Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model
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 waxed poetic about how their parenting has inspired others, or how others have inspired them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Rest: is it even possible?
The wise woman waters her garden first. The Tao of Women
Please fit your oxygen mask before helping others. Generic scary airline advice
Each breath you inhale is exactly the same as the first breath you took at the beginning of your life. Each exhalation is the same as the last action you will ever perform on earth. The moments in between are like life in miniature, simply existing between that first breath and the last. And thus as parents and people we tread the middle path, each moment infused with life, death, joy, pain or even activity and rest. Adapted from some Zen thought
Rest is not a topic with which most of us are familiar since we’re parents and activists and lots of other things in a day as well. I wrote this between dinner and dessert at the home of a friend in Brisbane. I bet most of you reading are dashing between activities while you read! We live in a world where everything is viewed as consumable and outside of ourselves. We pay for entertainment because we have to have it provided from the outside and preferably in a big glitzy package. We define rest as being without our children, or the concerns of others, as being separate from our everyday lives.
Most women live intense lives, divided in many directions. We give give give of ourselves to our children, our activism and to the simple act of survival with which we must grapple every day of our lives in this patriarchy.
Is it possible to find rest in that maelstrom?
Is rest something we can only achieve in a darkened room with room service laid on? I’m sure most of us have fantasies about household staff, wetnurses, winning lotto, or anything that would allow us a room of our own for a day, or even an hour from time to time.
Given the unlikely nature of this happening perhaps we need to find other ways to restore ourselves or keep ourselves from disappearing down the sink of the family’s life?
One useful way to manage some mental downtime while continuing with physical work is to turn it into a meditation. Some suggestions can be to repeat a mantra while working, perhaps fold washing and say “May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be loved” as you fold each piece, while picturing a family member in your head. Children can really get into this kind of process.
Some people do Walking Meditation where they repeat a phrase, mantra or word, or even listen to a meditation on headphones as they walk in a park. You can use this skill while walking to the bus stop with children, or while mowing the grass. Reading up on meditation styles can help us find more ways to use techniques like this.
In a recent surge of reading around Zen I found myself trying to practice as I walked with the kids. I concentrated since they were talking to each other then I realised they were talking to me. Yes yes, stop it, I thought, I’m trying to meditate! Then I walked on feeling irritated and hard done by that I couldn’t even get five minutes to meditate in peace! Then I realised what I was doing and burst out laughing. The practice was to be in the moment, right? To be aware of the surroundings, right? And there I was trying to create a false reality, a Silent place where I could Meditate. As if! Life is the meditation, paying attention to reality is the meditation. I mentally poked myself and got over trying to be Special then I reclaimed my good mood and moved along feeling wiser, smarter, dumber and way human.
As we continue to advocate for women in birth both politically and personally we can find ourselves running short on energy. What to do? Acknowledge those feelings, they are real. Honour the manner in which you have come to feel that burn out or exhaustion because it was in thinking of others and trying to do good that we have become tired.
What will sustain us through this slog? The first three things that popped into my head were love, community and integrity. Well love is an obvious one. Love for birth, love for each other, love for ourselves, our sisters, daughters and sons who are born from our bodies gently or pulled from us violently. Knowing that what we do is right. Community! Finding, cherishing and maintaining our community, our chosen families. Integrity brings rest because when we act within its parameters we lose no sleep over our actions now or in the future.
The work we do is inspired by each other, our capacity to survive and thrive and our birthing and parenting is perhaps a form of passive resistance to the oppression we face daily.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Woman Seeking Inspiration — Seeking Mother’s struggles and joys to find her own path in motherhood have inspired others — to her surprise! (@seekingmother )
- Paving the Way — Jessica at This is Worthwhile makes a conscious effort every day to be a role model. (@tisworthwhile )
- No Rules Without Reason — The Recovering Procrastinator wants to inspire her husband to discipline their children gently. (@jenwestpfahl)
- Creating a Culture of Positive Parenting Role Models — Michelle at The Parent Vortex shows parents at the playground how to do a front wrap cross carry and tells nurses about her successful home births, as a way of modeling natural parenting in public. (@TheParentVortex)
- Making A Difference for Mamas — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest took an embarrassing pumping incident at work and turned it into an opportunity for all the employees who breastfeed.
