Sunday, February 26, 2012

Who You Callin' Natural? (A carnival of natural parenting contribution)

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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A few weeks ago, on the Natural Parents Network facebook page, there was a big kerfuffle about how you "CANNOT be a Natural Parent AND vaccinate". Which led those of us who think too much about these things to say "hey! We need to do a whole bunch of posts where we all confess the things that stray from the Natural Parent Ideal."

Apparently, a few people had an actual list of regulations pertaining to Natural Parentness, They included (but were not limited to): babywearing, co-sleeping, exclusive breastfeeding for at least a year, extended breastfeeding in addition to eating ONLY organic food until the child decides it's time to stop nursing without any coaching from you or your partner, not a single vaccine (obviously), not circumcising, no antibiotics, make all of your own cleaning products and clothing (with fabric you wove from fibers you either grew or sheared off the sheep you treat better than most people treat their children, obviously), no harmful chemicals, no exposure to sunlight, and certainly NO TV.

Well, Natural Parents, to that list I give a big ol' pffffbbbbbtttthhhhhhhh. Because SWEET MOTHER OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN no one living in the 21st century adheres completely to that list, not all of the time and not while remaining sane.

Now, I could spend my time filling this space with a huge defense of how I AM A NATURAL PARENT, dammit, and we could all get riled up and have a big debate but who has the energy? So instead, without (much) explanation or defense, without any hope for keeping my "crunchy hippie mom" crown, I give you a list of the ways I have failed* at being a Natural Parent.




* "failure", in this case, should be taken to mean: "If this is wrong I don't want to be right" and "the only right way to raise your kids is the way that works for your family."

So here we go:





#1: I cuss. A lot. (Sorry Mom, blame Dad.) This video is NSFW. Or people who don't like swear words. Do I cuss in front of my kid? Only if I slip and then I try to cap it at the initial sounds, you know like "shhhhhhh" when I stub my toe. Mostly I say things like "Sweet mother of abraham lincoln!" and "son of a nutcracker!" But in daily life, out of the range of preschool ears? I have no filter.


#2 (no picture) We vaccinated. Almost fully and fairly close to the WHO schedule. 


#3: Sometimes, you have to break out the big guns. (He needed to be in the picture, how can you say no to that face? Well, I know how, and I do - easily - but I pick my battles.)


#4: from top to bottom: Record player, Wii (and games, and PS3 games. And the Big Lebowski anniversary edition in a bowling ball.) Analog equalizer that we will have until it becomes unrepairable. Kids movies (some of them are Signing Time, some of them are *gasp!* Disney.) PS3, home to more games, netflix, and hulu+.  Also, coasters. Yes, I use old (washed, people) breast pads for coasters. They're the perfect size and absorbency.


#5: Mexican Coke. We all have our vices. This is mine.


There are more, but these are the ones that stick out. 

I'm going to leave you with some words of wisdom from someone who isn't me.



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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:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 26 with all the carnival links.)



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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:

19 comments:

  1. Psst - that's not an equalizer. :)

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    Replies
    1. so what is it, smarty pants?

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  2. I'm sorry, but the fact that you use old nursing pads for coasters completely negates the rest of what you are trying to say. ;)

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    Replies
    1. what if I tie-dye them?

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  3. Shelly09:02

    There is so much judgment around parenting. I've said this before, but I really wish people would remove their noses from other people's business and just do what makes sense for their families. And this judgment and disapproval between moms I think just breeds more unhappy, insecure parents. I'm glad to see you haven't gone off the deep end like some people (though, I admit, the breast pads as coasters gave me a pause :D ) Keep swearing, keep using WD40, and keep on reminding people that avocados are a f-ing fruit.

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  4. I love your list. We too have a pile of DVDs, mostly Pixar because my kiddo loves those. None of us are perfect but we do our best and sometimes my best means Toy Story and a snack while mama does some laundry! :)

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    Replies
    1. We're on a Finding Nemo kick here. I keep thinking maybe that means he'll be a marine biologist. At the very least, we should visit the aquarium more. See? They're inspirational! ;-)

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  5. I LOVE what you said about how no one living in this century could be a completely natural parent. That is so right on!

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  6. You are so right. When my daughter was born I had this vision of moving out to the country and living a self-sustained life. Then I woke up and remembered I love my laptop and chocolate and neither go with the image in my mind. We do the best we can, and while I think we SHOULD keep striving and reaching for better (we would in our professional lives, so why not in our personal?) we also do what works if we want to sustain it! Thanks for the post!

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    Replies
    1. even pregnant I can't give up chocolate. Some things are sacred. ;-)

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  7. Tell me more about this Mexican Coke!!

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    Replies
    1. In addition to coming in magnificent glass bottles, it's made with cane sugar instead of HFCS, which means that it tastes better. I buy mine by the flat at costco. It's something like 24 bottles for $18.00. I've also found that if you're in a latin/Mexican area of town, you can buy single bottles at gas stations. It's muy bueno :-)

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  8. loved the blog post! it really does suck we feel judged about "specific crunchy guidelines" we dont follow exactly

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    Replies
    1. thanks! Hopefully, the more we all show our kinks, the less we'll be judged. That would be awesome.

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  9. Whoa, that list that you reference is pretty specific and A LOT to live up to. Love this -- "the only right way to raise your kids is the way that works for your family." which was sort of the sentiment that drew me to the natural parenting practices that we practice in the first place.

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  10. Great post! And also, wowsa, that NP list is hella specific! I want to say that list is idealistic, but some of those aren't even my ideals. I truly believe the definition, if it brings more chaos and division than peace, needs to be changed. Being natural is more about HOW we reach our decisions, not WHAT our decisicions end up being.

    I really dug this post.

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  11. I embellished the list a bit. But not much. The part about weaving your own fabric and avoiding the sun. And I agree- I feel the definition (given by someone who was completely random and not an NPN contributor) is too specific and needs to be changed.

    Luckily, I am not alone!

    Glad you enjoyed the post :-)

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