My Seven

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.

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The carnival topic this month is a tough one for me. Because, when it comes to parenting, I’m not sure that I’ve inspired anyone. If I have, I don’t now, nor may I ever know.

As nice as it would be, it isn’t everyday that someone walks up and says, “Wow! You really inspire me.” But, maybe it should. Maybe we should let people know that they inspire us. Maybe we should toot their horns and give credit where credit is due. Now that I think about it, yes, we should.

With that in mind, I’d like to take a moment to share a few of the people that have inspired me on my parenting journey. The people that have helped me to become the natural parenting mama that I am today.

Chisako, a dear friend of mine from Japan who was present at our son’s birth. I vividly remember talking with her and some friends about the lovies we had as children. We asked Chisako what her son’s lovey was, assuming of course that he had one, she told us, matter-of-factly, that he didn’t have one. That most Japanese children don’t, because their mothers are their lovies. 

That conversation inspired me to be Ewan’s lovey. It inspired me to sleep with him and meet all his needs around the clock. It inspired me to let him form a strong attachment with me, rather than a blanket or toy. Thank you, Chisako, you inspired me to give attachment parenting a try.

Mara and Nate, two of my dearest friends. As new parents, they decided that they didn’t want a stroller. That simple choice forced me to reconsider my own thoughts about strollers. Lo and behold, several years later, I followed in their footsteps. Our little guy has never ridden in a stroller, instead, he’s been worn in slings and carriers. Thank you, Mara and Nate, you inspired me to babywear.

Rachel and Jen, my two sisters-in-law, with six children between them. All of their little ones have been nursed beyond a year. Truth be told, they are the first women that I ever saw breastfeed. They were my introduction into a world that was previously unknown. A world that I’m so glad to be a part of. Thank you, Rachel and Jen, you inspired me to breastfeed.

Virginia, my mother-in-law. She has always said that parenting is special because, “you get to grow your own friends.” Before hearing that from her, that is not the way I thought about being a parent. Now, as I move through each day, I often find myself repeating that phrase. It colors all that I do and it makes me think about the choices I make and whether they will help Ewan to become the adult friend that I want to have. Thank you, Virginia, you inspired me to be conscious about my parenting.

Ewan, my little one. He came into the world a little more than a year ago and, ever since, he has turned my world upside down in the very best way. I am amazed that, even at just a year old, he is the individual that he is. He plays hard, loves hard, and forgives fast. He enjoys life and embraces it. Thank you, Ewan, you inspire me to be present and live life fully.

Those are my seven. Seven people that have inspired me. Seven people that probably don’t know how deeply they’ve inspired me. Seven people that I am telling, publicly, that they have.

My challenge to you is this: Think of your seven. 

Think of seven people that have inspired you, in parenting or in life. Once you’ve thought of your seven, tell them. It can be here in the comments, over on your blog, in a letter, on the phone. I don’t care where or how, but I do care that we start spreading the word. Let’s make it so none of these small heroes wanders through life wondering, “Have I inspired anyone?”

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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:

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  • http://codenamemama.com Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

    Lovies! I have said the same thing about Kieran – *I* am his lovey, he’s never needed another! Lovely post and reminder – I will think of my role models and thank them :)

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  • http://www.HoboMama.com Lauren @ Hobo Mama

    That is gorgeous, Danielle! I love that you were able to trace back your decisions so precisely, and how wonderful that you have these seven in your life. I love the quote of your mother-in-law about growing our own friends. It absolutely helps me as I parent to think long-term rather than what do I want in this moment. Makes me appreciate my child’s individual, strong character rather than how his behavior in the moment is affecting me. Thank you!

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  • http://navelgazingbajan.wordpress.com NavelgazingBajan

    My sister doesn’t know yet that she inspired me with breastfeeding. We grew up in a breastfeeding culture but I don’t remember seeing anyone breastfeed past infancy. My sister shocked me when I first found out she was still breastfeeding past twelve months but she did open my eyes to the possibility. Fast forward a few years and here I am aiming to breastfeeding not just past the age of 1 but until at least the age of two or three.

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  • http://www.science-at-home.org Deb

    It’s good to take some time out and think about the people who’ve helped us along the way, even better if we tell them! It sounds like you have lots of support but give yourself credit too – you listened and thought about it.

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  • http://discountfugu Nick

    Because you said you may never know who you inspire, let me speak up. You have inspired me. I’m a current JET and before embarking on this crazy journey with my husband I was incredibly nervous. We wanted to possibly start a family over here, but were scared. My only experience with doctors in Japan left me unsure if having a child here was a good idea. I first found you over on your other blog and not only did it calm me down, but it inspired me to do the same with our experiences here. Though I have to admit to being rather neglectful of the blog lately. When I found this site and consequently read through your experiences giving birth here again I was calmed. So you have also inspired us to give it a try. Though we’re not there yet. I guess with all this I just want to say thank you for inspiring me.

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  • Virginia

    Thanks Danielle. We so often forget that words have power, I have learned overtime that it is good to speak the words we are inspired to speak. We may never know why we are so inspired. That’s not our task. Our task is to trust it is time to speak them. I should have expanded that parenting not only allows you to grow new friends. You also get to enjoy the friends these adults bring into your life as spouses.

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  • http://www.theparentvortex.com michelle

    It is amazing how these new ideas come to us and plant seeds in our minds. I was inspired to have a home birth by my father in law (and quite unexpectedly). My friend Rosalind has inspired me to do EC and watching her homeschool her two kids has inspired me to explore that too. Watching other mamas in my circle of friends breastfeed their toddlers has inspired me to continue breastfeeding until my baby is 2, instead of weaning just after a year like I did with my older daughter. We pass inspiration back and forth, strengthening each other! :) thanks for the lovely post.

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  • http://beatniksbeatonlife.blogspot.com/ Erin W. / Beatnik Momma

    I love this. I wrote my post this month as a thank you letter to those who had inspired me too, because I just couldn’t see how I had inspired others either.

    I love the momma-as-a-lovey idea. I never thought of it that way, but I am my daughter’s lovey too. That’s such a sweet thought. I hope it enters my head the next time I’m wanting a break and she’s not wanting to give it to me – I hope I remember that I am her lovey and I can take my break once she’s asleep because she needs me now.

    The quote your mother-in-law gave was really sweet too.

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  • http://onestarrynight.com Sarah @ OneStarryNight

    It’s a never ending chain, so fantastic! I LOVE that analogy about being your child’s lovey!

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  • http://www.strocel.com Amber

    Neither of my kids have had lovies, either. I didn’t set out that way, it just naturally happened. Why cuddle a teddy bear when you’re almost always in arms, you know?

    Now I must think about my own seven. Hmmm….

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