Hitting Out of Fear

 Today is National Spank Out Day, I’m sad to say. In a society where we speak out against the hitting of women, against the hitting of racial minorities, against the hitting of animals, against the hitting and bullying of anyone, there are still a large number of people who think hitting children is perfectly acceptable or even necessary. It boggles my mind.

The thing is, parenting can be scary. We go through pregnancy with the child secure inside its mother’s womb, and then suddenly this little person is on the outside, completely dependent upon….us. Children depend on us for food, shelter, warmth, guidance, and love. It’s a lot to take on. The fact is that while some people who hit their kids really don’t care, most of the parents hitting their children actually love them and do so because they are afraid.

They are afraid….

  • that by not hitting their kids, society will deem them unfit parents.
  • that their children won’t respect them.
  • that their children will be hurt even worse.
  • of losing control.
  • of the pressures of life.
  • of not knowing what to do.
It’s a scary world out there, full of unknowns, but when it comes to parenting, you don’t have to be afraid! Your children come into this world knowing only you. You are everything to them. They look up to you. They love you. They just want to spend time with you and learn with and from you.
Forget about what other people might think. The only people who matter are your kids. Besides, haven’t you heard that you shouldn’t jump off a bridge just because your friends did?
You won’t gain respect by hitting someone. In fact, you will lose it. Hitting a person, especially a smaller person, in order to control them is called bullying.
Hurting your child will not protect them in the future. Helping them navigate life and giving them tools and techniques to deal with life’s situations will.
There are a lot of things in life you can’t control, and that includes other people. Accept it. Deal with it if you need to, and then help your children to learn to control themselves.
Life can be rough, but that idea that your kids are born loving you? Still there. Come home to your kids and remember that no matter how bad life gets, they love you.
If you don’t know what to do, don’t resort to violence. Learn a new way. Learn how to help your children navigate that allowing your hurt to rule your actions.
In the end, no matter why some parents hit, they still make that choice. With every day and every situation, you have the opportunity to choose not  to hit. Your children love you. Live up to that love. Be deserving of the respect they want to show you. Be deserving of the love they freely give.

 photo credit: dhammza via photopin cc

Simply Living Blog Carnival April 2013 Call for Submissions: Going Green

Welcome to the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. We hope that you will join us on the third Tuesday of each month as we share posts about simple living in our lives. Submission deadline will be the second Tuesday of each month.

Going Green Just as simple living and voluntary simplicity have become catch phrases, so too has the phrase going green. How do green practices affect your decisions? Do you find that your simple lifestyle is in tune with environmental issues? Perhaps you have a practice or product which simplifies your life.

To submit an article to the blog carnival, please e-mail your submission to mandy{at}livingpeacefullywithchildren{dot}com anddelilahfineandfair{at}gmail{dot}com, and fill out the webform by April 9. Please write a new, unpublished piece for the carnival. We will e-mail you with instructions before the carnival date. We ask that you publish your post on April 16.

We want you to use creativity and to express yourself as you see fit. To that end, you are welcome to post at your discretion with a few guidelines in mind. Please be respectful in your posts. Avoid excessive profanity and poor grammar or spelling. As the co-hosts of the carnival are all advocates of peaceful living and gentle parenting, we ask that you not post about non-gentle practices or violence toward others. While we will not be editing your articles, we do reserve the right to not add your post to the carnival if it is not on topic, is poorly written, or goes against the guidelines which have been set forth.

Blog carnivals are a great way to generate blog traffic and build a supportive community. Your blog will receive links from many other blogs and you and your readers will have the opportunity to discover other blogs with similar goals in mind. Please join us as we embrace Simply Living through Simple Living! We hope you will consider joining us every month as we discuss ways we simplify our lives.

Supporting Self-Expression in Children

Welcome to the March 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Self-Expression and Conformity

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about authenticity through self-expression. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Peaceful Parenting Applied.

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When I was pregnant with our first child, my husband and I joked that if nail polish were ever to be involved, he would be in charge. He thought I was joking at the time, but painting nails was never something I wanted to do. My grandmother tried to no avail to interest me in the finer aspects of nail painting when I was little. I hated it with a passion and still do. In fact, until a couple of years ago, our home was a nail polish free zone.

