NPN Blog Blitz: A Day in the Life

It’s that time again! You might remember the great post in December 2011 that highlighted the Natural Parents Network Volunteer’s most popular or favorite posts from the year. Or what about March 2012 post which featured Do It Yourself projects, How To’s, Tutorials, Recipes, and anything related to a step by step guide or informational how-to from the NPN Volunteers? Well, we are back and this time we are bringing you a collection of posts that focus on what our lives really look like!

Yep – we are giving you a sneak peak into things like a typical day in our life, special or fun outings, or photos which show all of you what motherhood looks like for us. Basically, we are keeping it real!

There are a lot of really wonderful posts here that show that even though we blog about our parenting ideals, we really are just regular moms, getting by one day at a time! So enjoy our typical day in the trenches!

Laura at WaldenMommy: Life Behind the Red Front Door shares “Just Another Monday.” This post appeared in March of 2012 and is a typical busy day with the Herd. You can also find Laura on Facebook.

Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares a typical day in her life, complete with a blood test, a stop at the thrift store, and lots and lots of books. You can also find The Hippie Housewife on Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.

Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares A Day In The Life: Two Years Old, a photo journal commemorating her daughter’s second birthday by attempting to capture a sense of the daily routine at this busy stage. You can also find Vibrant Wanderings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Networked Blogs.

Laura at Pug in the Kitchen shares A Busy Day in the Life of her family. This post is a whirlwind look at life two children under the age of 3. You can also find Laura on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Momma Jorje: a slightly crunchy mommaMomma Jorje shares Typical Visit to the Pediatric Cardiologist + Results. Read her post to see what it is like to take her infant son for regular visits to a cardiologist. You can also find Momma Jorje on Facebook.

A Little Bit of All of It shares Our Last Days as a Family of Three as she, her husband and 3 year old daughter wait for baby #2. She also wrote A Day in the Life of This Mom when her daughter was 2 and she watched a 5 month old. You can also find A Little Bit of All of It on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Networked Blogs.

Hybrid Rasta Mama: A reggae loving mama’s thoughts on Conscious Parenting, Natural Living, Holistic Health and General MindfulnessJennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares A Hot Day In The Life of Jennifer. This post appeared on a friend’s blog and is a humorous look at a typical summer day for Hybrid Rasta Mama and her sidekick Tiny. You can also find Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Networked Blogs.

Emily at Embrita Blogging shares an Ordinary Day with a pre-crawler from almost two years ago. You can find Emily on Facebook, Pinterest, and on Twitter.

Gretchen at That Mama Gretchen showcases A Day in the Life of her busy summer as she waddles around with a baby in her belly and a toddler in tow! You can also find That Mama Gretchen on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes shares A day at the Solstice Parade, a picture post about her trip to one of the local summer parades in Seattle. You can also find Shannon on Google +, Flickr, Pinterest.

Hobo Mama: A Natural Parenting BlogLauren at Hobo Mama shows what unschooling looks like in her house through Meetups and play dates. Far from staying indoors or isolated, you can find Lauren or Sam and their kids out at one or other fun and educational activity several times a week. You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Kat of Loving {Almost} Every Moment wrote this post after having One Of Those Days. She was pregnant, exhausted and had a lot of errands to do with her two older kiddos in tow. In the end she was reminded of a thing or two…especially to always keep her chocolate stash well stocked!

Fine and FairJoella at Fine and Fair shares A Summer Sunday in Our Life. This day in the life photo project shows a busy Summer Sunday filled with gardening, friends, family, and shared parenting. You can also find Fine and Fair on Facebook and Twitter.

Erica at Childorganics shares And The “Play” Goes On. This post takes a peek of what a whole day of play looks like at their house. You can also find ChildOrganics on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Visit Code Name: MamaA day in the life of Dionna at Code Name: Mama and family in downtown Independence – from 6 month old EC’ing to the farmer’s market to nursing at the Main Street Coffee House. By the way, join us for the August Carnival of Natural Parenting when our topic will be Farmer’s Markets!

