Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Try, Try Again

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.
                                                                                                                   ~Brittany Spears

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.)


Dionna @ Code Name: Mama May 11, 2010 at 7:45 AM  

I would say that if any of those things happen (if you inspire a mother to pump or look into natural birth or cloth diaper), then you are a very successful role model! We don't have to move mountains to inspire :) Even the smallest changes can make enormous differences - just think of the ripple effect your influence can have. Oh - and don't fret on the back carry. My son didn't like back carries until he was over a year old, I don't think it's too late.

mrs green @ littlegreenblog.com May 11, 2010 at 8:02 AM  

Ah lovely - thank you for this. I love what you are doing and I bet that you have already inspired loads of people. The internet is a double edged sword; we don't always see the results of our actions or sharings. I'm quite sure you have been the subject of many a conversation between partners, colleagues or at the coffee machine ;)

Joni Rae May 11, 2010 at 8:08 AM  

Just the fact that you WANT these things for your baby is inspiring! (love the B.S. quote by the way)

Good job mama- (((hugs)))

Jamie May 11, 2010 at 8:21 AM  

funny that i'm writing about how i feel like a new person who doesn't know what i'm doing and you're writing the same thing- but to me you're someone to look up to!

you never know how other people perceive you. you ARE an inspiration. you don't have to do it all to be someone to look to for advice or experience or commiseration.

Anonymous May 11, 2010 at 8:46 AM  

I think that if we are questioning our parenting, pushing our growth, and trying our best to do better, we are on the right track.

Anonymous May 11, 2010 at 8:47 AM  

I think that if we are questioning our parenting, pushing our growth, and trying our best to do better, we are on the right track.

Lindsay May 11, 2010 at 9:09 AM  

Aww I remember the Little Engine Who Could! It sounds like you have lots of perseverance, so you're on the right track! (lame train pun intended. Lol.)

BluebirdMama May 11, 2010 at 11:22 AM  

Make no mistake - people definitely notice all those things you do. They might not say anything but they certainly notice and it plants the seed for them. And as Brittany says, you don't have to be perfect to inspire people.

I laughed when you said "I don't really know what I'm doing" and then wondered if you'd be more confident later. When my 2nd was born, my running joke was "The difference the second time? Well, this time I'm more confident I don't know what I'm doing."

Lovely post.

SaRAW May 11, 2010 at 1:04 PM  

I know exactly what you mean. We aren't perfect by any means, but we really are trying to do what's right for our babies. It's apparent that you love your baby, and that's always the most important thing. I'm sure you are making a difference to more people than you know. Thanks for sharing.

Lauren Wayne May 11, 2010 at 1:21 PM  

I love the way you've written this post! Even if you haven't heard the comments, I bet they're there. I bet people have taken notice, and every little thing you do like that is normalizing them for others.

If it helps, I also have not made my home Montessori, despite incentives to do so. And my son's almost 3. But I do recommend going ahead and trying out a back carry. They rock!

Anonymous May 11, 2010 at 11:35 PM  

I really believe that just by living our lives and doing our best we can inspire others. We can free them to consider and pursue options they might otherwise be afraid to. We can expose them to new ideas. It doesn't take a superstar to be an inspiration, just a mom doing her best for herself and her children.

Sarah @ OneStarryNight May 12, 2010 at 6:57 AM  

You're leading by example and that's the best thing you can do!

Thomasin May 13, 2010 at 11:44 AM  

I feel blessed to be part of your community. Thank you, I am encouraged by your comments. :-)

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