We were walking in a store when my then 6 year old daughter asked if we could buy some nail polish some day. Part of me would have loved to give an excuse as to why we couldn’t buy nail polish, but really there was absolutely no reason I could give. Instead, I told her we would research what brands were better and see about getting some. A few searches later and I had found brands which were less toxic and yet still affordable.

Shortly after that, I made my first ever nail polish purchase in a variety of colors. My children, all four, sat around waiting for their turn to have their nails painted. This happened several times with quite a bit of excitement on their part, trying out different colors, having that one on one time, until for the most part it died down, with only occasional nail painting happening now.

We support our children in their self-expression, whether it is nail polish or something else. Childhood is a time to learn about who you are and what you believe. We have purchased and helped paint finger nails and toenails. We have picked up colored hairgel for washable hair expression. And while I do save hand me downs for my children, they always have the choice about whether they like the clothes and want to wear them or not. Our children have gone to restaurants dressed in costumes at times other than Halloween, much to my mother-in-law’s disbelief, and the dress up bin is for everyone to play with – no sexism here. For now we draw the line only at permanent changes. We will support our grown children’s right to piercings, tattoos, or even cuttings if that is their choice, but we believe it is our responsibility to keep that option for them until they are old enough to make those types of decisions.

Self-expression doesn’t end with bodies, though. We encourage our children to explore new things and see what it is they really like. It’s important to us that they have opportunities to do this, and we have made it work on a budget, mainly in part to my mad organizational skills to get businesses and venues to give us group rates (just don’t remind me of the aquarium trip with 150 people. It’s something I would prefer to forget). As an unschooler and parent, it’s my job to facilitate, not dictate, my children’s learning experiences. Since life is learning, this includes allowing them the opportunity to explore and express themselves.

I think it’s working well. When my then 9 year old son was questioned at gymnastics for wearing hot pink nail polish, he merely turned to the kid in question and asked, “Why shouldn’t I wear pink nail polish? I’m secure enough in myself to wear it. Colors aren’t sexist.” Apparently the other child had never heard such things.

For me, it’s not about allowing my children to express themselves but rather not preventing them from being authentic. It’s about my children being themselves.

photo credit: Melchorseg via photopin cc

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APBC - Authentic ParentingVisit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month’s Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

 

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 29 with all the carnival links.)

Embracing Individuality

Welcome to the March 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Tough Conversations

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 spoken up about how they discuss complex topics with their children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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hand in hand -  old@new, past@future!

Photo by Christian

It was one of those moments. I was running what was supposed to be a quick errand to the hardware store in the middle of a home improvement project. I was holding the hand of my oldest child, who was four at the time, had my second child in the sling, and carried supplies in my other hand. We had raced through the store in record time and were waiting in line at the check-out. It was at that moment that my almost four year old voiced a question in a normal speaking volume, which at that moment seemed to me to have been blared through the speakers for everyone to hear and stare at me.

“Mommy? Why is that man so short?” He had spotted the cashier at the check-out, a man who may or may not have been as tall as his own almost four year old stature. I felt the internal cringe. Surely everyone was staring at me with my son blurting out such an insensitive, and completely innocent, question. My immediate thought was to say “Shh! We’ll talk about it later.” Years of ingrained societal values of not calling out differences screamed to me that speaking about someone’s difference would be viewed as incredibly rude.

That was when I gave a quick glance at the cashier and realized that even if he wasn’t looking our way, he would hear what I told my son. Saying I would tell him later in an attempt not to embarrass someone didn’t seem like such a great idea. By not addressing the question directly, it seemed like there would be some shame brought to this man’s height or that I might be saying something unkind.

Instead, in that split second after my son asked, I decided to be honest in a normal speaking volume. I explained that people came in all sizes and reminded him how his father was once height but his uncles were another, how his grandmother was another height and so on. I went on to explain that it is our differences which make us unique and that together, our differences make a wonderfully diverse world.  My son was content with his answer, and my heart beat a little faster as we made our way to the check out for our turn. I wondered if I had chosen the wrong approach in order to not offend this unknown man.

And then he smiled at me as he rang up our purchase, and I knew I had made the right decision.

