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.

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January 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: We Never Left the Grind #carnatpar

Welcome to the January 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:
Recovering from the Holidays

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 written about how their families get back to normal after the holidays are over.

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Some quotes from a typical day at my house, pre-holidays:

  • “Mom has back pain/butt pain/is hungry/was up all night with the baby/is editing her book — try to give her a few minutes of quiet today!”
  • “Has Mineral taken his ADHD medicine today?” “C’mere Mineral, let me look into your eyes.” (If he stays still and allows me to examine his eyes, he’s taken it. If not, he hasn’t. He hasn’t yet figured out how to pass this test when not on medication.)
  • “Oh crap! We haven’t done any traditional schoolwork in weeks! Quick, kids, here’s a math worksheet, and some lessons on grammar. Got it? Good. Back to reading and watching documentaries on Netflix.” Phew.
  • “Mommy? I forgot to tell you I threw up/peed/got a bloody nose in my bed last night. Can you wash my sheets?”
  • “I’m hungry.”
The Informant and Cousin It

The Informant and Cousin It

Other than celebrating Christmas/Cousin It’s birthday, nothing really changed during the holidays except my ass got smaller. My Chemical Romance went back to work on January 2. Here are some quotes from a typical day at my house, post-holidays:

  • “Mom has back pain/butt pain/is hungry/is tired/was up all night with the baby/is editing her book — try to give her a few minutes of quiet today!”
  • “Has Mineral taken his ADHD medicine today?” “C’mere Mineral, let me look into your eyes.” (If he stays still for me to examine his eyes, he’s taken it. If not, he hasn’t. He hasn’t yet figured out how to pass this test when not on medication.)
  • “Oh crap! We haven’t done any traditional schoolwork in weeks! Quick, kids, here’s a math worksheet, and some lessons on grammar. Got it? Good. Back to reading and documentaries on Netflix.”
  • “Mommy? I forgot to tell you I threw up/peed/got a bloody nose in my bed last night. Can you wash my sheets?”
  • “I’m hungry.”

I’d say we’re back to the grind, but really: NOTHING EVER CHANGES. Even the weather stays the same; this weekend it was in the 70s and I swear I’ve not even seen a frost yet this winter. However, to all the families who had difficult transitions back to “real life,” I wish you some peace and a day of Netflix documentaries.

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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 this March!

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

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • Pinterest Inspiration for Easier Winter Holidays Shannon, writing at Natural Parents Network, shares inspiration for having more relaxed winter holidays from their Handmade Holidays Pinterest board.
  • Seven Recipes for Beans – Post Holiday Cleaning — Destany at They Are All of Me shares her favorite bean recipes that she hopes will help her body recover from overindulging her sweet tooth during the holidays.
  • The Recovery in the Change — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen made changes in her life and attitude throughout 2012 and was pleasantly surprised at how those changes impacted her holiday recovery!
  • Could this question change your life for ever? — To get your new year off on the right footing, Mrs Green of Little Green Blog is challenging us all to love ourselves with commitment and discipline. She asks you to focus on a simple question which might just bring you back in balance…
  • Holiday Recovery — Meegs at A New Day talks about how the holidays can be overwhelming for a toddler, and how she’s helping her 3 year old recover.
  • 5 Ways to Detox After the Holidays — Brittany at The Pistachio Project gives a few ways to help you detox and get back on track after the holiday season has passed.
  • 3 Simple Ways to Establishing Rhythm After the Holidays or Any Time — Sheila at A Living Family shares 3 simple ways to reestablish a rhythm of connection and calm in your family after holidays, visitors, travel or any time.
  • Gemstones For Holiday Hangoverss — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama delves into the power of gemstones as an often overlooked means of dealing with the holiday letdown.
  • Getting back to Healthy — Bess at A Warrior Mom talks about the struggle of getting young ones back to eating healthy after several days to weeks of getting more candy and sweets than normal for the holidays and gives some suggestions on how to get them back to eating healthy in the new year.
  • Post Christmas Juice Feast — Sam at Love Parenting explains why she has created a new tradition of juice feasting, and how she includes her toddler when detoxing.
  • The Java Monkey On My Back — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs realizes it is time to kick her cup of Joe habit as a first step toward detoxing.
  • Minimalist Holidays — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn’t find much need for recovery after her minimalist version of the holidays.
  • Do something for you — Lauren at Hobo Mama urges you to find a silly and indulgent reward of me-time — and she has hers.
  • do we recover? — Kenna at Million Tiny Things wonders what recovery really means in the context of the tragedies of this past holiday season.
  • 37 Easy Ways to Save Money — Shannon at GrowingSlower is sharing these money-saving tips to help get your budget back on track after the holidays.
  • A Two Year Old’s ResolutionsThat Mama Gretchen is putting the holidays behind her with a spin on traditional resolutions — New Year’s goals for her two-year-old! Sound crazy? Read on for an explanation!
  • How to Find Balance after the Holidays — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her favorite ways to start a new year with hope and calmness.
  • Fresh Awakening — For Luschka at Diary of a First Child, the new year has coincided with a return to restful nights. With sleep, she’s found new directions in life, but while she can’t make too many changes to her life right now, she’s inspired and excited about the future.
  • Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season Stoneageparent describes the joys and lows of this year’s festive season, as well as her New Year’s resolutions.
  • Detoxing’ Your Toddler After the Holidays — Does your family suffer side effects from the holidays? Join Christine from African Babies Don’t Cry to learn how she detoxed herself and her toddler off the treats and festivities of the season.
  • Scheduling is OK! — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep explores the possibilities of the — SCHEDULE!!
  • Holiday-Free but not Stress-Free — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot takes it easy after moving with her husband and new babies to Scotland.
  • A Vacation from the World — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children retreats with her family at the end of every year in order to recuperate and enjoy one another.
  • On the Road to Recovery — Dionna at Code Name: Mama isn’t just recovering from the holidays, she’s recovering from a lifestyle.
  • We Never Left the GrindErika Gebhardt compares a typical day pre-holidays and post-holidays.
  • Remembering and Recovering from the Holidays (One day at a time) — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM is recovering from holidays slowly–taking one day at a time–while trying to remember all the sweet moments that passed too quickly.
  • 5 a Day — To get back on track Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy needed a simple system to help her family learn new values.
  • Holiday Detox & Healing: Bieler Broth — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her secret for a gentle, whole-foods-based post-holiday detox: Bieler Broth!
  • I’m Mama Not Supermom — After a year filled with changes Angela at EarthMamas World has to remind herself that she does not have to be supermom while recovering from the holiday chaos.