AnktangleAmy at Anktangle shows
us (through photographs) a glimpse into a typical week
in her world. You can also find Amy on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares The School Bus Comes Early. She speaks of how unschooling allows her family a flexibility in their lives to accommodate learning. You can also find Living Peacefully with Children on Facebook.

ourfeminist{play}schoolLyndsay at OurFeministPlayschool shares “Day in Our Life… This post looks at her family’s day and their trip to a museum. You can also find Lyndsay on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

TV: a Tool or “The Devil”

365:32 - Television

Photo by Sarah Reid

As more of our society has become screen driven, the controversy over children watching television has increased. On one side you have companies specifically marketing television, movies, and all sorts of related products to children. There are companies targeting commercials at children in hopes that those children will then bug their parents enough to buy the products, shaping our society from a young age into a consumerist society, while some parents say they just need a break or how the look forward to family movie night. On the flip side, you have organizations saying television is bad, detracting from time which would be otherwise be spent doing other activities, adding to childhood obesity and other health problems. There are parents crying out that TV is the devil (said jokingly in reference to the mother in Adam Sandler’s movie The Waterboy) and banning all reference of television or movies from their child’s existence. Both of these sides tend to take the topic of television to extremes, when there is a middle ground. We are a middle ground family. We have direct tv . In graduate school, my husband really wanted to watch his beloved Red Wings hockey games. It seemed a minor issue to promise him those games out of grad. school. For a long time, hockey games were pretty much the only thing our television was used for, much to the astonishment of my in-laws who have a television (on) in every room, as I’m not one to sit down and surf channels to find something to watch. Later, when we upgraded to a DVR, I found that we could actually plan to record items to watch later, without it interferring with life (hence, I would actually be able to watch something without trying to remember to turn the television on). Since that time, we have found quite a few wonderful documentaries and shows to record and watch. We have seen things that we would never have otherwise seen (deep sea adventures, historical documentaries, erupting volcanoes, and more). There are also the occassional family movie nights. We are able to use this technology as yet another tool for learning rather than something that rules our lives. Just like anything else, it’s not an all or nothing thing. It’s what you make of it. For families worried that television may take over, keep a few things in mind:

  • Given the opportunity, children are quite good at self-regulation. Something which is currently forbidden now may capture their attention at first, but in every family I know who allows self-regulation, the kids do actually regulate themselves in various life areas, often much better than adults (says the woman who turns to sweets in times of stress while my kids have a heathly relationship with food).
  • Kids would rather spend time with you. If you feel that the tube is on too much, offer an alternative. Go cook together, garden, read books, make a craft, go for a walk, or play a game.
  • Turning on the screen doesn’t mean it can’t be turned off. That’s what the power button is for. Don’t be afraid to use technology as a tool for your family where there is benefit. It’s not permanent and you control how much you let it into your life and how it fits. If it doesn’t fit, that’s fine. Just remember that there can be happy mediums in life. If you choose to watch television, continue to be present with your children to help them navigate those messages presented. Child need your presence in life.

Just as with anything, a tool is what you make of it.

Disclaimer: Links to www.dx3.net are not an endorsement for the site or for directtv.

Bodily Autonomy and Personal Hygiene

Welcome to the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Personal Care

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 stories, tips, and struggles relating to their children’s personal care choices.

Innocent Child Protected By Arms

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

More than 30% of children in the United States will be sexually abused, few of which will be reported. In most of those cases, the perpetrator will not be a stranger. It will be someone you and your child know: a trusted babysitter or neighbor, a friend, a coach or teacher, your beloved Uncle Charlie, or another person whom you thought would never do that to your child.

Knowing the warning signs of sexual abuse is important. It allows you to quickly assess possible telling behaviors and take action to prevent possible further abuse. However, as parents, our goal is to prevent the abuse before it happens. There are many ways to do this. We can be honest with our kids about sex and bodies, answering questions as they come up in age appropriate ways. We can teach our children the proper terminology of their body parts and cultivate an atmophere in which our children feel comfortable talking with us about anything. We can talk to them about tricky people and how to get help. We can also empower them by honoring their personal bodily autonomy.