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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:

(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • A Difficult Conversation— Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
  • Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
  • Tough Conversations— Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
  • Real Talk — Jennifer atHybrid Rasta Mamaexplains why there are no conversation topics that are off limits with her daughter, and how she ensures that tough conversations are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner.
  • From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetween — Mrs Greentalks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
  • When Together Doesn’t Work — Ashley atDomestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
  • Talking To Children About Death — Luschka atDiary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she’s explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she’s learned along the way.
  • Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids— Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
  • Preschool Peer Pressure — Lactating Girlstruggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren’t so friendly.
  • Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalisunpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she’s had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
  • When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler atUrsula Ciller’s Blog.
  • How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter’s horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
  • Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne ofPositive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
  • Parenting Challenges–when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica atChildOrganics shares her story.
  • Openness —sustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
  • Embracing Individuality— At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
  • Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire ofCrunchy-Chewy Mamaalso values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
  • Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free— When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
  • How Does Your Family Explain Differences and Approach Diversity? — How do you and your family approach diversity? Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her thoughts at Natural Parents Network and would like to hear from readers.
  • Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
  • Tough Conversations— Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
  • Sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who’d want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
  • Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn’t have a simple answer.
  • When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noisetalks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.

 

Freedom through Honesty

Welcome to the February 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Honesty

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about authenticity through honesty. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Self-Expression and Conformity.

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Fragile hearts

Photo by Bhumika Bhatia

As parents, we often talk about honesty with our children. We want our children to be honest, upstanding individuals. We want our children to be truthful with us. We want our children to know that whatever happens, they can come to us. There is a lot of talk about children being honest, but when it comes to parents, that seems to go by the wayside. In our society, it is considered acceptable to lie to our children.

There are many reasons people lie to their children. They lie to perpetuate fanciful myths. They lie rather than own their actions. They lie because it seems easier when they are tired or stressed or for a myriad of other reasons. They lie because they are trying to be someone they aren’t. Lies come with a price, though. They eat away at the trust our children have in us. They prevent us from embracing ourselves and being the person we really are.  Lies build a wall.

When we make the decision to be honest in our relationships, we give ourselves the freedom to trust and be trusted. We give ourselves the freedom to not be limited by falsehoods and to explore our own personal growth. Through our honesty, we are free to love and be loved, to grow as we help our children to grow. Through honesty, we are free to be the people we need to be.

 

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APBC - Authentic ParentingVisit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month’s Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

 

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 22 with all the carnival links.)

Living in Fear

No Going Back

Photo by Mariano Kamp

I was up most of the night of December 2. I had been mixing applesauce cinnamon dough for a co-op class the next morning and had a severe allergic reaction. Around five o’clock in the morning of December 3, I kissed my husband goodbye as he headed to the airport for a week long business trip. I then headed to bed in the hopes of getting in a little sleep before the kids woke up and we had to get on with our day.

The class went well. All of the kids had fun rolling out their dough and cutting out ornaments to take home and dry. I carefully wore gloves anytime I had to touch it. We chatted with friends, and after they all left, we had a nice little lunch and read some books. We needed to run a few errands, so we headed out about 1:30 PM. It was a lovely day out and we decided to head the park and try to get some great photos to put on cards to mail to friends and family.

We pulled into our driveway just before 3 PM, ready to grab clean shirts for the kids and my camera for some photography fun. I saw that the lights on the outside of the garage were on and made a mental note to remind the kids to double check that they were only flipping on the inside garage light and not the outside light. The switches are next to one another and sometimes the outside lights are accidentally turned on. I hit the button for the garage door to go up, parked in the driveway, and proceeded to help my younger children unbuckle, grab our purchases out of the back of the van, check the mail, and head in through the garage, which we used as a mudroom due to the limited space. I noticed that the garage smelled like cinnamon, as our house had earlier, and thought it odd that the smell had permeated so strongly into the garage. Later, my oldest child told me the door was wide open when he went in. He thought I had gone up to unlock it before getting the mail.

We went inside, dropping the diaper bag and purchases by the door as we rushed to get to the park before we lost the fantastic light we were being afforded. I began going through my two year old’s shirts while my other children started checking what they had clean. My eight year old came to me with three shirts, and I informed her that there was a basket of clean clothes in front of the dryer. She headed down to check and immediately came running back up the stairs saying, “Mom! Someone broke in!” My immediate thought was denial, so I ran down the stairs. I was halfway down when I saw the baby gate around the television had been moved. Turning, I saw our back door was wide open with the trim boards broken and laying on the floor.

