June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Human Beings #carnatpar

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Welcome to the June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:
Parenting in Theory vs. in Reality

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 are sharing how their ideas and methods of parenting have changed.

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If only parenting in reality were like reality tv: full of cute anecdotes, funny coincidences and beautiful clothes. Instead, it’s anecdotes that only a mother would find cute, coincidences like my baby having an explosive diaper when I’m already running late = I don’t have time to shower before my gyno appointment for a pap smear and beautiful clothes that have been ruined by spills.

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The reality is, over the last ten years and five kids, I’ve made a ton of parenting mistakes:

Had an epidural during labor

Didn’t have an epidural during labor

Had a hospital birth

Had a homebirth

Breastfed…

for only three weeks

Am breastfeeding a toddler and not loving every nursing session.

Used disposable diapers

Toilet trained (rather than waiting for readiness)

Turned my then-11-month-old twins car seats forward facing

Kept my then-4yo’s car seat rear-facing

Bribed my then-7yo to read books

Borrowed from their allowance jars when I needed some change for candy

Let them eat candy

Let them eat hot dogs

Let them eat gluten

Let toddler touch raw chicken

Let them get away with leaving clothes on the floor

Yelled at them when they left clothes on the floor

Left nursing toddler with dad for five days while I went to Florida

Didn’t bring home gifts

I could go on but you get the idea.

There are things I’ve done that I do truly regret, like not breastfeeding my first three kids very much, and not taking good care of myself when I was pregnant with #4, which I think contributed to a post-partum hemorrhage. I regret that I’ve spanked some of my kids. I wish I yelled less. I wish I spent more one-on-one time with each child, because it seems to make each child so happy.

But the reality is that I’m a human being who has made mistakes — and so are they. That concept has been revolutionary for my parenting: Each one is a human being, deserving the same rights and respect as all other human beings.

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Also, human beings make mistakes. I try to remember that when they spill (organic, grass-fed, $9/gal) milk all over the floor. They’re not intentionally driving me crazy any more than I’m intentionally driving them crazy. (They are, however, intentionally driving each other crazy.)

I ask myself questions: Am I treating them the way I would treat another human being? Am I being as kind as I would to a neighbor, a stranger asking for directions — or my best friend? If I can answer yes, I’m doing okay.

In reality, I’m a human being parenting five other human beings. And my gyno promised me when she saw my v*gina that she didn’t care.

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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 (posts will be live and updated no later than afternoon on June 11):

  • My little gastronomes — “I’ll never cook a separate meal for my children,” Maud at Awfully Chipper vowed before she had children; but things didn’t turn out quite as she’d imagined.
  • Know Better, Do Better. Except When I Don’t. — Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy was able to settle in her parenting choices before her children arrived, but that doesn’t mean she always lives up to them.
  • Judgments Made Before Motherhood — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks back on her views of parents she came in contact with before she became a mother and how much her worldview of parenting has changed!
  • A Bend in The Road — Lyndsay at ourfeministplayschool writes about how her visions of homeschooling her son during the elementary school years have changed drastically in the last year – because HE wants to go to school.
  • I Wish Children Came with Instruction Manuals — While Dionna at Code Name: Mama loves reading about parenting, she’s not found any one book that counts as an instruction manual. Every child is different, every family is different, every dynamic is different. No single parenting method or style is the be-all end-all. Still, wouldn’t it be nice if parenting were like troubleshooting?
  • The Mistakes I’ve Made — Kate at Here Now Brown Cow laments the choices she made with her first child and explains how ditching her preconceived ideas on parenting is helping her to grow a happy family.
  • I Only Expected to Love… — Kellie at Our Mindful Life went into parenting expecting to not have all the answers. It turns out, she was right!
  • They See Me Wearin’, They Hatin’ — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different contemplates putting her babywearing aspirations into practice, and discussed how she deals with “babywearing haters.”
  • Parenting Human BeingsErika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting.
  • Doing it right: what I knew before I had kids… — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud, guest posting at Natural Parents Network realises that the number one game in town, when it comes to parenting, is judgement about doing it right. But “doing it right” looks different to everybody.
  • A synopsis of our reality as first time parents — Amanda at My Life in a Nut Shell summarizes the struggles she went through to get pregnant, and how her daughter’s high needs paved the way for her and her husband to become natural parents.
  • Theory to Reality? — Jorje compares her original pre-kid ideas (some from her own childhood) to her personal parenting realities on MommaJorje.com.
  • The Princess Paradigm — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen had planned to raise her daughter in a sparkly, princess-free home, but in turn has found herself embracing the glitz.
  • Healthy Eating With Kids: Ideal vs. Real — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs had definite ideas about what healthy eating was going to look like in her family before she had kids. Little did she realize that her kids would have something to say about it.
  • How to deal with unwanted parenting advice — Tat at Mum in Search thought that dealing with unwanted parenting advice would be a breeze. It turned out to be one of her biggest challenges as a new mum.
  • How I trained my 43 month old in 89 days! — Becky at Old New Legacy used to mock sticker charts, until they became her best friend in the process of potty training.
  • My Double Life: Scheduling with Twins — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot was banging her head against the wall trying to keep up with the plan she made during pregnancy, until she let her babies lead the way.
  • Parenting in the land of compromise — As a holistic health geek trying to take care of her health issues naturally, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama regrets that her needs sometimes get in the way of her children’s needs.
  • Practice Makes Good, Not Perfect — Rachael at The Variegated Life comes to see that through practice, she just might already be the parent she wants to be.
  • 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering: How to Free Yourself and Your Family — Sheila Pai at A Living Family shares in theory (blog) and reality (video) how she frees herself from 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering that can damage the connection, peace and love she seeks to nurture in her relationships with family and others.
  • 5 Things I Thought MY Children Would Never Do — Luschka at Diary of a First Child largely laughs at herself and her previous misconceptions about things her children would or wouldn’t do, or be allowed to do.
  • Policing politeness — Lauren at Hobo Mama rethinks a conviction she had about modeling vs. teaching her children about courtesy.
  • The Before and The After: Learning about Parenting — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work reminisces about the perspective she held as a young adult working with children (and parents) . . . before she became a mother.
  • Parenting Beliefs: Becoming the Parent You Want to Be — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how we can make a mindful decision to become the parent we want to be. Decisions we make affect who we will become.
  • The Great Breastfeeding Debacle — In Lisa at The Squishable Baby’s mind, breastfeeding would be easy.
  • What my daughter taught me about being a parentMrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?”
  • Sensory Box Fail! — Megan at The Boho Mama discovers that thoughtful sensory activities can sometimes lead to pasta in your bra and beans up your nose.
  • Montessori and My Children – Theory vs. Reality — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her experiences with Montessori parenting and describes the results she sees in her now-adult children.
  • I Like The Mother I Am Now More Than The Mother I Intended To Be — Darcel at The Mahogany Way thought she would just give her kids the look and they would immediately fall in line.

