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Home » Green parenting

Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting

Submitted by on Tuesday, 12 April 2011 Loading Add to favourites  41 Comments

mother-and-daughter

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy

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 shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

I struggled with this month’s Carnival of Natural Parenting theme because I don’t view myself as an advocate for natural parenting. I do what I do because I know in my heart it is right for us as a family.

I’ve learned from my own mistakes and not listened to many people on my parenting journey, preferring to trust myself and my daughter. This does not mean that I am not inspired by others or sought guidance from trusted Wise Women, but generally I find seeking too much of another’s opinions only serves to confuse.

We’re all told to trust ourselves, but how many of us do? How many of us prefer to seek knowledge from books, magazines or ‘gurus’ rather than sitting in silence and connecting with the wise one within, (God, angels or the Universe?) We can all acquire knowledge, but wisdom is earned.

Definitions for advocate include:

To recommend
To push for something
A person who pleads for a cause
To preach, speak, plead or argue in favour of

I am none of these things when it comes to natural parenting. I adopt a ‘live and let live’ attitude towards other people’s choices. There is a Native American saying ‘don’t judge a man until you’ve talked two moons in his moccasins.’ which basically means we have no right to judge anyone unless we have lived their lives. Which none of us have, right? Even if we have endured similar circumstances we are still in no position to judge because we never fully know what someone is dealing with.

We co- slept because after nine months of being inside my womb I knew my daughter needed that closeness. We breastfed because mothers milk provides more, much more than food alone. We used ‘in arms’ because my daughter showed me this was where she was happiest. We didn’t vaccinate because my daughter was born in perfect health and injecting her with poison is not a way for us to maintain good health. We home schooled because my daughter needed to be with me longer than the state thought. We learn from the natural laws of consequence rather than punishment because this empowers my daughter to make her own choices in life.

Of course I’ve made mistakes. I once left her to cry with someone else. I once ran screaming from the room when I was ‘touched out’. I’ve taken her to McDonalds for lunch and I’ve yelled, argued and manipulated. But with each of these situations has come opportunities learn and evolve. Each time I’ve behaved inappropriately I’ve realised I’m out of synch with myself. My needs have not been met. I’ve been accumulating too much knowledge and not enough wisdom. I’ve got ‘stuff’ that needs dealing with. I’ve been untrue to myself…

Each of these situations shows me the way back to myself, so that I can be the best I can be once again.

But an advocate? Definitely not. I wouldn’t presume to be. Parenting is a difficult enough journey as it is without other people telling you what you should do.

***

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:

  • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
  • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
  • From the Heart — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
  • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
  • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
  • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don’t share your views.
  • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
  • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
  • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
  • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don’t parent the way you do.
  • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
  • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
  • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
  • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That’s The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she’s learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the “good news” of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
  • Compelling without repelling — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
  • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
  • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
  • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
  • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
  • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people’s children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter’s senior kindergarten room.
  • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the “great divide” through gently teaching and being teachable.
  • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
  • The Three R’s of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how “The Three R’s” can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
  • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
  • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
  • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.
  • Baby Sling Carriers Make Great Compassionate Advocacy Tools — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shared her babywearing knowledge — and her sling — with a new mom.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Who needs Superman when we have a community of compassionate advocates?! Dionna at Code Name: Mama believes that our community of gentle bloggers are the true superheroes.
  • Words of advice: compassionately advocating for my parenting choices — MrsH at Fleeting Moments waits to give advice until she’s been asked, resulting in fewer advocacy moments but very high responsiveness from parents all over the spectrum of parenting approaches.
  • Peaceful Parenting — Peaceful parenting shows at Living Peacefully with Children with an atypical comment from a stranger.
  • Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
  • Gentle is as Gentle Does — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how she is gently advocating her parenting style.
  • Walking on Air — Rachael at The Variegated Life wants you to know that she has no idea what she’s doing — and it’s a gift.
  • Parenting with my head, my heart, and my gut — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her thoughts on being a compassionate advocate of natural parenting as a blogger.
  • At Peace With the World — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry talks about being an advocate for peaceful parenting at 10,000 feet.
  • Putting a public face on “holistic” — Being public about her convictions is a must for Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, but it takes some delicacy.
  • Just Be; Just Do. — Amy at Anktangle believes strongly about her parenting methods, and also that the way to get people to take notice is to simply live her life and parent the best she knows how.
  • One Parent at a Time… — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that advocating for Natural Parenting is best accomplished by walking the walk.
  • Self-compassion — We’re great at caring for and supporting others —from our kiddos to other mamas — but Lisa at Gems of Delight shares a post about treating ourselves with that same sense of compassion.
  • Using Montessori Principles to Advocate Natural Parenting — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how she uses Montessori principles to be a compassionate advocate for natural parenting.
  • Advocacy? Me? — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers that by “just doing her thing,” she may be advocating for natural parenting.
  • Feeding by Example — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip shares her experience of being the first one of her generation to parent.
  • Compassionate Consumerism — Erica at ChildOrganics encourages her children to be compassionate consumers and discusses the benefits of buying local and fair trade products.
  • The Importance of Advocating Compassionately — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood acts as a compassionate advocate by sharing information with many in the hopes of reaching a few.
  • Some Thoughts on Gentle Discipline — Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares her thoughts and some tips on Gentle Discipline.
  • Compassionate Advocacy: Sharing Resources, Spreading the Love — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares how her passion for making natural choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting have supported others in Dominica and beyond.
  • A journey to compassion and connection — Jessica at Instead of Institutions shares her journey from know-it-all to authentic advocacy.
  • Advocacy Through Openness, Respect, and Understanding — Melissa at The New Mommy Files describes her view on belief, and how it has shaped the way she advocates for gentle parenting choices.
  • Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting!
  • Natural Love Creates Natural Happiness — A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a smile, or a giggle, or a gaze? Jessica at Cloth Diapering Mama’s kids are extremely social and their natural happiness is very obvious.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy — Even in the progressive SF Bay Area, Lily at Witch Mom finds she must defend some of her parenting choices.
  • A Tale of Four Milky Mamas — In this post The ArtsyMama shares how she has found ways to repay her childhood friend for the gift of milk.
  • don’t tell me what to do — Pecky at benny and bex demonstrates compassionate advocacy through leading by example.

