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.
I would like to be called an inspiration to people, not a role model, because I make mistakes like everybody else ...I'm just like everybody else.
Just like Brittany Spears, (what a weird trip this is, writing the beginning of this sentence!) I am uncomfortable thinking of myself as a role model. I don't even think of myself as like everybody else, I feel like many of you have stuff figured out while I've got a lot yet to learn. In fact, I'm really only in this blogging business to read what other people have to say and then experiment upon my own life by copying their ideas. I love the blogging community for this: it's not considered rude to try out something that someone else posts about. You bloggers reading this are my role models. I'm watching you.
Plus, I just can't always say with gusto my own parenting is something that anyone else should model. Because, frankly, I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm making it all up as I go!
Is that (the feeling of flying by one's parental pant's seat) something that fades after your child grows beyond her second year? I suppose I'd feel more confident with an infant at this point (been there, done that, everyone lived, success!) but I'm still shaky about this toddler business. Shoot, I still feel relatively new to this wife business, and that's been more than two years (two and a half, to be exact).
Anyway, I can't think of a single person who would consider me their parenting role model. I do however, aspire to be an inspiration. An inspiration of the Little Engine That Could variety.
From the moment I knew I was pregnant (okay, even before) I knew I wanted to focus on gentle, earthy, family-centered rearing. I read books upon books upon books. Scoured the internet for reviews of cloth diapers. Drafted and re-drafted the plans for a Montessori-based child's room. Planned for the homebirth. Bought a sling and a wrap.
And then it was Go-Day and I got to meet my baby face to face. And I had to start improvising.
Homebirth? Nope, had a c-section due to breech presentation. Cloth? First we used-up the disposals that we'd been given, but we did eventually get to the cloth. Nursing? Yes, but only after weeks and weeks of pumping and tube- and bottle-feeding. The Montessori room? Still not finished, though we have had great success with the easiest (and *cough* laziest) portion of the room: the full-sized mattress on the floor (i.e. no crib). Baby-wearing? Was great with front carries, haven't been practicing the back-carries and worry that it's now been too long since I've worn her to make it work any longer.
I don't know anyone who has seen what I have done or continue to do and says, Genius woman! I was doing something totally opposite but through your example I can now see the light!
But an inspiration? Of some mild sort? I hope so. I hope that a co-worker might someday decide to pump in the office after her maternity leave, encouraged by the whirring sound she heard from my Medela after I'd returned from mine. That a friend or two feels more comfortable nursing their teething, walking babes because they've seen me nursing my toddler. That my sister might consider using cloth diapers for her future children because she's been able to use them successfully on my daughter at our house. That a Facebook friend might consider an independent natural labor/birth class versus the stock class offered at the hospital.
I have hope that someone, somewhere, sees how I'm raising (or attempting/aspiring to raise) my daughter and thinks to him- or herself, If she can do it, I can too! Because I'm trying. And sometimes failing and then trying again. And Again. It seems the right thing to do.
Visit 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 updated by the end of the day May 11 with all the carnival links.)
- 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)