December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Holiday Non Traditions

Welcome to the December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Childhood Memories

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about memories of growing up — their own or the ones they’re helping their children create. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Growing up, my family was small, and my holiday memories consist of the following: Food. Presents. Menorah. Singing the Hanukkah candle prayers phonetically (“A share kitty shah new”) More food.

I grew up in the midwest so cold also goes along with most of my holiday memories.

Either because Hanukkah changes based on the Hebrew calendar, or because I’m from a small family, there was no one YEARLY SACRED FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITION(tm).

And yet that is exactly the holiday tradition I seem to have adopted into my own family. I grew up, got married, had five kids and started celebrating (not always in that order). At some point I appropriated Christmas, probably because it falls on the same day each year and most people I know celebrate it, so it’s easier to schedule. However, we rarely do the same thing every year. My parents live 30 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean while my husband’s family lives 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean — visiting anyone at this time of year isn’t always feasible. Our finances have changed somewhat, and so have my ideas about what kind of presents I want my kids to have (decreased, and from Craigslist, respectively).

Our holiday celebrations evolved. One year, I even had a baby on Christmas morning.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Happy Birthday, Jesus! And Cousin It!

I’m totally fine with having laissez-faire holiday plans. We get a tree and put up lights and ornaments. We send out holiday cards (usually pretty early). Other than that, my expectations are low. I want to enjoy the holidays, and I don’t want to feel pressure to do XYZ just because it’s TRADITION.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to live near my parents and have Christmas breakfast with them, or have Christmas eve dinner at My Chemical Romance’s grandparent’s house. But I’m just as happy to have New Year’s Eve open to finding something fun to do in our town, or if the kids want a sleepover, or whatever.

Or to celebrate Hanukkah.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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:

(This list will be updated by afternoon December 11 with all the carnival links.)

