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Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA – Why I Blog)

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy
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 how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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As a mother who whole heartedly believes in a natural parenting approach, I have a strong desire to inspire other mothers and fathers to explore gentle parenting choices. Even if parents already employ a natural parenting technique (or two, or three, or twenty), I feel that it is important to provide a resource which they can turn to inspire new ideas about parenting approaches based on my experience as well as research.

This is ultimately why I decided to start blogging.

I get very enthusiastic, passionate, motivated, and inspired by natural, gentle, peaceful parenting techniques and approaches. Although I am outspoken, approaching parents who I do not know and provoking a discussion about parenting practices is just not something that I find myself able to do. I’m much better at expressing myself in writing and being able to carefully and thoughtfully outline my views then I am having a “seat of my pants” discussion. A natural parenting focused blog met my need to share my thoughts while at the same time offering me an extended family of bloggers and readers from whose views I can learn from.

This is not to say that I am incapable of having a live discussion about parenting with others. I am happy to talk to my friends about why I parent the way I do and why I think it works both for our family and potentially for theirs. I get a little more reluctant to discuss parenting with random strangers I encounter while running errands, playing at the park, etc. I do not enjoy getting into a debate about parenting practices with Joe Schmo at the grocery store. However, if I see a parent struggling and employing what I consider to be all the wrong techniques, I have on occasion stepped in more as a distraction so that mom or dad can collect their emotions.

For example, a young mother was trying every negotiation and scare tactic under the sun to get her toddler to stop whining while she wheeled her around the grocery store. It was obvious that said toddler was long overdue for a nap and she was acting hungry. I felt horrible for the child whose attempts at communicating with her mother were failing miserably. The mother was simply making the child more upset and as the child cried and fussed harder, the mother got more and more explosive in her reactions. So I stepped in. Tiny was with me so I had a couple of snacks in my purse. I looked directly at the toddler in the cart and told her that my daughter thought that she might be hungry. I then asked her mother if it was ok for my daughter to share her snack. The mother looked at me a little funny and I told her that my daughter was aware that her child was upset and was motioning that she would like to share her snack. The mother thanked me and acknowledged that the child had not eaten in a few hours. A FEW HOURS! And here they are at a grocery store surrounded by food! Poor little girl. My heart sank! I then took that opportunity to tell her that personally, it is not worth the trouble and frustration I feel for me to bring my daughter out on errands when she is tired and hungry. I prefer to make sure her needs are met as that typically will allow for a more peaceful trip to the grocery store. The mother then asked me what I do if my daughter won’t nap and I have to go grocery shopping. And the discussion went from there. This mother actually reads my blog now and has indicated that she has learned quite a bit; things she would have never thought of exploring before.

I feel great about that! A personal interaction along with the material of my very new blog has inspired one floundering mother (her words, not mine) to become a more peaceful parent.

In addition to blogging and the occasional intervention, I also like to simply model natural parenting practices. I am not going to suddenly change my parenting style to match that of the company I am with. I will also not parent another child in a different manner. If Tiny is playing with another child, I will communicate with and approach that child in the same manner I do Tiny. This will often spark a conversation about my approach and methods which gives me a great opportunity to advocate for a gentle parenting approach.

Since my main mechanism for compassionately advocating for natural parenting practices is via my blog, I do hope that my dear readers are finding my words to be motivational, encouraging and uplifting. Although I can be pretty direct, my overall goal is simply to provide a thought provoking post that can inspire all parents regardless of their preferred parenting approach.

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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:

  • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
  • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
  • From the Heart — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
  • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
  • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
  • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don’t share your views.
  • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
  • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
  • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
  • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don’t parent the way you do.
  • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
  • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
  • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
  • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That’s The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she’s learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the “good news” of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
  • Compelling without repelling — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
  • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
  • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
  • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
  • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
  • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people’s children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter’s senior kindergarten room.
  • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the “great divide” through gently teaching and being teachable.
  • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
  • The Three R’s of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how “The Three R’s” can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
  • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
  • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
  • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.
  • Baby Sling Carriers Make Great Compassionate Advocacy Tools — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shared her babywearing knowledge — and her sling — with a new mom.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Who needs Superman when we have a community of compassionate advocates?! Dionna at Code Name: Mama believes that our community of gentle bloggers are the true superheroes.
  • Words of advice: compassionately advocating for my parenting choices — MrsH at Fleeting Moments waits to give advice until she’s been asked, resulting in fewer advocacy moments but very high responsiveness from parents all over the spectrum of parenting approaches.
  • Peaceful Parenting — Peaceful parenting shows at Living Peacefully with Children with an atypical comment from a stranger.
  • Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
  • Gentle is as Gentle Does — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how she is gently advocating her parenting style.
  • Walking on Air — Rachael at The Variegated Life wants you to know that she has no idea what she’s doing — and it’s a gift.
  • Parenting with my head, my heart, and my gut — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her thoughts on being a compassionate advocate of natural parenting as a blogger.
  • At Peace With the World — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry talks about being an advocate for peaceful parenting at 10,000 feet.
  • Putting a public face on “holistic” — Being public about her convictions is a must for Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, but it takes some delicacy.
  • Just Be; Just Do. — Amy at Anktangle believes strongly about her parenting methods, and also that the way to get people to take notice is to simply live her life and parent the best she knows how.
  • One Parent at a Time… — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that advocating for Natural Parenting is best accomplished by walking the walk.
  • Self-compassion — We’re great at caring for and supporting others —from our kiddos to other mamas — but Lisa at Gems of Delight shares a post about treating ourselves with that same sense of compassion.
  • Using Montessori Principles to Advocate Natural Parenting — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how she uses Montessori principles to be a compassionate advocate for natural parenting.
  • Advocacy? Me? — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers that by “just doing her thing,” she may be advocating for natural parenting.
  • Feeding by Example — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip shares her experience of being the first one of her generation to parent.
  • Compassionate Consumerism — Erica at ChildOrganics encourages her children to be compassionate consumers and discusses the benefits of buying local and fair trade products.
  • The Importance of Advocating Compassionately — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood acts as a compassionate advocate by sharing information with many in the hopes of reaching a few.
  • Some Thoughts on Gentle Discipline — Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares her thoughts and some tips on Gentle Discipline.
  • Compassionate Advocacy: Sharing Resources, Spreading the Love — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares how her passion for making natural choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting have supported others in Dominica and beyond.
  • A journey to compassion and connection — Jessica at Instead of Institutions shares her journey from know-it-all to authentic advocacy.
  • Advocacy Through Openness, Respect, and Understanding — Melissa at The New Mommy Files describes her view on belief, and how it has shaped the way she advocates for gentle parenting choices.
  • Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting!
  • Natural Love Creates Natural Happiness — A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a smile, or a giggle, or a gaze? Jessica at Cloth Diapering Mama’s kids are extremely social and their natural happiness is very obvious.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy — Even in the progressive SF Bay Area, Lily at Witch Mom finds she must defend some of her parenting choices.
  • A Tale of Four Milky Mamas — In this post The ArtsyMama shares how she has found ways to repay her childhood friend for the gift of milk.
  • don’t tell me what to do — Pecky at benny and bex demonstrates compassionate advocacy through leading by example.

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Comments

  1. What an amazing story about helping the parent at the grocery store! We had a big discussion about this recently on my Facebook page. I think many of us are intimidated by interfering in uncomfortable parenting moments, but you found a way to approach her very peacefully. We’re glad to have you around :)

  2. Most would not have approached that mother and child in the store. You are much more brave (about sparking conversation with strangers) than you give yourself credit! I’m outspoken and generally don’t mind speaking to strangers, but I feel hesitant to step in when I think parents are handling things poorly in public. What you did was amazing!

  3. What a great story! I agree with Momma Jorje, you are much braver than you give yourself credit for! It’s so inspiring and comforting to see blogs like yours around! I’m glad I was introduced to your blog this carnival :-) I look forward to reading more!

  4. I love talking to Joe Schmo at the grocery store. He’s awesome.

    I’m right with you on this. I can write a lot better than I speak, especially since very often the words that come out of my mouth do not make much sense. They make sense in my head and up in there I can put together a well-thought argument, but I am very timid when actually called upon to voice said argument.

    I think it’s awesome that this woman now reads your blog. As far as I’m concerned, your work is done because you were able to help just one (and likely many more) person which will surely cause an incredible chain of positive events. :)

  5. “I get very enthusiastic, passionate, motivated, and inspired by natural, gentle, peaceful parenting techniques and approaches.” I love this sentence!
    I feel the same that way that you do. My fellow bloggers are my family and friends but I’m not going to change who I am because I’m not talking to other APs or Bloggers. I’ve had no problem encouraging daycare to babywear the infants when I went in there and found a chorus of screams. I let all my high school mama friends know I breastfeed – won’t stop until he wants and if they need spare milk I’ve got a freezer (fear creeps into their eyes just about then) But just because we are not in common company doesn’t mean I’m not comfortable being me. If they leave the situation knowing something or being a little bit curious all the better. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    We are alike in this way…

    “Although I can be pretty direct, my overall goal is simply to provide a thought provoking post that can inspire all parents regardless of their preferred parenting approach.”

    In the past I have said that I am writing to myself as much as anyone else and all I say is with love… :)

  7. Wow – you are brave for stepping in! Wonderful approach!

  8. While I was reading through this post I was just thinking, “Wow”. I love that story about the mom and how she reads your blog now – so many of us would be afraid of offending, but such gentle stepping in can truly be effective!

    I find a lot of compassion in your posts that goes along with your passion – I think it is what draws so many readers here. You are doing a great job mama! :)

  9. This is a great post for CarNatPar! I like how you draw the differences between compassionately advocating online and in real life because they are quite different in approach. Although they both are done with kindness for yourself and for another, this really can be your forum for your passion. In real life really does need to be in smaller chunks and with much more feeling another out. If someone reads your blog, they’re already pretty open to at least letting the words in, in some way. In real life, that’s not necessarily the case.

    Either way, your passion comes through in your words and I always enjoy your blog posts. I appreciate that you are a compassionate (and passionate) advocate for gentle parenting choices

  10. Wow. Your story from the grocery store is awesome. It must have been a little scary to step in, but it sounds like it was just what that mom and toddler needed!

  11. What an inspiring story! I love how you approached the other mother so compassionately (I mean, who hasn’t been there?) and had Tiny “speak” to her daughter. What a great way to handle it, and a foot in the door to talking further about peaceful parenting.

    I’m ver glad you’re blogging! It’s so great to have an outlet for our passions, isn’t it?

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