I raced back up, scooping up my youngest child and telling the kids we had to get out. Luckily the diaper bag still sat by the kitchen door, and I grabbed it as we raced back out to the driveway. I pulled the phone out as I gathered my children close and called 911.  I tried reaching my husband, but he was in a meeting halfway across the country. I called a friend who made some calls so that we would have help securing the door that evening. I cried. I didn’t know if the perpetrators were still there. I thought about my children, my babies, being in the house where there might have been strangers who could have harmed them. I shook.  cried some more, and I hugged my crying children close.

We were lucky. We weren’t home at the time, and no one was hurt. The people who broke into our home were professionals. They didn’t trash the house, they just took most of our electronics. We think the garage door scared them off, as our desktop computer was moved and partially unplugged. They didn’t get our external hard drive, which housed all of our photos. Everything they took was something that could be replaced.

However, it was scary. My husband couldn’t get a flight home that night. When bedtime, albeit much later than my kids had been going to bed, rolled around, the questions came about what the perpetrators would have done if we were home. I didn’t want to lie and say that that would not happen, so I explained that most burglars do not want to be caught so they won’t break in if someone is home. As I was explaining this, I was also preparing for battle. I left all of the outside lights on. Most of the inside lights were on. I brought spray bottles of homemade cleaning supplies into the master bathroom, set the phone by the bed, brought in my son’s bow and unlocked the case ready for me to grab, and barricaded the bedroom door. I then proceeded to stay up all night while my children slept around me, listening to every tiny sound in case just in case the people came back. My husband grabbed the earliest flight home the next morning and we all hugged each other.

Since then, we have worked to make our home feel safe again. We have made changes to our home to make it more difficult for someone to break in. Most importantly, we have done everything we can to show our children that we will do whatever it takes in order to protect. Our children should feel safe and it is our job to make that happen. Home should be safe.

However, many, many children do not feel safe in their own homes. Many are the victims of abuse, while others are afraid for reasons that do not legally qualify as abuse. I can tell you that living in fear is not healthy and it does not lead to optimal growth, something which most parents want for their children. It is stressful on our bodies and minds, and limits us in learning and resolving conflicts. Ruling through fear by way of hitting, yelling, or other punishments does not provide that environment. It’s our job as parents to provide the safe environment for our children to learn and grow.

Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival January Call for Submissions: Authenticity

APBC - Authentic Parenting After a month off for the holidays, the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival is back with renewed energy!

We hope you enjoyed last year’s carnival topics. We have some new and exciting topics for 2013.

APBC goes live on the Last Friday of every month and submissions are due on the previous Friday. For January 2013, the deadline to submit a piece is January 18 with all posts going live January 25.

If you’ve followed the carnival closely, you’ll notice that Living Peacefully with Children has recently teemed up with Authentic Parenting for the blog carnival. We hope to make the carnival a hit this year!

This month’s topic is “Authenticity”. Even though the name of the carnival is Authentic Parenting, we’ve never explored what authenticity means to our writers. For this carnival, let’s try to define authenticity and find out how it finds a place in our home, our parenting and our way to interact with the world.

Feel inspired? 

Email your submission to mamapoekie{at}yahoo{dot}com and mandy{at}livingpeacefullywithchildren{dot}com no later than 11PM GMT on the day of the deadline and be certain to fill out the form. We will get back to you with a piece of code to add to the top and bottom of your post prior to the posting date.

 

Why participate?
Carnivals are a fun way to generate traffic to your blog and create community. You’ll be linked to from many sites and get to discover blogs you didn’t know before. For each edition of the carnival, we will create new commenting groups, so you’ll be able to visit and receive visits from lots of different people. Carnivals also give you a chance to think about a predetermined topic, which can smooth off an occasional writer’s block.

Get a sneak preview from the other topics by checking out the Carnival page. We hope you will consider adding the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival to your monthly blogging schedule.