  • Childhood Memories of Peace, Support, Joy, and Love — Amber at Heart Wanderings wants to make sure the majority of the memories that her children have as a part of their family are ones that are positive and help support the amazing people that they are now and will become as adults.
  • Hand Made Baby Books — Destany at They Are All of Me talks about why baby books are important to her for preserving memories of her childrens first years, and shows how she made one by hand for each child.
  • Can your childhood memories help you keep your cool?Here’s To A Boring Year uses memories of being a child to keep her on the path to peaceful parenting.
  • Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about her own childhood memories, and what she hopes her daughter will remember in the future.
  • Snapshots — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings reflects on the ways our childhood memories appear to us, and hopes her own daughter’s childhood will be one she remembers as being happy and fulfilled.
  • What makes the perfect parent? — In a guest post on Natural Parents Network, Mrs Green from Little Green Blog reflects on camp follow and camp no-follow…
  • In My Own Handwriting — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about her journals and the hope that they will be able to keep her stories alive even if she isn’t able to.
  • Candlelight, fairylight, firelight — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud re-discovers the ingredients for bringing magic to life, especially at Christmas.
  • Making Memories (or) How We Celebrate Christmas — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about creating new memories at Christmas, and the joy their adventures bring to her whole family.
  • The Importance of Recording Feelings and Emotions and Not Just the Experience — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares why she puts pen to paper every day to record more than just her experiences as a mother and her daughter’s experiences as a child. Jennifer looks at the importance of capturing feelings and emotions that accompany the experience.
  • Dredged up — Kenna at Million Tiny Things has been forced to recount childhood memories at bedtime, due to the failure of her middle-aged imagination. She resists, of course.
  • Crafting Memories — Handmade is what makes the holidays special for Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs, and she wants to create the same connection with her daughters that she remembers with mother and grandmother.
  • My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness Stone Age Parent shares the impact of her childhood memories on her life as a parent today, listing some of her many rich childhood memories and how they now act as beacons of light helping her in the complex, often confusing world of child-rearing.
  • 10 Ways I Preserve Memories for My Children — From video interviews to time capsules, Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to make sure her children have many different ways to cherish their childhood memories. Dionna’s carnival post features ten of the ways she preserves memories; check out her Pinterest board for more ideas.
  • Memories of my mother — Luschka at Diary of a First Child remembers her mother and the fondest moments of her childhood, especially poignant as she sits by her mother’s sickbed writing.
  • Creating Happy Childhood Memories through Family Traditions — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why family traditions are so important to her and her family and shares how she’s worked to create traditions for her children.
  • Traditional Christmas Tree — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep remembers the great times spent with her family driving for the Christmas Tree and the lessons learned.
  • Wet Socks and Presents — Kat at MomeeeZen writes about her favorite Christmas childhood memory and why it’s so special. And she hopes one day her kids will also have a feel-good memory of their own to look back on.
  • Stuff does not equal memories — Lauren at Hobo Mama learns that letting go does not mean failing to remember.
  • A Child’s Loss- Will They Remember Dad? — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about their family’s loss of their husband and father. She trys to find answers to the question: Will they remember their Dad?
  • Childhood Memories – Hers and Mine — Jorje of Momma Jorje wished for her daughter the same passions and experiences she loved as a child, but learns the hard way to accept whatever passions strike in her child.
  • Holiday Non-TraditionsErika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays.

October 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Perfect the Way I Am

Welcome to the October 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Instilling a Healthy Self-Image

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared confessions, wisdom, and goals for helping children love who they are. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Teaching my kids to have a healthy self image? Honestly, I’m not sure how well I succeed in the healthy self-image department. In my head, I rotate between looking like this

(Credit: nycbarstoolsports.com)

and this

(Credit: petuniafacedgirl.blogspot.com)

Sometimes within the same day. Or just a few hours.

A few years ago, before I had weight loss surgery, I weighed 262lbs. Today I weigh 145lbs. I know a little something about how self-image changes over time, as a body changes. However, 75% of the reason I had weight-loss surgery was because I hated shopping at Lane Bryant and sweating all the time. It had much less to do with being HEALTHY than with being HOT.

And now that I’m thin — now that I’ve achieved this physical body I’ve always wanted — I still think about all my extra skin, my stretch marks, the “elevens” between my eyebrows that I wouldn’t mind being botoxed out if there were a safe way to be botoxed. Clearly I’m no expert at having a healthy self-image!

My child who seems to struggle the most with self-image doesn’t appear have any physical issues to speak of, the way I do. It’s The Informant. Sometimes when she acts out, I get the sense that she’s really unhappy with HERSELF rather than whatever or whoever upset her.

For example, one day I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth and she came to me to report some grave injustice or something. I remember she was unhappy and stuck her tongue out at herself in the bathroom mirror.

I told her, “Look at yourself in the mirror.”

She struggled, but she did it.

(Credit: Flickr/borkur.net)

I said, “Tell yourself you are perfect exactly the way you are, exactly the way god made you.”

(I have no idea where that g word came from. I am not even sure I believe in god. But I said it.)

She said, “You’re perfect the way you are.”

I said, “Look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘I’m perfect exactly the way I am, exactly the way god made me.'”

She said, “No!”

It was extremely uncomfortable for her. I am sure there were a myriad of reasons why and I’m not even going to speculate about them. I did it first — looked at myself in the mirror and said “I am perfect exactly the way I am, exactly the way god made me” — and it wasn’t easy for me either. It felt like jumping straight into a cold swimming pool.

I made her say it (as much as one can “make” a seven-year-old say something. I didn’t, like, hold her down and tell her SAY IT! SAY IT! SAY IT! or even coerce her in any way but I told her it was really important to try.) I think the fact that she felt uncomfortable with saying it meant that she hadn’t thought of herself as someone who is perfect — in image or inside herself.

I’ve asked her to do it a few times since then. I’ve also asked Mineral, who has severe ADHD and anxiety, to say the same thing into a mirror. He, too, struggles, knowing that his behavior is often different than what’s expected.

