Posts Tagged "Natural Parenting Carnival"

A Culture of Less

Posted on Mar 8, 2010 in Birth Stories, Birthing, Featured, Parenting, Simple Living | 16 comments

A Culture of Less

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage green! This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month we’re writing about being green — both how green we were when we were young and how green our kids are today. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Today is my birthday. Thirty-two years ago my mom started having contractions while she was grocery shopping. She went about her day, took care of my older siblings, visited with my grandmother. After my dad got home from work, grandma left and around supper time, I was born at home. Grandma called to say she’d thought of a name if the baby was a boy and dad informed her, “Too late; It’s a girl!” Grandma came back, made everyone dinner and they had leftover birthday cake from mom’s birthday on the 7th. And so it is that I grew up thinking that homebirth was special, not dangerous. And so it is that twenty-seven years later, I had my first homebirth. In some ways, I think that this is as vintage green as it gets. The oldest thing in the book: having babies the way our bodies were designed to, without a lot of wasted resources and unnecessary technology. There are plenty of instances where the resources and technology are useful, life-saving but increasingly, birth, like our culture as a whole, is characterized by excess and waste, with damaging consequences. Homebirth is only one of the green values I picked up from my parents without even realising until I was older that it was green. My parents moved a lot while I was growing up, from the Yukon to the Canadian prairies to BC, but I think at heart they always think of themselves as Northerners. The term encompasses everyone up north and a Yukoner probably has more in common with an Alaskan than they would with anyone in the rest of Canada. A northerner is a crazy mélange of hippie and redneck: 4x4s and guns mixed with folk music and a back to the land mentality. My dad subscribed to Mother Earth News and the Canadian counterpart, Harrowsmith. They had good friends who lived year round in a Tipi. It was there in the North that they decided to have me at home. At the time, in the 70s and 80s, it was just how we lived. A kind of quiet environmentalism that was born of Depression era great-grandparents, exalted by our Mennonite heritage (world-renowned cheapskates) and idealized by the Northerners and hippies. They were a product of their location but also of their generation. Now, I wouldn’t really classify my parents as environmentalists at all. But when I think back to the green actions of my parents, what comes to mind is this: Before recycling, there was reduce and re-use. My parents reduced and re-used like nobody’s business. We wore hand-me-downs. We never had new furniture; it was always used or antique. We didn’t buy fancy toys. My dad fixed things when they broke: from electronics to the car to the plumbing. My mom had a garden and she canned. My mouth waters when I think of her pickled beets and carrots, her canned pears and peaches. She sewed dresses for my sister and me for special occasions. We were a single car family and we drove used cars. My parents only bought one new vehicle ever: a 1974 International Scout. They still have it. We shared bedrooms. We lived within our means, never on credit. Even when my dad went back to University with three kids in tow. They did not over-consume. They did not throw things away. They reduced. They re-used. Tonight I look around my house and see the same lifestyle. Fifteen year old minivan, used or antique furniture, a house smaller than we might like, a garden. A willingness to build things, grow things, borrow things, make things or do without things rather...