Attachment Parents Get Real: Melissa from the Happy Mommy Blog

Welcome to Attachment Parents Get Real! Today I am featuring Melissa of the Happy Mommy Blog. Attachment Parents Get Real is a series featuring real life attachment parents and caregivers  in an effort to help normalize attachment parenting, dispel myths, and help others identify with attachment parenting and gentle discipline. We would love to have you join us. If you are interested in being featured on Living Peacefully with Children as part of the Attachment Parents Get Real series, please read more about the initiative and fill out the form. 

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Melissa didn’t set out to be an attachment parent. In fact, until about 1 1/2 years ago, she didn’t even know that attachment parenting existed. When she began her parenting journey, she did so without the tenets of attachment parenting in mind. However, she did have  her own ideals. Melissa knew that she didn’t want to ever leave her children alone to cry it out or to hit them in any fashion.

The tools and techniques Melissa and her family uses have changed as they have grown on their journeys. They have moved from a more authoritarian style of parenting, which included  time outs or use parentally imposed consequences, to a more authoritative, gentle discipline style. As their children have grown, Melissa and her husband realized that if they were always imposing consequences, their children would not have experience dealing with situations on their own. Decisions would always be based on fear of consequences rather than genuine decisions based on what the child believed was the correct thing to do. They realized that childhood was an opportunity – one of learning with loving parents.

Attachment parenting became even more important to Melissa when her second child, and then her third, were diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, sometimes referred to as Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Their family has found help with therapists and a special sensory diet, but it has been their parenting decisions that have made the most difference. All of the family benefits from their attachment parenting choices. Melissa, herself, feels calmer now than when she utilized punishments and rewards. She has given herself permission to take a moment to gather her thoughts and feelings when faced with parenting challenges. Doing so allows her to act in the manner which will be of the most help rather than reacting to the situation. Her children have learned that whatever is happening, their mother will be there for them to help them. She is their ally rather than their adversary.

Family life has changes in other ways, based on the needs of the family. Melissa became a SAHM a couple of years ago in order to start homeschooling their children and help her children with special needs. Prior to that time, she worked outside the home after receiving her master’s degree. They have practiced safe bed sharing for as long as each child desired, which also helped when her son was having issues breathing at night. Extended nursing has helped all of her children to calm down after active days spent playing and learning or with the hyperactivity sometimes associated with Sensory Processing Disorder. Through it all, Melissa and her husband stay connected with their children through both family and individual time together.

Melissa is the author of the Happy Mommy Blog, where she shares her trials and tribulations in her journey toward peaceful parenting. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page. She is a human rights activists and is taking life one day at a time, working together with her family. She considers herself a “work in progress.” She isn’t perfect, but her children are proof that attachment parenting works. Melissa encourages parents to find others who are supportive and tries to support other parents in any way she can. Attachment parenting, just like any type of parenting, isn’t always easy, but the effort, just like our children, is worth it.

 

Looking for more information on SPD? Check out some of these posts and resources:

Undistorted

Welcome to the October 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Instilling a Healthy Self-Image

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 confessions, wisdom, and goals for helping children love who they are. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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what are you looking atI look in the mirror, with all its fun house grotesqueness. The image I see is distorted, pulled and changed until it no longer resembles that which it reflects. Damaged until the distortion can never resolve.

Too fat. Too skinny. Too dark. Too light. Too smart. Too stupid. Too freckled. Too anything except what someone else wanted me to be. Too damaged to be who I wanted to be. Who I was before the inevitable they got their hands on me. Who I was before I knew their language, before I knew to say I was not good enough, back when I trusted that the ones I loved would support me and help me, back when I was first born.

Instead, I tried to mold myself as I grew. Not to mold myself to what they said I should be but to mold myself to the person I knew deep down I was. Until I reached the point that the distorted image was too damaged, pulled too far away to ever go back to the way it was. So I continued on, knowing who I was but never seeing myself as others did outside of that horrible fun house mirror, blinded by the view that I had so long believed.

Then my body changed. It grew. Its new found roundness offered me a second chance, bringing forth life that was free from the distorted view. They did not see me as distorted or grotesque. They sought only the beauty, the love, the support that I could give them.

As I stood in front of my distorted mirror, the little lives I knew began to come see. I looked down to  their reflections, beautiful in their innocence. Glowing in their radiance.