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41 Comments »

  • Great post for CarNatPar! I am enjoying your take on the whole advocacy thing. I appreciate people who are passionate advocates and I appreciate those with the live-and-let-live attitude (and anyhwere along that spectrum) I lead a yogic lifestyle and much of it recommends the following approach: here’s the info, try it all out with an openness and take what works for you. I feel much the same way about parenting. I like both the knowledge and the wisdom that I can, like you, use what feels right for us.

  • Beautifully written, and so wise! I could hardly agree more. I, too, found myself practicing attachment parenting because it’s simply what felt right and what worked best for our family. I try to keep that in mind when I interact with other parents, trusting that they instinctually know how to parent their own child better than I ever could.

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • I am totally with you there. I almost didn’t contribute this month for just the reasons you described. We have taken some leaves from the natural parenting book, but only some, and left many behind as they didn’t feel right for us or our kids. I will stand up now and say I dno’t believe SP does have all the answers and I don’t think it all works. Especially not when trying to not alienate yourself and when dealing with multiple kiddies and keep your sanity. That’s my experience. I read LOTS of books, but very few parenting books, because I find they tend to pull me in one direction and then another, and I lose touch with my own kids and my intuition. Brave post, well said!

  • Sorry- typo should have been AP!!!! As in Attachment (or Natural) Parenting!

  • tartankiwi says:

    I can relate to your thoughts on so many levels. I tend to think in shades of grey so don’t like to be pigeon holed into categories as a parent. I relate to many aspects of attachment and natural parenting, but reject other aspects of it.
    With my first child, I hungrily sought advice and information and sieved through it all, cherry picking what worked for me. Second time round: different child, different parent! I am a lot more confident of my abilities and am more likely to turn my back on the mainstream views and follow my heart. It has also been graphically illustrated that just because something works for one child, does not mean that it is suitable for another. I think it is important to share experience with friends, but I try not to press my opinions or methods onto others.

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • I appreciate the perspective that you’re just living your life the way it works for you and your family — not as a message, not as a sermon, not to shame or persuade others — just because it’s right for you. You sound very confident and wise, and I’m sure that comes across to people around you — but, even if it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter!

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • Kelly says:

    I’m with @Zoie – I love how there is such a broad spectrum when it comes to advocacy (though there should probably be a few more at your end! ;)

    One thing I love about ‘natural’ parenting is that so much of it is instinctual, though for me, because my instinct often went against what I was taught, it could be something of a battle to know what I should do. In that, it was helpful for me to go see what others were doing and get that reassurance to have the confidence to come to my own decisions.

