Going Granola

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists

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 Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I have a secret.  I am a poser.

I have been participating in these Natural Parenting Carnivals and I am not really a natural parent.  Not really.  I mean, I kind of am but it was never intentional.  I never set out to go all granola on the world.  I just wanted to be a good mother.
Here are ten reasons the whole “natural parent” think kind of snuck up on me.
I am a labor and delivery failure
The only thing natural about my labor and delivery was that my baby did actually enter the world via my vagina.  I was induced two out of three times and had an epidural three times.  Pain horrifies me.  If I could go back now and do it over, I would still have an epidural on tap.  Sorry ladies, I like my drugs.
Nothing but death could keep me from here…
dramatic? Maybe.  I really thought I would send my baby off to the nursery so I could get some rest and watch T.V.  Instead I took some serious stink eye from nurses who did not approve of me sharing my bed with my new darling.  I couldn’t help it.  I felt shockingly intoxicated by the smell of each of my newborn children.  The softness of their hair against my cheek, the wrinkled velvety skin and their hands curled up against my breast made the idea of a night apart impossible to comprehend.  Even now, when a five year old sugar lump child climbs up into the curve of my body, I cannot help but be thankful for his warmth.
Welcome to the world sweetheart
As soon as my little darlings came into the world, I nursed them.  I have to admit that I read that this was the right way to do it. Regardless of my labor and delivery tap outs, I am an overachiever. I could not, and cannot now, express in words how surprisingly natural and beautiful it was to snuggle my baby up to my breast the moment we met.  The bright lights, loud noises and cold of my unnatural birth plan were soothed with the warmth, quiet and calm of my body.
Ah, breastfeeding
Did you just get weirded out with images of breasts.  I know.  Gross right?  My breast..in my infants mouth…feeding him.  I don’t really understand what all the noise is about.  I think we tend to make too big of a deal about body parts across the board.  Breastfeeding is another manifestation of our overreaction to parts of the human body.  However, initially I tried to suffocate my baby with blankets covering every inch of us.  It was silly, hot and uncomfortable. In the end, I fed my babies wherever, whenever they were hungry and they were happy.  I still miss the quiet sighs of my nursing baby and the way his little hands grabbed onto the side of my breast….oh and don’t forget the sweet breath of my just fed baby…oh, heaven.
Let them eat cake
I was raised in the “sit there until you eat it all” household.  I expected to be that mother.  Although when faced with reality, I couldn’t understand the merit, value or wisdom of forcing a child to eat.  I know food costs money but so does my time.  Listen.  If you want to spend hours of your life standing over a toddler demanding he ingest your meatloaf surprise, knock yourself out.  I don’t even eat meatloaf surprise.  Why would I make him?  Kidding aside, sometimes I am not hungry or too distracted to eat.  Sometimes, I just plain don’t like what’s on the menu.  I expect my little people are susceptible to the same feelings.
Potty Training ….ugh
All I need to know about potty training I learned with my first child.  I learned because I broke just about all of these little nuggets of wisdom.  Your child will become potty trained when they are ready.  Pushing only frustrates you and traumatizes him or her.  Other children will learn before your kid making you feel inept. Don’t start the process the moment he looks over at the toilet and says “potty”.  You will end up potty trained before your child is.  I know it’s hard to believe but this too, will happen in its own time…kind of naturally.
Get OUT!
I am not really an outdoorsy kind of person.  Well, I never used to be.  I don’t hike, love to swim or run.  Children were literally born to experience the outdoors.  I have three boys that begin to lose their minds the moment they cannot spend at minimum 30 minutes outdoors.  I have spent days in the summer with my backdoor wide open, snacks on the porch and sippy cups at the ready.  Children need to be out in nature.  This one is really a sanity saver for you once you accept it and feed…well, your natural little beast. :)