Individual should be allowed to have control over what happens to their bodies. In our family, we have made it clear to our children that it is not acceptable for anyone to touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable or without permission. This includes well meaning relatives who expect children to give hugs and kisses on demand (check out the great discussion at Vibrant Wanderings about this). It includes other children (who pass on abuse in a large percentage of cases). It includes doctors and even my husband and myself. We believe that if there is a valid reason for touching a child, in the event that a doctor or parent must aid in personal or medical care, that reason should be able to be explained to the child and permission given.

To that end, our children own their own bodies. We don’t force diaper changes, teeth brushing, baths (although the only problem our children have ever had with baths or showers is getting out), nail cutting, hair brushing, or anything else. This doesn’t mean that we have the dirty children on the block , walking around with uncombed hair, dirty teeth and diapers sagging with excrement. It just means that we talk to our children about why we believe it is implortant to do various aspects of personal hygiene. We give choices to honor their individuality. We are open and direct. We model personal hygiene and let them do as much as they can on their own.

Forcing a child to do something to their body against their will does not only destroy the trust they have in us. It also destroys the trust they have in their own bodily autonomy.

Learn more about the sexual abuse of children and what you can do to prevent it at Stop It Now! and Safely Ever After

***

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:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 10 with all the carnival links.)

Growing Children

Photo by Rev Stan

When we grow plants, we give them what they need to grow and be successful: sunlight, water, supports, fertilizer, and other nutrients. If they are having trouble growing, we look to see what else they may need or what we need to change. We don’t blame them when they fail. Instead we look at what we need to change. Hurting the plant or putting it away and ignoring would be pointless. We look to what we can change to help the plant thrive. Our success as a gardener is dependent upon whether or not the plant is thriving.

Growing children is not so different. Punishing them doesn’t help them to be better. Hitting only hurts them and our relationship. Putting them away in time out doesn’t address the situation or help them to be better. Growing children have needs that must be met: sunlight, water, nutrients, support, and love. When their needs are met, they thrive and we get to watch them develop and unfurl into the wonderful people they are.
If there is a problem, rather than blaming the child and punishing him, we need to look at what needs are not being met and work with him to help him grow.

Making Healthy Choices

Photo by Denise Cross

With the increase in eating disorders and childhood obesity, healthy eating is a concern for many parents. However, if we truly want our children to make healthy choices in regards to eating, we must first take a step back and allow them to make choices.

Certainly we can, and should, share with our children the reasons behind our food purchases and decisions. Learning about nutrition and experiencing a wide range of foods helps our children make informed decisions regarding what they eat. Controlling everything about our children’s eating not only does not allow them to make choices, it also can set up some of the same eating disorders most of us would like our children to avoid.

The Benefits of I-Messages

Photo by Paul Stocker

I-messages seem simple enough, but the benefits that come from them are anything but simple.

  • We are more likely to influence another person to change an undesired behavior by using I-messages. Because they are less threatening, I-messages are less likely to provoke resistance or make the other person feel bad.
  • We place the responsibility for changing the behavior or action on the other person. Stating an I-message brings attention to the problem at hand without dictating how it must be rectified, trusting the other person to repect our needs and allowing them to take ownership of their actions. We relinguish any attempt at controlling the other person and allow them to take responsibility for their own actions.
  • When we use I-messages, we model honesty. Honest, open communication from one person in a relationship promotes reciprocal treatment from the other.
  • We open ourselves to the other person. Not only do we show that we are a feeling person with needs, we show that we can also trust the other person to be cognizant of our needs. By sharing of ourselves, we strengthen our relationship.

Conflict: A Course of Life

Conflict is a course of life, occurring whenever two parties have different agendas or different perceived agendas. What matters is not the conflict itself but how that conflict is resolved.  Parents don’t have to resort to win-lose methods with either the parent or child winning while the other loses. When parents work together with their children, everyone’s needs are met and noone loses. By meeting everyone’s true needs, the conflict ceases to exist rather than escalating in continued attempts to meet the unmet needs.