5.08.2012

Parental Support for an AP Mama

Welcome to the May 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: 
Parenting With or Without Extended Family

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 how relatives help or hinder their parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. 
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When I found out I was pregnant with Gwen, I gathered books to read on pregnancy, I researched baby items online, and I started thinking about what kind of mom I wanted to be. That last part was both the easiest and hardest of them all. I wanted to be the kind of mom that my mom was (and is!) to me, but those seemed like big shoes to fill. Could I ever be so patient? Would I be able to instill in Gwen the same desire to share with me, the way I wanted to share with my Mamacita? Could I pull off the same amazing balance of friendship, respect, and guide that my mom had cultivated?


In the two years since Gwen has been born, my level of respect for what my mom did has only grown. And it makes me feel even luckier when I get to see the two of them interact. My parenting choices aren't everyone's cup of tea, and some of them aren't the popular way of doing things. But I was lucky enough to have grown up with an amazing example of how breastfeeding, nature loving, gentle parenting can work. How many other people can say they have known they've wanted an unmedicated childbirth experience since the age of 7? Seeing how strong my mom was when she had my brother inspired me.

Having my mom and dad, as sounding boards and supporters during this journey is second only to Trav's support and encouragement. They are eager babysitters who I know will happily respect my gentle parenting wishes, and with practiced care. They are sources of inspiration and wisdom when Gwen enters a new stage. Best of all, they are always willing to stand back and let me figure out this motherhood thing the organic way... by living it, and learning by doing.


They say it takes a village to raise a child. My child is no exception, and I'm so grateful for my family's support.

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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:
  • Dealing With Unsupportive Grandparents — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, The Pistachio Project tells what to do when your child's grandparents are less than thrilled about your parenting choices.
  • Parenting With Extended Family — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy shares the pros and cons of parenting with extended family...
  • Parental Support for an AP Mama — Meegs at A New Day talks about the invaluable support of her parents in her journey to be an AP mama.
  • Priceless GrandparentsThat Mama Gretchen reflects on her relationship with her priceless Grammy while sharing ways to help children preserve memories of their own special grandparents.
  • Routines Are Meant To Be Broken — Olga at Around The Birthing Ball urges us to see Extended Family as a crucial and necessary link between what children are used to at home and the world at large.
  • It Helps To Have A Village – Even A Small One — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how she has flourished as a mother due to the support of her parents.
  • The Orange Week — Erika at Cinco de Mommy lets go of some rules when her family finally visits extended family in San Diego.
  • One Size Doesn't Fit All — Kellie at Our Mindful Life realizes that when it comes to family, some like it bigger and some like it smaller.
  • It Takes a Family — Alicia at What's Next can't imagine raising a child without the help of her family.
  • A new foray into family — As someone who never experienced close extended family, Lauren at Hobo Mama wrestles with how to raise her kids — and herself — to restart that type of community.
  • My Mama Rocks! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment is one lucky Mama to have the support and presence of her own awesome Mama.
  • Embracing Our Extended Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares 7 ideas for nurturing relationships with extended family members.
  • Doing Things Differently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares how parenting her children far away from extended family improved her confidence in her choices.
  • Snapshots of love — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the joys of sharing her young son's life with her own parents.
  • Parenting with Relies – A mixed bagUrsula Ciller shares some of her viewpoints on the pros and cons of parenting with relatives and extended family.
  • Tante and Uncles — How a great adult sibling relationship begets a great relationship with aunt and uncles from Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Tips for Traveling With Twins — Megan at the Boho Mama shares some tips for traveling with infant twins (or two or more babies!).
  • Parenting passed through the generations — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the incredible parenting resource that is her found family, and how she hopes to continue the trend.
  • My Family and My Kids — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders whether she distrusts her family or if she is simply a control freak.
  • Parenting with a Hero — Rachel at Lautaret Bohemiet reminisces about the relationship she shared with her younger brother, and how he now shares that closeness in a relationship with her son.
  • Text/ended Family — Kenna of A Million Tiny Things wishes her family was around for the Easter egg hunt... until she remembers what it's actually like having her family around.
  • Two Kinds of Families — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how her extended family is just as valuable to her mommying as her church family.
  • My 'high-needs' child and 'strangers' — With a 'high-needs' daughter, aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings has had to manage without the help of family or friends, adapting to her daughter's extreme shyness and allowing her to socialise on her own terms.
  • Our Summer Tribe — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a love of her family's summer reunion, her secret to getting the wisdom of the "village" even as she lives 1,000 miles away.
  • My Life Boat {Well, One of Them} — What good is a life boat if you don't get it? Grandparents are a life boat MomeeeZen loves!
  • Dear Children — In an open letter to her children, Laura at Pug in the Kitchen promises to support them as needed in her early days of parenting.
  • Yearning for Tribal Times — Ever had one of those days where everything seems to keep going wrong? Amy at Anktangle recounts one such day and how it inspired her to think about what life must've been like when we lived together in large family units.
  • I don't have a village — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wishes she had family nearby but appreciates their support and respect.
  • Trouble With MILs-- Ourselves? — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake Half Asleep explains how her arguments with her mother-in-law may have something to do with herself.
  • A Family Apart — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings writes about the challenges, and the benefits, of building a family apart from relatives.
  • First Do No Harm — Zoie at TouchstoneZ asks: How do you write about making different parenting choices than your own family experience without criticizing your parents?
  • Military Family SeparationAmy Willa shares her feelings about being separated from extended family during her military family journey.
  • Forging A Village In The Absence Of One — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about the importance of creating a support network, a village, when family isn't an option.
  • Respecting My Sister’s Parenting Decisions — Dionna at Code Name: Mama's sister is guest posting on the many roles she has as an aunt. The most important? She is the named guardian, and she takes that role seriously.
  • Multi-Generational Living: An Exercise in Love, Patience, and Co-Parenting — Boomerang Mama at The Other Baby Book shares her experience of moving back in with Mom and Dad for 7 months, and the unexpected connection that followed.
  • A Heartfelt Letter to Family: Yes, We're Weird, but Please Respect Us Anyway — Sheila of A Living Family sincerely expresses ways she would appreciate her extended family’s support for her and her children, despite their “weird” parenting choices.
  • The nuclear family is insane! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle is grateful for family support, wishes her Mum lived closer, and feels an intentional community would be the ideal way to raise her children.