And I’ll continue saying it to myself.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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:

(This list will be updated by afternoon October 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • Why I Walk Around Naked — Meegs at A New Day talks about how she embraces her own body so that her daughter might embrace hers.
  • What I Am Is Not Who I Am — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses her views on the importance of modeling WHO she is for her daughter and not WHAT she sees in the mirror.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Verbs vs. Adjectives — Alisha at Cinnamon & Sassafras tries hard to compliment what her son does, not who he is.
  • The Naked Family — Sam at Love Parenting talks about how nudity and bodily functions are approached in her home.
  • How She’ll See Herself — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis discusses some of the challenges of raising a daughter in our culture and how she’s hoping to overcome them.
  • Self Esteem and all it’s pretty analogies — Musings from Laura at Pug in the Kitchen on what she learned about self-esteem in her own life and how it applies to her parenting.
  • Beautiful — Tree at Mom Grooves writes about giving her daughter the wisdom to appreciate her body and how trying to be a role model taught Tree how to appreciate her own.
  • Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Nurturing A Healthy Body Image — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs is changing perceptions about her body so that she may model living life with a positive, healthy body image for her three young daughters.
  • Some{BODY} to LoveKate Wicker has faced her own inner demons when it comes to a poor body image and even a clinical eating disorder, and now she wants to help her daughters to be strong in a world that constantly puts girls at risk for losing their true selves. This is Kate’s love letter to her daughters reminding them to not only accept their bodies but to accept themselves as well in every changing season of life.
  • They Make Creams For That, You Know — Destany at They Are All of Me writes about celebrating her natural beauty traits, especially the ones she passed onto her children.
  • New Shoes for Mama — Kellie of Our Mindful Life, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, is getting some new shoes, even though she is all grown up…
  • Raising boys with bodily integrity — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants her boys to understand their own bodily autonomy — so they’ll respect their own and others’.
  • Sowing seeds of self-love in our children — After struggling to love herself despite growing up in a loving family, Shonnie at Heart-Led Parenting has suggestions for parents who truly want to nurture their children’s self-esteem.
  • Subtle Ways to Build a Healthy Self-Image — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM discusses the little things she and her husband do every day to help their daughter cultivate a healthy self-image.
  • On Barbie and Baby Bikinis: The Sexualization of Young Girls — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger finds it difficult to keep out the influx of messages aimed at her young daughters that being sexy is important.
  • Undistorted — Focusing on the beauty and goodness that her children hold, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children watches them grow, loved and undistorted.
  • Off The Hook — Arpita at Up, Down and Natural sheds light on the journey of infertility, and how the inability to get pregnant and stay pregnant takes a toll on self image…only if you let it. And that sometimes, it feels fantastic to just let yourself off the hook.
  • Going Beyond Being An Example — Becky at Old New Legacy discusses three suggestions on instilling healthy body image: positivity, family dinners, and productivity.
  • Raising a Confident Kid — aNonymous at Radical Ramblings describes the ways she’s trying to raise a confident daughter and to instil a healthy attitude to appearance and self-image.
  • Instilling a Healthy Self Image — Laura at This Mama’s Madness hopes to promote a healthy self-image in her kids by treating herself and others with respect, honesty, and grace.
  • Stories of our Uniqueness — Casey at Sesame Seed Designs looks for a connection to the past and celebrates the stories our bodies can tell about the present.
  • Helping My Boy Build a Healthy Body Image — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school offers readers a collection of tips and activities that she uses in her journey to helping her 3-year-old son shape a healthy body image.
  • Eat with Joy and Thankfulness: A Letter to my Daughters about Food — Megan at The Boho Mama writes a letter to her daughters about body image and healthy attitudes towards food.
  • Helping Our Children Have Healthy Body Images — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares information about body image, and her now-adult daughter tells how she kept a healthy body image through years of ballet and competitive figure skating.
  • Namaste — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares how at barely 6 years old, her daughter has begun to say, “I’m not beautiful.” And while it’s hard to listen to, she also sees it as a sign her daughter is building her self-image in a grassroots kind of way.
  • 3 Activities to Help Instill a Healthy Self-Image in Your Child — Explore the changing ideals of beauty, create positive affirmations, and design a self-image awareness collage. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares these 3 ideas + a pretty affirmation graphic you can print and slip in your child’s lunchbox.
  • Beautiful, Inside and Out — It took a case of adult-onset acne for Kat of MomeeeZen to find out her parenting efforts have resulted in a daughter that is truly beautiful, inside and out.
  • Mirroring Positive Self Image for Toddlers — Shannon at GrowingSlower reflects on encouraging positive self image in even the youngest members of the family.
  • How I hope to instill a healthy body image in my two girls — Raising daughters with healthy body image in today’s society is no small task, but Xela at The Happy Hippie Homemaker shares how choosing our words carefully and being an example can help our children learn to love their bodies.
  • Self Image has to Come from WithinMomma Jorje shares all of the little things she does to encourage healthy attitudes in her children, but realizes she can’t give them their self images.
  • Protecting the Gift — JW from True Confessions of a Real Mommy wants you to stop thinking you need to boost your child up: they think they are wonderful all on their own.
  • Learning to Love Myself, for my Daughter — Michelle at Ramblings of Mitzy addresses her own poor self-image.
  • Nurturing An Innate Sense of Self — Marisa at Deliberate Parenting shares her efforts to preserve the confidence and healthy sense of self they were born with.
  • Don’t You Love Me, Mommy?: Instilling Self-Esteem in Young Children After New Siblings Arrive — Jade at Seeing Through Jade Glass But Dimly hopes that her daughter will learn to value herself as an individual rather than just Momma’s baby
  • Exercising is FUN — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work talks about modeling for her children that exercising is FUN and good for body and soul.
  • Poor Little Chicken — Kenna at A Million Tiny Things gets her feathers ruffled over her daughter’s clothing anxiety.
  • Loving the skin she’s in — Mama Pie at Downside Up and Outside In struggles with her little berry’s choice not to celebrate herself and her heritage.
  • Perfect the Way I Am — Erika at Cinco de Mommy struggles — along with her seven-year-old daughter — at telling herself she’s perfect just the way she is.