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Parenting Together

Posted on Feb 9, 2010 in Featured, Parenting | 16 comments

Parenting Together

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Love and partners! This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing about how a co-parent has or has not supported us in our dedication to natural parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. ****** I think for most of us, parenting is an expression of who we are. It is a natural outpouring of everything that makes us, from our experience being raised by our parents to our own adult values and life situations. Along the way we add in books we’ve read, conversations with friends, advice from strangers (sometimes unwanted and unasked for) and then it gets distilled through our practical experience learning with each of our children. We add pieces from here, pieces from there. I don’t think there are many of us who say “What is my parenting ideology?,” then go buy the book and follow it to the letter. (Are there?) The hope along the way is that our highly individual concept of parenting will at least co-exist if not be cohesive with that of our fellow co-parent. That’s not always the case and there are often considerable challenges in aligning parenting styles within a partnership (and even more so when co-parenting happens outside of a partnership). When I think of a question like “What does your co-parent do to support your dedication to natural parenting?” the first thing that comes to mind is sincere gratitude that my husband and I travel this path together. It isn’t so much a matter of Aaron being supportive of my dedication to parent a certain way but rather that he shares my dedication to parent in a way that reflects our shared values. We were married after seeing each other for only three months. For a lot of people that would be a recipe for disaster. When people hear about marriages like ours, a little red flag goes up and they sort of hold their breath waiting for the marriage to dissolve so they can say “Ugh, I saw that coming.” We’ve been married for seven years and we have two children. One of the main things we attribute our success to (besides believing that you have to work hard at marriage) is that despite our wild differences, we share similar values and upbringing. This isn’t to say that we just went about raising our children exactly the way we were raised. We certainly do things differently than our parents did, but we’ve been able to adopt a shared vision of parenting because we started out with some shared reference points. With this solid foundation, another important factor is that we try to make parenting an extension of the way we live. We have terms like natural parenting and attachment parenting as descriptors to explain to others what kind of philosophies we are drawn to, but we don’t follow a particular ideology in a prescriptive way. As such, our parenting style becomes a partnership that is an extension of our marriage, of our life together, of our joint choices, rather than a dogmatic battleground. We lived in a 40 foot converted school bus when our son was born. There was no room for a crib, no bedroom door to shut out the cries of a baby crying-it-out. At first there was no plumbing either. Before I got pregnant, we spent a year carrying in our water in 4L jugs to drink, to cook with and to boil for washing up. We spent five years using a port-a-potty that had to be emptied weekly. We were intimately aware of what we consumed and of how much garbage, compost, waste and gray water we created. Co-sleeping, cloth diapering, and breastfeeding were obvious choices that were aligned with all of the other day-to-day choices we made simply by choosing to live in 300 square feet. These were not individual parenting choices that had to be hammered...

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To my babies: this year…

Posted on Jan 12, 2010 in Featured, Parenting | 14 comments

To my babies: this year…

  Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutions! This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing about how we want to parent differently — or the same — in the New Year. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. ******   Dear Rain and Noa This year, 2010, your fifth year and your second year with us, I resolve to: Let you help more and backseat drive less while you do Go for more walks Do my best to find the right place for you, Rain, to go to Kindergarten and Relax and give the school a chance once we make a decision Breastfeed you, Noa, until next New Year’s or as long as you’d like Shout less Spend less time on the computer during your waking hours Hold you in my arms and in my heart every day Wait and think before I react when you do something that upsets me Be patient about sleep and Continue to share the family bed with you Listen to you Never wish you were older but stay present with you right now today Take care of myself so I can be the Mama you deserve, so I can become the person you see in me Laugh more, play more, read more Teach by example and Follow your lead May 2010 be another year filled with togetherness. I look forward to learning more about you both every day. Much love, Mama   ****** Visit 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: (All the links should be active by noon on Jan. 12. Go to Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama for the most recently updated list.) • To Yell or Not to Yell — The Adventures of Lactating Girl • It Is All About Empathy: Nurturing a Toddler’s Compassion Potential — Baby Dust Diaries • To my babies: this year… — BluebirdMama • Mindfully Loving My Children — Breastfeeding Moms Unite! • January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Resolutions — Code Name: Mama • Imperfect Mother — Consider Eden • Resolutions — Craphead (aka Mommy) • FC Mom’s Parenting Resolutions 2010 — FC Mom • What’s in a Resolution? — Happy Mothering • January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutions — Hobo Mama • Natural Parenting Resolutions — Little Green Blog • This year, I will mostly… — Look Left of the Pleiades • Parenting Resolutions — The Mahogany Way • I Resolve to Breastfeed In Public More Often — mama2mama tips • Moving to Two Kids — Megna the Destroyer • Use Love — Momopoly • My parenting resolutions — Musings of a Milk Maker • Talkin’ ’bout My Resolutions — Navelgazing • Parenting Resolutions — One Starry Night • Invitations, not resolutions — Raising My Boychick • No more multitasking during kid time — The Recovering Procrastinator • I need to slow down, smell those roses AND the poopy diapers — Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma • Resolutely Parenting in 2010 — This Is...

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