12 comments:

  1. So beautiful. This post makes me cry - happy tears for you...sad tears for me.

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  2. So glad that you have the support you need! Thanks for your post.

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  3. Such a beautiful post! I love hearing from second-generation natural parents, because it gives such hope that our kids will carry it on, too. Your mother sounds wonderful.

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    1. That is definitely my hope Lauren! And its really third gen for me... since my mom says her mom was her biggest influence as a parent! :-)

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  4. It absolutely takes a village! I would be lost without the love and support of my parents and sisters.

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  5. So beautiful! I resonate with your aspiration to be the parent that your mother was - me too! Your post makes me wish more that I lived closer to my Mum. She is with us at the moment for a holiday and seeing her interact with my children and the love they share, despite the huge distance the majority of the time, is amazing.

    Wonderful that you saw a natural birth at 7 years young!

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  6. Thanks for the comments everyone!

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  7. You and your little one are so blessed that you are raising a second generation of children who are parented peacefully and respectfully. Can you imagine how this will be passed down?! So exciting!

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  8. I can imagine how you felt about 'big shoes to fill.' I often think about my mum like that. She is such a born good mum/grandma with a great balance of dicipline and love. I had to learn all the things that just seemed to come so naturally to her. That doesn't mean I think she's always right, but she certainly has a good touch with kids :) It is so nice to read in your post that your grandparents accept the organic way you parent!

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  9. This post was wonderful. It is really encouraging to read a post about really positive family dynamics. You are very lucky; your folks sound like true gems. My parents are very similar and having that support makes a world of difference. Beautiful family, beautiful post!

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~ Meegs