The Other Baby Book, here’s a dose of my reality.

I’m a Natural Parent but…

Birth

I had a hospital birth AND asked for an epidural. Multiple times. (Dear husband was so kind to remind me I didn’t really want one, and looking back, I’m very grateful.)

Touch

After a year, I started to bribe Anabella with snacks to ride in her stroller on longer trips, rather than hop in the carrier, which did a number on my back.

Milk

When my extended family asks, “How long are you going to do that for?” I resent the need to educate them.

Sleep

At the tail end of being a single mom for a week while Mark was off on business, I let Anabella cry in her co-sleeper for 55 minutes, in hopes she would go to sleep before midnight, and stay asleep for more than 40 minutes. (For what it’s worth, that was far and away my lowest motherhood moment ever.)

Potty

Nighttime pottying sucks. I wish Anabella would just happily fill up a disposable diaper and sleep through the pees.

Relate

Anabella learned her ABCs by watching Elmo Learns his Letters…in the car.

Eat

We’ve eaten non-organic produce from The Dirty Dozen.

Flow

Sometimes I don’t eat lunch. Or wash my hair. Or my jeans. I’m still working on self-care.

I’m a Natural Parent And…I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s your reality?

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This carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that “natural parenting” means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

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I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that “natural parenting” means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

***

I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that “natural parenting” means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

29 thoughts on “I’m a Natural Parent But…”

  1. Pingback: Nice to meet you.
  2. Don’t underestimate Elmo’s teaching abilities. I’m amazed at the things my son comes up with, and before I can pat myself on the back for being such an amazing mom I realize that he’s learned them from an Elmo app on the iPad.

    I had a hospital birth and an epidural too. And it was fantastic. I wouldn’t change a thing about our birth story.

  3. My youngest knows and can recognize all her letters and even do some letter sounds and I have NEVER tried to teach her any of it. I credit Super Why and WordWorld LOL. I am guilty of all of the above. Even trying CIO with my first not once but TWICE after ll of my IRL friends swore he would sleep better if I did. Yeah, not my finest mommy moments either :(

  4. I think I’ve been there with you on all your natural parenting “secrets”. I really do need to remind myself that this too shall pass but it still doesn’t stop me from wishing that it was easier or that I had chosen another path especially on nights when I’m tired, he’s not, it is 11pm and I have to get up in a few hours and teach. Thank you for sharing these and for reminding us that we’ve all experienced moments of weakness in our convictions if we take a moment to reflect AND that it is okay.

  5. The only reason I haven’t tried letting my oldest cry herself to sleep is because when I have been in the exact same sleep situation as you were, I always ended up scream at her and then bursting into tears myself. She did yell herself to sleep once, but that was a surprise nap time when she was 3, and I wasn’t trying to get her to sleep, just give to give me 10 minutes to myself. The best part is I didn’t think she was actually asleep at first because she kept yelling at me (in her sleep) every few minutes until she fell into deep sleep.

  6. My son received a Vtech laptop from my inlaws during the holidays even though I had made it clear that I wanted to move away from plastic techy toys and opt for natural imaginative ones, and guess what? He started learning his letters and numbers from it and he can not only spell out words in my magazines now (he’s 20 months btw), but can count in sequence and understand the numerical value of numbers as well. Well then, it sure showed me! So now he plays with it without interference from me and although it isn’t a very ‘crunchy’ toy, it’s a good one that has had value so far, so it stays! Confessing these things makes me feel better too.

  7. Great post! I really love your intro in particular. Your definition of natural parenting is positive and open ended, rather than prescriptive and exclusive. I think we often give examples of how to live rather than the guiding theory behind NP when we define it, and your definition is excellent! And that photo? C’mon. Too cute. Awesomeness.

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