Pesticides are from the devil
Like I said earlier, this whole natural parenting thing kind of caught me off guard.  I did not plan it.  I did not plan to learn about all of the pesticides we put in our bodies simply by not paying attention.  We are not perfect.  We do not shop solely in the organic section.  Every year we get a bit closer though.  We recognize as parents that or children’s health will benefit from the best food we can provide them.
Cry baby, cry…
I know that letting your infant cry it out in the natural parenting world is a huge no-no.  Have you ever had the feeling that your little one (of any age) just needed a good, sound cry?  While in your arms, in your lap or sitting next to you on the couch, did you ever just sit with them and let them cry it out?  I have.  I have just “been” with them.  I don’t always consider it a tantrum when my toddler is just so very disappointed things did not go the way he expected.  Don’t you ever need to have a cry?  I know I do and the best gift anyone can give me in my time of sorrow (big or small) is to just “be” with me and let me cry.
Your way or the highway
Before I had children I had all the answers and now, inconveniently, I don’t know jack.  This is more eloquently said by someone else in a quote.  That was my version.  The most wonderful thing I have gleaned from natural parenting is the inclination to trust the parents and their own knowledge of their child.  My leanings on my own intuition makes it difficult for me to judge other parents and their decisions regarding the upbringing of their own little darlings.  If I can trust my intuition, wouldn’t it be reasonable to believe that the intuition of other thoughtful and loving parents would determine a natural parenting course of their own to follow?
So there you have it.  My secret.  I am not really an entirely natural parent or an entirely…um, unnatural parent?  I am a mother who believes in the strength of her God given connection between her and her child. I trust my natural inclinations and love my babies like a lioness.  Seriously.  That’s pretty flippin’ natural.

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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:

15 thoughts on “Going Granola

  1. Thank goodness I'm not the only mix of natural and unnatural (or whatever we want to call it). Some things I'm moving to change, and other things — it's fine. I have to say, your “nothing but death” point just made me so sappily excited to meet my newborn…and I don't usually even like newborns so much. So thank you for that!

  2. So sweet. The worst parenting mistakes I've made happened when I was trying too hard to follow advice that I thought I “should” and didn't really believe in.

    You forgot to mention that you actually MAKE granola! That counts for something;)

  3. If we were all perfectly natural parents, we wouldn't be reading each other's posts for ideas and tips ;-) I think everyone is a mix of natural and unnatural to some extent, and we're all just trying our best! You sound like a wonderful mama!

  4. I was also kind of “thrown” into this world of “natural” parenting with my first baby was born…and I'm still learning SO MUCH every day. I love what you said at the end of your post

    “I am a mother who believes in the strength of her God given connection between her and her child. I trust my natural inclinations and love my babies like a lioness. Seriously.”

    This pretty much sums up how I feel too. Thanks for the great post!

  5. Great post! You are flippin' funny. I would also categorize myself as an unnatural parent. It's interesting what we thought/assumed about parenthood before we became parents. It must be destiny how we find our own parenting paths.

  6. Hey, there! LOVE your blog title. :)

    This sounds just great. Breastfeed because you love it, snuggle them babies, and let them eat cake because you would too? Sounds pretty natural to me.

  7. This made me laugh a few times! Not taking everything so seriously is also an important point. I also feel like I am a poser in the natural parenting world sometimes. But it's so important to remind everyone that being a natural parent is not about following a bunch of rules, it is about doing what feels right and works best for your family while respecting these little people that we all love so much. Thanks for this post.

  8. Great post! I like drugs too and it leaves me with mixed feelings about my birth story. I was planning to write a post sort of like this one soon and I think I'll have to do it now. I always feel like I'm in limbo between crunchy and conventional.

    I love smelling milky mouth too. :) And there is a HUGE difference between letting a baby/child cry in your arms or near you and letting them cry FOR YOU TO COME GET THEM from another room. I can't even read CIO posts without feeling so, so sad that I have to cuddle my own little one, but that isn't the same as never letting a baby cry.

  9. Thanks so much for this! Honest, real, and well written. I've always thought that using the word “natural” parenting implies that we are all a bunch of dirty hippies to the outside world, whereas a word like “mindful” parenting might be a better descriptor, identifying us as group of mama's who just like to THINK about our choices.

  10. I love your 'keepin' it real' approach to parenting. I have noticed that mothers who are attuned to their babies naturally fall into attachment-theory-type parenting choices. They are not trying specifically to be granola to stroke their egos, but genuinely feel intuitively that it is what their children need to thrive. I enjoyed reading this very much. You have another follower! :D

  11. You crack me up.

    I think the best mother (or person) you can be almost always involves taking an eclectic view…take from various ideas what works for you. We don't need labels to tell others how 'good' we are at mothering or parenting. Our children are the proof of that.

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