    But it’s often seeing those people who are living it, rather than telling it, that helps the most (though I think there is definitely value in both).

    Thanks for the awesome post mama! Looking forward to learning more from the rest of your blog. :)

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • A wonderful and wise post. I am right with you on this – for me, natural parenting was something I did because it felt right. To push what felt right to me onto others just doesn’t gel. If someone leans towards natural parenting, it is a blessing to be a resource for them.

    I love that you have taken the experiences that you feel were negative or mistakes and instead of berating yourself about them, you are using them as teaching tools for yourself. We never stop learning, do we?

    What a wonderful post for the Carnival. I was only an occasional reader of your blog before but now I feel that I’ve been missing out by not reading regularly.

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • Hi!

    I really enjoyed reading this post! I can really relate to the part about learning from your mistakes and realizing that you were not balanced at the time of making them. I’m finding that about myself big time…if I am not present or if I’m hungry or have too much going on at a single moment I will NOT display the kind of parenting I strive for and I always end up threatening to take away toys or put my son in for a time out (which I have actually never done!). Thanks for bringing us down to the earth and making us feel like HUMAN beings with needs of our own and love for our kids ;)

    p.s. thanks so much for the tweet!!!!!

  • Of all the posts so far, I think yours is the first that has reminded me of that old saying about walking in another person’s shoes. What a great reminder for those who are sharing their beliefs and information about anything – parenting, religion, etc. Thank you for sharing!

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • I love this. Especially looking at your mistakes as opportunities to learn and evolve, and realizing that we have to take care of ourselves to be the parent we want to be.

  • Rosemary says:

    I love your honesty and your convictions. I imagine you to be the kind of mother other moms want to be around; accepting, non-judgmental, real. And I appreciate you admitting your faults! I think so often with the desire to parent gently, we beat ourselves up every time we fall short… or at least I do. :)

  • I love your honesty. And you’re so right. We’re all practicing natural parenting because it works for our family – not because we set out to be advocates. Great post!

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • Megan L says:

    I think it’s so important to follow your gut. Thanks for sharing how you’ve done it.

  • Rachael says:

    What interests me while reading your post is seeing just how much empathy is actually involved in seeing that one cannot possibly know what life is like for another. There’s a lot of empathy to your non-advocacy, it seems.

  • Tat says:

    For the same reasons as you I struggled with this month’s topic, too, to the point that I never ended up writing that post. Good on you to posting yours.

  • Amy says:

    This is a very valid question…

    “We’re all told to trust ourselves, but how many of us do?”

    I pointed to it in an alternative take on this month’s carnival post. I would love your feedback. http://innatewholeness.com/i-offer-the-truth

    Thanks,
    Amy

  • Laura says:

    Amen and Amen! We chose this path because it works for us… not because I wanted to have another banner to fly. My baby is my banner!

  • Beautiful post! I love your emphasis on “connecting with the wise one within”. I truly believe we can be the most effective advocates by doing what’s best for our family and becoming the best role model we can be.

  • Great post. I share many of your parenting beliefs. My son still breast feeds and co-sleeps at almost 2 years old. I’ve parented differently in the past and have over the years discovered what works best for me and my children. x

  • Terri says:

    Thanks for the reminder to go within and trust our instincts. I need to do this a whole lot more these days. I have a couple of parenting books I love but realized recently that my children need me to be more than a parent – they need me to be a whole human being with all the diverse interests that I had before I was Mama. And with feeling more whole, grounded and at peace in myself I can be a better parent just naturally. Thanks for giving me reason to pause, believe in myself and continue walking in just my own two shoes.

  • Nazima says:

    Wow what a great post. I love the instinctual way you have parented and you have clearly done a wonderful job x

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]

  • this parenting post touches a subject close to my being; each mother lives through her own set of circumstances, living in american indian territory while my children finished to grow up, i observed much of the same practices you mention…live and let..
    as immigrants we were thought ‘different’ we are still ‘different’ as we are impervious to the marketing and societal forces which would have us softly stripped of commonsense—
    shools did force certain legal parameters, mandatory vaccination etc. but i retained a fair share of teaching by example, in nutrition and daily living; to balance the effects of expectations.. they were, still are healthy–sports was track and field, as they did that for fun only, not for competition or glory.
    they grew strong from my unorthodox distancing from traditional parenthood.
    the pictures of you and your daughter demonstrate the effectiveness of personal bonding, essential and satisfying.

  • [...] Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting! [...]