July 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Talent Show

Welcome to the July 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Creations

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared crafts, recipes, and philosophies of creativity. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

I live in a family full of drama queens (and kings). And also, My Chemical Romance.

US!

The Informant rails loudly against the unfairness of being the middle child like she’s in some off-Broadway performance of Occupy Parenthood. Mineral, whose ADHD and other mental health issues can explain some of his outbursts, has outbursts nonetheless. Animal is the class clown, likely to start breakdancing at the suggestion of teeth brushing. And My Masterpiece sings her off-tune songs all day long, leading me to wonder if there’s a dying animal on the front porch– oh no, that’s just the sound of My Masterpiece humming to herself.

Recently we were all bored after dinner and I suggested a family talent show. This is, after all, a family with a lot of talent. I decided to present each child in reverse-age order (because, as The Informant pointed out, Mineral ALWAYS goes first, and My Masterpiece ALWAYS goes last — at least until Cousin It is old enough to participate.)

Note: I did not take pictures of the ACTUAL talent show, so these are just some random pics of my kids. I thought about re-creating the talent show just for this blog post, but that seemed disengenuous. 

I started by introducing My Masterpiece: “And now, coming in at four-and-a-half-years-old, born in a bedroom in Arizona and spending the last few years in Charlotte where she learned to love cars, MY MASTERPIECE!”

She attempted to hula hoop.

My Masterpiece

Next was The Informant: “A seven-year-old San Diego native who has lost one tooth, loves to eat corn, and color pictures of animals and ninja warriors, please welcome THE INFORMANT!”

She tried to juggle.

The Informant at the park

Then came Animal: “And now, the tallest kid in the house, coming in at 56″ and almost ready to be out of a booster seat, born in the coldest winter in Michigan history and loving every kind of sport, here’s ANIMAL!”

Animal did Tae Kwon Do.

Animal at the park

Finally, Mineral: “The oldest child in the family, born 10 minutes before his brother; he loves Legos and reading and likes to wear costumes over his clothes while listening to music, it’s MINERAL!”

Mineral, who wore a costume, did archery toward the television, while miraculously not hitting it, or anything else.

Mineral

Cousin It even showed off her new talent: When you say, ONE, she says TEWWWWWW.

Cousin It.

We did a few rounds of our talent show; everyone did some hula-hooping and archery. The show ended when Animal tried to convince The Informant to put an apple on her head while he aimed a bow and arrow at her.

My Chemical Romance and I did not display any talent, but I can juggle. My Chemical Romance can sing camp songs — he took a week off work to be a leader at Cub Scout camp and learned a lot of silly campfire songs.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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:

(This list will be updated by afternoon July 10 with all the carnival links.)