<!– END BOTTOM STRAIGHT LIST CODE –!>

19 Responses

  1. […] Parenting Human Beings — Erika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting. […]

  2. I love your honesty! I’ve got a load of regrets too, but I guess all we can do now for us and our kids is to do the best we can, whatever that may be! I love your reminder that all human beings make mistakes… Something to remember!

    • Thanks! I make a lot of mistakes (duh) but I keep trying to do better and hope that they learn from everything, including mistakes.

  3. Love this 🙂 I also try to think about how I would respond to a neighbor/friend/stranger (but it’s hard to do in the heat of a parenting moment). And I completely agree that we all make mistakes – admitting and apologizing to my kids for my own mistakes will hopefully help them forgive themselves for their own later.
    ~Dionna @ CodeNameMama.com

  4. I also love this post. I try really hard to look back and just laugh at the parent I was, rather than thinking of my experience as mistakes. 🙂

  5. I LOVE your honesty – you’re braver than me to admit things. And kudos for five kiddies. Good to discover you via the Carnival!

  6. […] Parenting Human Beings — Erika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting. […]

  7. […] Parenting Human Beings — Erika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting. […]

  8. Two wonderful reminders, wrapped in a beautifully honest and compassionate post! Forgiving ourselves for being human, and heckling our behavior as parents against what we would say or do to any other human being – great reminders for navigating the great challenge of parenting!

  9. What a great post with two amazing reminders:1. forgive yourself and 2. Treat your children the way any human being deserves to be treated. Another reminder I have been recently trying to increase compassion in my parenting is “would I approve of this action or speech if it were a stranger or friend talking to my child?” It puts my actions in perspective. Just because I am “the mommy” doesn’t mean I can be mean.

  10. […] Parenting Human Beings — Erika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting. […]

  11. […] Parenting Human Beings — Erika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting. […]

  12. I love the questions you ask yourself: “Am I treating them the way I would treat another human being? Am I being as kind as I would to a neighbor, a stranger asking for directions — or my best friend? If I can answer yes, I’m doing okay.”

    It’s so true that we all make mistakes. Now that my kids are grown, I’ve learned that it was totally okay that I wasn’t perfect. In some ways, my kids developed very positive traits because of some of my imperfections. In the long run, a lot of our mistakes don’t seem to matter at all. Thanks for the great post! 🙂

  13. […] Parenting Human Beings — Erika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting. […]

  14. […] Parenting Human Beings — Erika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting. […]

  15. […] Parenting Human Beings — Erika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting. […]

  16. […] Parenting Human Beings — Erika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting. […]

  17. “Am I treating them the way I would treat another human being?” This question is SO important, and one I try to keep in mind when I feel my respect for them slipping from me. Thanks for such a wise and funny post!

  18. […] Parenting Human Beings — Erika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting. […]

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