And so I didn’t voice the thoughts that ran through my mind. That I was too anything but what I should be. Those little eyes looked so much like mine. My real eyes and not the distorted ones in the mirror. Those hands that reached up to hold my older version of theirs. Their trust unwavering, undistorted by harsh words of what they should be.

And so I heal through them. I look at their unwavering beauty and goodness, inside and out. I want them to never know what I see when I look in the mirror. I want them to laugh and love, secure in the people they are, undistorted.

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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:

(This list will be updated by afternoon October 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • Why I Walk Around Naked — Meegs at A New Day talks about how she embraces her own body so that her daughter might embrace hers.
  • What I Am Is Not Who I Am — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses her views on the importance of modeling WHO she is for her daughter and not WHAT she sees in the mirror.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Verbs vs. Adjectives — Alisha at Cinnamon & Sassafras tries hard to compliment what her son does, not who he is.
  • The Naked Family — Sam at Love Parenting talks about how nudity and bodily functions are approached in her home.
  • How She’ll See Herself — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis discusses some of the challenges of raising a daughter in our culture and how she’s hoping to overcome them.
  • Self Esteem and all it’s pretty analogies — Musings from Laura at Pug in the Kitchen on what she learned about self-esteem in her own life and how it applies to her parenting.
  • Beautiful — Tree at Mom Grooves writes about giving her daughter the wisdom to appreciate her body and how trying to be a role model taught Tree how to appreciate her own.
  • Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Nurturing A Healthy Body Image — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs is changing perceptions about her body so that she may model living life with a positive, healthy body image for her three young daughters.
  • Some{BODY} to LoveKate Wicker has faced her own inner demons when it comes to a poor body image and even a clinical eating disorder, and now she wants to help her daughters to be strong in a world that constantly puts girls at risk for losing their true selves. This is Kate’s love letter to her daughters reminding them to not only accept their bodies but to accept themselves as well in every changing season of life.
  • They Make Creams For That, You Know — Destany at They Are All of Me writes about celebrating her natural beauty traits, especially the ones she passed onto her children.
  • New Shoes for Mama — Kellie of Our Mindful Life, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, is getting some new shoes, even though she is all grown up…
  • Raising boys with bodily integrity — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants her boys to understand their own bodily autonomy — so they’ll respect their own and others’.
  • Sowing seeds of self-love in our children — After struggling to love herself despite growing up in a loving family, Shonnie at Heart-Led Parenting has suggestions for parents who truly want to nurture their children’s self-esteem.
  • Subtle Ways to Build a Healthy Self-Image — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM discusses the little things she and her husband do every day to help their daughter cultivate a healthy self-image.
  • On Barbie and Baby Bikinis: The Sexualization of Young Girls — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger finds it difficult to keep out the influx of messages aimed at her young daughters that being sexy is important.
  • Undistorted — Focusing on the beauty and goodness that her children hold, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children watches them grow, loved and undistorted.
  • Off The Hook — Arpita at Up, Down and Natural sheds light on the journey of infertility, and how the inability to get pregnant and stay pregnant takes a toll on self image…only if you let it. And that sometimes, it feels fantastic to just let yourself off the hook.
  • Going Beyond Being An Example — Becky at Old New Legacy discusses three suggestions on instilling healthy body image: positivity, family dinners, and productivity.
  • Raising a Confident Kid — aNonymous at Radical Ramblings describes the ways she’s trying to raise a confident daughter and to instil a healthy attitude to appearance and self-image.
  • Instilling a Healthy Self Image — Laura at This Mama’s Madness hopes to promote a healthy self-image in her kids by treating herself and others with respect, honesty, and grace.
  • Stories of our Uniqueness — Casey at Sesame Seed Designs looks for a connection to the past and celebrates the stories our bodies can tell about the present.
  • Helping My Boy Build a Healthy Body Image — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school offers readers a collection of tips and activities that she uses in her journey to helping her 3-year-old son shape a healthy body image.
  • Eat with Joy and Thankfulness: A Letter to my Daughters about Food — Megan at The Boho Mama writes a letter to her daughters about body image and healthy attitudes towards food.
  • Helping Our Children Have Healthy Body Images — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares information about body image, and her now-adult daughter tells how she kept a healthy body image through years of ballet and competitive figure skating.
  • Namaste — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares how at barely 6 years old, her daughter has begun to say, “I’m not beautiful.” And while it’s hard to listen to, she also sees it as a sign her daughter is building her self-image in a grassroots kind of way.
  • 3 Activities to Help Instill a Healthy Self-Image in Your Child — Explore the changing ideals of beauty, create positive affirmations, and design a self-image awareness collage. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares these 3 ideas + a pretty affirmation graphic you can print and slip in your child’s lunchbox.
  • Beautiful, Inside and Out — It took a case of adult-onset acne for Kat of MomeeeZen to find out her parenting efforts have resulted in a daughter that is truly beautiful, inside and out.
  • Mirroring Positive Self Image for Toddlers — Shannon at GrowingSlower reflects on encouraging positive self image in even the youngest members of the family.
  • How I hope to instill a healthy body image in my two girls — Raising daughters with healthy body image in today’s society is no small task, but Xela at The Happy Hippie Homemaker shares how choosing our words carefully and being an example can help our children learn to love their bodies.
  • Self Image has to Come from WithinMomma Jorje shares all of the little things she does to encourage healthy attitudes in her children, but realizes she can’t give them their self images.
  • Protecting the Gift — JW from True Confessions of a Real Mommy wants you to stop thinking you need to boost your child up: they think they are wonderful all on their own.
  • Learning to Love Myself, for my Daughter — Michelle at Ramblings of Mitzy addresses her own poor self-image.
  • Nurturing An Innate Sense of Self — Marisa at Deliberate Parenting shares her efforts to preserve the confidence and healthy sense of self they were born with.
  • Don’t You Love Me, Mommy?: Instilling Self-Esteem in Young Children After New Siblings Arrive — Jade at Seeing Through Jade Glass But Dimly hopes that her daughter will learn to value herself as an individual rather than just Momma’s baby
  • Exercising is FUN — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work talks about modeling for her children that exercising is FUN and good for body and soul.
  • Poor Little Chicken — Kenna at A Million Tiny Things gets her feathers ruffled over her daughter’s clothing anxiety.
  • Loving the skin she’s in — Mama Pie at Downside Up and Outside In struggles with her little berry’s choice not to celebrate herself and her heritage.
  • Perfect the Way I Am — Erika at Cinco de Mommy struggles — along with her seven-year-old daughter — at telling herself she’s perfect just the way she is.