  • Garden Soup — Bailey finds a way to help momma Katy (from Muse of a Daffodil) in the garden.
  • This One Time, I Tried To Make a Car — Ashley at Domestic Chaos tries once again to make something crafty from stuff around the house.
  • Pin-tastic creative ideas — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how Pinterest is inspiring creativity in her family this summer.
  • Baby Hiccups In The Womb — Alinka at Baby Web shares one of the ways she bonds with her unborn baby.
  • Turtle Mosaics — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school and her little family spend a quiet hour making a turtle mosaic inspired by the work of Melanie Mikecz.
  • Edible Art Plus 8 Art Supply Recipes — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares some natural, chemical-free art supply alternatives, which are gauranteed to be tons of fun for children or all ages. They taste great too!
  • A surprise art lesson — Tat at Mum in search has been taking art lessons from her 5-year-old son.
  • Memory Creation — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about how her family aims to create as many memories as they can as a family.
  • A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words — Melissa at Momma Beer tries to replace cars with crafts.
  • My Creative Family: Sometimes Messy, Always Fun — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM embraces the messes that sometimes accompany creative play but admits you don’t always have to get dirty to have fun.
  • Fun Family Learning: Constellation Cave Tutorial — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter gives step-by-step instructions for building a fun new twist on a cardboard box playhouse.
  • Cooking… Kind Of — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings makes pizza with her daughter, hoping to inspire a love of cooking and encourage a bigger interest in food. As well as making mess and having lots of fun, of course!
  • Crockpot Refried BeansThat Mama Gretchen‘s family loves to experiment with new recipes, and today she’s sharing a kitchen success!
  • Creating Memories — Andrea at Tales of Goodness reflects on how the best creations can emerge from just letting kids be kids.
  • Making Beautiful Things … And Sometimes Just Average-Looking Ones — Tamara at Tea for Three looks for ways to add more craft and creativity into every day family life.
  • Making Fruit Leather Together — When Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work took some time to involve her children in the process of finally trying a fruit leather recipe stored on her Pinterest food board, she got more than just a scrumptious homemade snack as a result!
  • Making Glasses from Children’s Art — Mandy at Living Peacefuly with Children used her children’s artwork to make some very special glasses for her husband for Father’s Day.
  • Preparing Family Meals Together — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares how she started the tradition of creating meals together with her children, which makes family gatherings more fun.
  • It’s a trap! — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares the innovative snares her son and husband have set for her.
  • How To Make The Most Of A Very Wet Summer — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shows us the first few weeks of the Summer Camp At Home project for keeping boredom at bay.
  • Creating with… well, what do we have? — If necessity is the mother of invention, Momma Jorje thinks perhaps boredom is (or at least can be) the mother of creativity. In a pinch, she got creative with a household item to entertain herself and her toddler.
  • Creating Joy! Felt Counting Fish and other Fun — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle started creating Felt Counting Fish and then fell down the rabbit hole of fun with a number of other games.
  • I Am Going! (A Code Name: Mama Homemade Theater Production of Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie book) — This might be the finest example of child and baby acting ever recorded. Enjoy this Mo Willems treasure via video from Dionna at Code Name: Mama.
  • DIY Summer Sleep Sack for Baby Tutorial — Shannon at GrowingSlower made an organic summer sleep sack for baby, and you can too with her easy tutorial.
  • Chalk It Up! — Amy at Anktangle recounts how an impulse buy has turned into a fun collaborative activity that she hopes will continue to foster creativity in the whole family.
  • The Family Garden — Excited that her son has been a big help in the garden this year, Ana at Pandamoly shares how her garden grows and offers up some secrets on how a toddler can be a great assistant in the garden.
  • Getting my craft on — Jona at Life, Intertwined takes a trip down memory lane — and finds it in stitches.
  • Easy DIY Sandpit for Toddler Play — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares her easy DIY toddler sandpit tutorial.
  • Building Without Nails — Laura at Laura’s Blog builds a swinging bar using just sticks and twine.
  • Family Talent Show — Erika at Cinco de Mommy holds an after-dinner family talent show.
  • Ar matey! Fun and Learning with Pirate Play. Positive Parenting Connection is sharing lots of really fun Pirate-themed learning activities for the whole family.

Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

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 written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.

***

I’ve written at length about homebirth – my own two homebirths, attending others’ homebirths, supporting homebirths – and so I want to go back and write about my first birth experience. That was Animal and Mineral, in 2003. It was NOT a homebirth. It was in a large teaching hospital, in an Operating Room full of maternity unit staff and NICU staff, and I could have only one person in the room with me (I was single and chose my mom).

Animal and Mineral are monozygotic (“identical”) twins who had Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome while in utero. I discovered via ultrasound at 18 weeks that I was having twins. A few days after my ultrasound, I received a call from a staff assistant at a high-risk Ob/Gyn office, with information from a doctor who had examined my ultrasound pictures. He had recognized that my twins had TTTS. I was instructed to transfer my care to their clinic immediately so the “twin expert” doc there could monitor my progress.

The doctor I saw suggested bedrest, drinking lots of Ensure or Boost, and a weekly appointment with a non-stress test or biophysical profile every other week to check their statuses. (Or statii. Google seems to have a lot of answers to the question, “What is the plural of status?”)

At a NST or BPP a few weeks before giving birth.

So I did that, from 18 weeks til 34 weeks: I drank my Ensure, I stayed on bedrest, I went to my appointments, I watched TV — this was before DVR and before high-speed internet connections were everywhere; I had dial-up. I worried about Animal and Mineral, although they remained stable every week and the doctor was very positive and encouraging.