- Inspiring Snowflakes — Joni Rae at Tales of Kitchen Witch Momma is a role model for the most important people: her children. (@kitchenwitch)
- Paying it Forward — Amber at Strocel.com inspires new (and often scared) mamas with these simple words: “It will be OK.” (@AmberStrocel)
- A SAHD’s View on Parenting Role Models — Chris at Stay At Home Dad in Lansing doesn’t have many role models as a SAHD — but hopes to be one to his daughter. (@tessasdad)
- Am I a Role Model? A Review — Deb at Science@home brings attachment parenting out of the baby age and shows how it applies (with science fun!) to parenting through all of childhood. (@ScienceMum)
- Say Something Good — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick reminds women that it is within our right to be proud of ourselves without apology. (@RaisingBoychick)
- Try, Try Again — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis wants to inspire like the Little Engine that Could.
- I’m a Parenting Inspiration, Who Knew? — Sarah at OneStarryNight has received several beautiful comments about just what an inspiration she has been, if not in real life then definitely online. (@starrymom)
- That Little Thing — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing demonstrates the ripple effect, one status update at a time. (@BlkWmnDoBF)
- How Has Your Day Been? — mrs green @ littlegreenblog inspired her friend to be an active listener for her children. (@myzerowaste)
- No, Thank You! — If you are reading Maman A Droit’s post, you’ve probably inspired her. (@MamanADroit)
- My Top 3 Natural Parenting Principles — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now describes how her family’s natural and Montessori principles inspired others. (@DebChitwood)
- My Hope for a Better Life — Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children hopes her choices inspire her children toward a better life.
- Natural Parenting Felt Natural — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes didn’t plan on natural parenting — but her son led her there. (@sheryljesin)
- Rest. Is it even possible? — Janet at where birth and feminism intersect has found that even role models need rest — and that there are ways to fit it into everyday parenting life. (@feministbirther)
- May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model — Lauren at Hobo Mama was the fortunate recipient of a seed of inspiration, and has been privileged to plant some of those seeds herself, though she didn’t know it at the time. (@Hobo_Mama)
- crunchspiration — the grumbles at grumbles and grunts wants to inspire others to parent from their heart. (@thegrumbles)
- No Extra Inspiration Required — Zoey at Good Goog doesn’t think she inspires anyone and wasn’t inspired by anyone in return — except by her daughter. (@zoeyspeak)
- Upstream Parenting — Luschka at Diary of a First Child blogs for that one mother in one hundred who will find her words helpful. (@diaryfirstchild)
- Parenting Advice for the Girl from Outer Space — If Mommy Soup at Cream of Mommy Soup could give one piece of inspirational advice to new parents, it would be to parent with kindness. (@MommySoup)
- Natural Parenting Carnival — Role Model — Sarah at Consider Eden feels the pressure at trying — and failing — to live up to her role models. (@ConsiderEden)
- May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role Model — Dionna at Code Name: Mama encourages natural parenting mamas to take joy in the fact that they are touching lives and making a difference to children every day. (@CodeNameMama)
- Inspiration Goes Both Ways — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! is flustered that people consider her a breastfeeding role model — but the lovely comments she’s received prove it’s so. (@bfmom)
- My Seven — Danielle at born.in.japan has identified seven role models in her life who brought her to natural parenting. Who are your seven? (@borninjp)
- A Quiet Example — Alison at BluebirdMama was one of the first parents in her group of friends — and has come to see almost all those friends follow in her natural birthing footsteps, whether intentionally or not.
- Gentle Discipline Warrior — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries has inspired a gentle discipline movement — join her! (@babydust)
- Change The World… One Parent At A Time — Mamapoekie is more comfortable inspiring parents online than she is in real life. (@mamapoekie)
- Inspirational Parenting — pchanner at A Mom’s Fresh Start has intentionally tried to be a role model but was unprepared for how soon someone would take notice. (@pchanner)
- My Inspiration — Erin at A Beatnik’s Beat on Life has written thank-you letters to everyone who’s inspired her to become the lactivist and natural parenting advocate she is today. (@babybeatnik)
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