I Don’t Want a Midwife

my body is sacred
I would never want a midwife assisted birth. That comes as a shock to many people. We are crunchy, pro-breastfeeding, pro-intact, cosleeping, unschooling, consensual living, attachment parenting types. People who don’t know us well assume that we would fall right into the midwife at home camp.

We don’t. The research fanatics that we are, we researched birth, and everything related, extensively before making that decision to have children. We dug through medical journals. We learned. We began to change our way of thinking to fit the facts rather than society’s distorted view. In the end, we made the decision to go unassisted. We have four beautiful, intelligent, pretty awesome (if I do say so myself) children. They were all born at home, unassisted.

That doesn’t mean I’m anti-midwife. I’m just not pro-midwife. The thing is, I support a woman’s decision to birth any way she wants. It’s her body. It’s her baby. It doesn’t have anything to do with me. It’s not my choice. The only thing I hope for is that women have access to factual information in order to make the best informed choice for themselves.

So it bothers me when I see people make blanket statements about how they wish every baby was born with a midwife present. To me, it’s very similar to making blanket statements that every baby should be born in a hospital or any of the other limiting blankets statements that states what women should or should not be doing with their bodies.

I would never want a midwife. However, I would never want to limit another woman’s choice or the opportunity for her to have a midwife if that is what she chooses. Supporting women and their informed choices is pro-woman and pro-human. Wishing that every woman made the same birth choices as you? That’s just limiting. So while I tend to avoid conversations on birth, as I really can’t stand to hear about how someone’s doctor or midwife let them do something or some of the misinformation purported by individuals and health care professionals alike, I support a woman’s right to birth however she wants. Limit the misinformation and scare tactics out there. Let’s not limit the choices.