I did not want a cesarean section. I was a single mom-to-be, I was going to be a single mom of twins, and I’d heard and read that recovering from a cesarean was painful and challenging. I already had enough challenges. I was not yet as crunchy and natural as I am today but I was practical.

I agreed to an induction of labor at 34 weeks because Mineral was showing signs of Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction, and had had several heart rate decelerations during one of my non-stress tests. My induction began with Cervidal — and was supposed to continue with pitocin the next day — and ended nine hours later when I gave birth to Mineral, and then about ten minutes later to Animal.

A few hours after the Cervidil was started. In eaaaaaaaaaaaarly labor, clearly, since I’m still smiling.

It was not natural. I was in an incredibly UNNATURAL setting: not just the hospital, but the high-risk maternity floor. Not just monitoring but continuous fetal monitoring — and that’s no small feat with two babies to monitor. (See the hand in that picture? It’s my friend Gretchen. She was my doula and she was incredibly helpful.) Not just an epidural but an epidural and a bunch of lidocaine for that my epidural “window,” where the spinal medication didn’t affect me. Not just flat on my back but flat on my back in an Operating Room. Not just full of maternity floor staff but also full of NICU staff, with everyone debating whether or not I needed a cesarean section because Animal was a foot-first breech. (You should have seen the looks on their faces when my water broke and his foot slid out. Priceless.)

I did it! With some random nurse who was probably nice while I was doing it!

I had never considered that giving birth could be an EXPERIENCE; I just thought of it as a means to an end. The boys would go from my uterus to outside my body, hopefully via my vagina. Yet, for me, it was an experience. Emotionally, I was not expecting that. I was shocked by how much I’d enjoyed and loved giving birth. I was surprised by how intensely I felt afterwards when I looked back on what I’d accomplished.

It was by far my least natural birth. Yet the experience was incredibly beautiful. Giving birth showed me I could do something I’d never done before. I could survive physical pain unlike anything I’d experienced before. Even though I was young, even though I was single, even though Animal and Mineral weren’t planned, I achieved something that day that I had never dreamed of before.

Not every woman considers birth an experience, but that’s how it felt to me. And I will always cherish that first experience.

***

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:

 
 

The Orange Week in San Diego

Welcome to the May 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With or Without Extended Family

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how relatives help or hinder their parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

For a week straight, my 7yo daughter and my 4yo daughter ate Cheetos for every meal. Every meal. A week straight. They occasionally supplemented their diet with cookies or chocolate milk, but mostly it was those greasy-yet-powdery orange snack chips for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

At home, this would not have been acceptable. I have standards for what I feed my family, and Cheetos do not fit the bill. But we weren’t home.

We were in San Diego for my grandfather-in-law’s funeral. He’d died at the age of 91-years-young, and my mother-in-law — who had not been his daughter-in-law for over 20 years –bought plane tickets for all seven of us (!) so we could attend the memorial, and stay in San Diego for a week.

My mother-in-law babywearing Cousin It at Legoland

San Diego is where My Chemical Romance was born, and lived for 26 years. His entire extended family is there: both parents and their spouses; two sisters, one brother-in-law and two nephews; all four grandparents; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Animal and Mineral, fishing with My Chemical Romance’s Grandpa, at Imperial Beach Pier

We lived there together for three years after we got married, when Animal and Mineral were babies. The Informant was born there.

Currently, we live in North Carolina, which is approximately as far from San Diego as you can get. Our life here is a lot different from what it was when we lived there. We have no built-in babysitters, and no last-minute family help when there’s an emergency. There are no weekend barbecues with extended family. There’s no Grandma reading to them before bed, or Grandpa attending a Cub Scout pack meeting.

Aunt Julie (pregnant with a new cousin) and Cousin It at J Street Marina

Luckily my children don’t seem to mind. They don’t remember living near their San Diego family, and we’ve never lived closer than a 2h plane ride from my family. They don’t expect the closeness that comes with physical proximity with family. But it bothers me. I grew up living no more than 20 minutes from my grandparents, and approximately that same distance from aunts and uncles and cousins. And while we weren’t always close, they were always there.

Face-painted family!

So I make an effort to bridge the distance with my in-laws. We call and text — and thank goodness for Skype! Sometimes the kids’ homeschool copywork is a letter to an aunt or a cousin. And on those rare occasions when we do get a chance to visit family, I try not to sweat the small stuff — like the Cheetos — and just let my children enjoy themselves with their family.

My Masterpiece and My Chemical Romance’s Grams

However, as soon as we got on the plane to go home, I told the girls that I never wanted to see another Cheeto for as long as I live.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 8 with all the carnival links.)

