The Minimalist Parent

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials

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 the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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When I was pregnant with our first child, my mother-in-law asked my husband when we would be moving. At the time, we lived in a two bedroom apartment. Our second bedroom was being used as our office. We were a bit confused by the question. Why would we move? Exasperated, she pointed out that babies have a lot of stuff and we would need a place to put all of it. After all, babies are expensive for a reason.

 That may be true for many families. Indeed, there are certainly enough products for babies and parents on the market, with more everyday. However, not only did we not have room for most of those products in our apartment, we didn’t want to make room for them in our lives. They didn’t fit in our vision of how we wanted to raise our children.

Because we cosleep, we didn’t have a need for a crib or the multitude of accessories that went with one. There weren’t crib sheets, bumpers, mobiles or anything else. Our child joined us in our bed an hour after he was born, close to me and my breasts. Because he wasn’t sequestered in another room from us, we didn’t need baby monitors. I would wake as he first began to rouse to nurse. Breastfeeding meant that we didn’t need bottles, bottle warmers, bottle holders or brushes. Diapers were changed on the bed rather than a table named for them, and we tossed anything we needed for going out in a backpack (I have since designed and made our own more compact bag), rather than a bag with cute little ducks.

I wore our son in a good sling. I’ll admit that our first sling, a homemade Rebozo, wasn’t liked by either my son nor I. I didn’t give up on babywearing, though. We tried a ring sling and it was love at second try (after that first attempt which had me throwing it on the floor in frustration). We didn’t need swings or bouncers because he was in the sling. We didn’t need special tummy time mats to occupy him; being worn in a sling or other carrier counts as tummy time. Toys were minimal. He was engaged in what was going on around us – with life. We didn’t need a stroller; he was content to be worn.

Over the years, we’ve added some slings and carriers – some so that my husband was more comfortable wearing the kids, some so that I could wear two children at once, others for various reasons. I’ve been wearing at least one child (and often two) for the last eight years. Even with four children, we still haven’t needed all of those other things. Besides a good carseat, all we have needed is a good sling.

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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:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things’s relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can’t imagine parenting without her husband’s sense of humor – he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can’t imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs “me time” in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter doesn’t appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn’t imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It’s More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can’t imagine parenting without her breasts; here’s why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family’s needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama’s next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn’t even know you needed (and probably don’t…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn’t survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it’s afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren’t things at all.
  • I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can’t imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it’s not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn’t easy at first, Knocked Up – Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can’t live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What “stuff” does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I’m a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship…and made life easier to boot.
  • It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can’t imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin’ Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us…
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter’s perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles – come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.

Stuffed Giraffes at My Sweet Potatoes

Last month we became the proud owners of a stuffed giraffe from My Sweet Potatoes. I am extremely pleased with our little giraffe. The workmanship is tip-top. The owner uses 100% cotton fabric and polyester stuffing. The individual ribbons are heat sealed so that no chemicals are going in your little one’s mouth. Handmade Stuffed Sensory Giraffe with Colorful Ribbon Accents Brown with Pink and Purple Flowers Handmade Stuffed Giraffe with Ribbon Accents Teal and Brown Flowers

 The neck is the perfect size for babies to grasp. I have to say my absolute favorite part is the attention to colors and detail. These giraffes come in gorgeous color combinations. Ours has pinks, oranges, yellows, and creams. Normally I don’t care that much for pink, but the fabric is beautiful and the chosen ribbons accent it perfectly.

A relative gasped at the price, but honestly, it’s comparable to store bought products and is much higher quality. Where many others lack credibility, My Sweet Potatoes is completely CPSIA compliant. You can feel good giving a gorgeous toy to your child while supporting a small business.

Photo by My Sweet Potatoes

it’s 4 AM…

It’s 4 AM.

The Earth is slient – the world asleep.

You and I stare at each other in the dim light of the night light,

a twinkle beginning in your eyes and ending with a smile.

I kiss you softly and hold you close,

wishing to remember this moment.

It’s 6 AM.

The world will soon wake up.

While I love this quiet time with you, sweet baby,

Mama needs some sleep.