  • Dealing With Unsupportive Grandparents — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, The Pistachio Project tells what to do when your child’s grandparents are less than thrilled about your parenting choices.
  • Parenting With Extended Family — Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy shares the pros and cons of parenting with extended family…
  • Parental Support for an AP Mama — Meegs at A New Day talks about the invaluable support of her parents in her journey to be an AP mama.
  • Priceless GrandparentsThat Mama Gretchen reflects on her relationship with her priceless Grammy while sharing ways to help children preserve memories of their own special grandparents.
  • Routines Are Meant To Be Broken — Olga at Around The Birthing Ball urges us to see Extended Family as a crucial and necessary link between what children are used to at home and the world at large.
  • It Helps To Have A Village – Even A Small One — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how she has flourished as a mother due to the support of her parents.
  • The Orange Week — Erika at Cinco de Mommy lets go of some rules when her family finally visits extended family in San Diego.
  • One Size Doesn’t Fit All — Kellie at Our Mindful Life realizes that when it comes to family, some like it bigger and some like it smaller.
  • It Takes a Family — Alicia at What’s Next can’t imagine raising a child without the help of her family.
  • A new foray into family — As someone who never experienced close extended family, Lauren at Hobo Mama wrestles with how to raise her kids — and herself — to restart that type of community.
  • My Mama Rocks! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment is one lucky Mama to have the support and presence of her own awesome Mama.
  • Embracing Our Extended Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares 7 ideas for nurturing relationships with extended family members.
  • Doing Things Differently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares how parenting her children far away from extended family improved her confidence in her choices.
  • Snapshots of love — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the joys of sharing her young son’s life with her own parents.
  • Parenting with Relies – A mixed bagUrsula Ciller shares some of her viewpoints on the pros and cons of parenting with relatives and extended family.
  • Tante and Uncles — How a great adult sibling relationship begets a great relationship with aunt and uncles from Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Tips for Traveling With Twins — Megan at the Boho Mama shares some tips for traveling with infant twins (or two or more babies!).
  • Parenting passed through the generations — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the incredible parenting resource that is her found family, and how she hopes to continue the trend.
  • My Family and My Kids — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders whether she distrusts her family or if she is simply a control freak.
  • Parenting with a Hero — Rachel at Lautaret Bohemiet reminisces about the relationship she shared with her younger brother, and how he now shares that closeness in a relationship with her son.
  • Text/ended Family — Kenna of A Million Tiny Things wishes her family was around for the Easter egg hunt… until she remembers what it’s actually like having her family around.
  • Two Kinds of Families — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how her extended family is just as valuable to her mommying as her church family.
  • My ‘high-needs’ child and ‘strangers’ — With a ‘high-needs’ daughter, aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings has had to manage without the help of family or friends, adapting to her daughter’s extreme shyness and allowing her to socialise on her own terms.
  • Our Summer Tribe — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a love of her family’s summer reunion, her secret to getting the wisdom of the “village” even as she lives 1,000 miles away.
  • My Life Boat {Well, One of Them} — What good is a life boat if you don’t get it? Grandparents are a life boat MomeeeZen loves!
  • Dear Children — In an open letter to her children, Laura at Pug in the Kitchen promises to support them as needed in her early days of parenting.
  • Yearning for Tribal Times — Ever had one of those days where everything seems to keep going wrong? Amy at Anktangle recounts one such day and how it inspired her to think about what life must’ve been like when we lived together in large family units.
  • I don’t have a village — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wishes she had family nearby but appreciates their support and respect.
  • Trouble With MILs– Ourselves? — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake Half Asleep explains how her arguments with her mother-in-law may have something to do with herself.
  • A Family Apart — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings writes about the challenges, and the benefits, of building a family apart from relatives.
  • First Do No Harm — Zoie at TouchstoneZ asks: How do you write about making different parenting choices than your own family experience without criticizing your parents?
  • Military Family SeparationAmy Willa shares her feelings about being separated from extended family during her military family journey.
  • Forging A Village In The Absence Of One — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about the importance of creating a support network, a village, when family isn’t an option.
  • Respecting My Sister’s Parenting Decisions — Dionna at Code Name: Mama‘s sister is guest posting on the many roles she has as an aunt. The most important? She is the named guardian, and she takes that role seriously.
  • Multi-Generational Living: An Exercise in Love, Patience, and Co-Parenting — Boomerang Mama at The Other Baby Book shares her experience of moving back in with Mom and Dad for 7 months, and the unexpected connection that followed.
  • A Heartfelt Letter to Family: Yes, We’re Weird, but Please Respect Us Anyway — Sheila of A Living Family sincerely expresses ways she would appreciate her extended family’s support for her and her children, despite their “weird” parenting choices.
  • The nuclear family is insane! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle is grateful for family support, wishes her Mum lived closer, and feels an intentional community would be the ideal way to raise her children.

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