Tuesday, April 12, 2011

watching and wearing.

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.
My husband spent his senior year of college studying abroad in a Germany.  Like any good college kid living in Germany, he made lots of new friends, drank lots of good beer, listened to lots of good music, ate lots of doner kebabs.....and noticed how the German mamas strapped their babies on with a long piece of fabric.  When his best friend back home announced he and his wife were expecting a baby, Taylor went into a children's boutique and picked out a beautiful woven wrap for the new parents.  That wrap was well-loved and well-used with the couple's two babies and our friend was sure to pass it on to us as soon as Henry was born.  A wonderfully thoughtful present come full circle.

So, basically, German women introduced Taylor to babywearing.  Taylor introduced his friend to babywearing.  And, his friend made babywearing a reality for me because we were way too broke and I was way too cheap to buy something I thought wasn't a true necessity.

Little did I know that babywearing really is a necessity.  Seriously.  How do women not wear their babies?

Now, I am the mama wearing my baby in a college town.  Not only am I wearing my baby in a college town but we also live smack dab in the middle of the college neighborhood.  As in, we are surrounded by college kids, their expensive namebrand dogs, their loud parties at 3am, their propensity to pee in our yard.....and lots of young adults who will become parents in a few years.

And, considering I have a very busy toddler and an increasingly busy baby, we take lots of walks.  Walks in which I wear my baby as I push my toddler in a plastic car with loud screechy wheels.  Trust me, you can't help but look up to see what is causing the forsaken screeching as we stroll down the sidewalk.  Add to the fact that I am one cute mama and have two cute kids, we get a look from almost every pedestrian and driver on our street.

It's funny to me that I loudly advocate the benefits of extended rearfacing, homebirth and cloth diapers but I find that simply wearing my baby speaks for itself.

And, I am sure at least a few college students are listening.

My husband certainly did.

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.


Jessica | Cloth Diapering Mama said...

Its funny how your tune changes when you are the mom...I always thought baby carriers were dorky!!! Now I'm the queen of them around here...and even hubby wears the kids...NOT something I would have imagined when we met at age 21 in a nightclub...lol..

Great job for showing off your natural parenting...I'm sure they're "checking you out" in a different way!

Momma Jorje said...

What a cool story! I don't think that the idea of baby-wearing often comes from the dad. For me, co-sleeping was suggested by my husband after he heard a story on NPR about how it helps prevent SIDS.

I wish I had friends passing along slings. I've wanted to try that sort of wrap. Thankfully, though, I have a couple of slings I was able to throw together myself.

Leading by example is great. Some things require an actual voice, but baby-wearing is something we can simply show everywhere we go!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

What a sweet story about your husband and his quiet influence. I had more people come up and ask about babywearing with Kieran, just b/c they saw me. What a great way to be a simple influence :)

Kat said...

I love your story! First, I love it when I hear stories of Dads being so involved! I also love that you are now one of those moms you saw in Germany, wearing your baby around young adults, influencing their future parenting decisions! So cool! By the way, your kiddos are super cute, but I'm sure I don't need to tell you that :-)

The ArtsyMama said...

Such a cute story. I'm a babywearer too. I walk my two obnoxious pugs with my 13 month old on my back through my neighborhood. My neighbors think I'm crazy (I'm hoping it is because of the dogs though). I wear him when I'm out in town and I occasionally think to myself, "I wonder what they think of me" I get a kick out of how people slow down when they are putting their groceries in the car to watch just how I am going to get him off my back by myself. I recommend it to every one. I'm by myself so babywearing is a life saver!

CatholicMommy said...

I love the imagery of the squeaky car wheels. :-) Congrats for living a life that speaks volumes!

Are you teaching your kids any German? I recently decided to learn it in order to teach my son (who is almost 9 months).

Rosemary said...

I love this! I discovered babywearing in much the same way; we live in a multi-cultural community of immigrants, and I loved how all the Somali women wore their babies. I thought "I have to learn from them before I have a baby." Now my little one is in the moby daily. :)

Amy Phoenix said...

I love how you've highlighted the strength of setting an example...

"It's funny to me that I loudly advocate the benefits of extended rearfacing, homebirth and cloth diapers but I find that simply wearing my baby speaks for itself. "

I get many questions while baby wearing - some assume it hurts my back. I actually use the balanced baby carrier to save my back and body from hip carrying and I love sharing that information. :)

Hybrid Rasta Mama said...

You are 100% right when you say, "how do people not babywear?" Seriously, I have no idea how I would have gotten through the day.

I really love how you fell into babywearing. What a great cross cultural natural parenting story! And bless you for being the mama that you are surrounded by all of that college choas. Whew!

Tara said...

I seriously do not know how mamas make it through the day without wearing baby. Last weekend my husband was gone and my sitter was sick so I had to bring Sadie with me to my pottery class. I just backpacked her in the Ergo, and there she chilled out for 2 1/2 hours, just checking things out and being happy. All the ladies in the class were so impressed with what a "good" baby she was. IMO a worn baby = a good baby. Love this post--way to model an awesome skill to a set of folks who aren't too far out from a time when it may come in very handy.

Zoie @ TouchstoneZ said...

This is a great CarNatPar post. I love how you tied all the babywearing together showing how you have been on both sides of the babywearing advocacy chain.

And I agree. I can not figure out how I'd make it through the day without babywearing.

Kelly said...

I love that story! How cool that it had such an impact on your husband. :)

I was first introduced to babywearing in Mexico (when I was in college!), long before I could ever conceive of doing such a thing for myself. I know my awe of them influenced my babywearing habits today. :)

Thanks for sharing!

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

Oh, man, that is so stinking cool! I love the cross-cultural connections (and the fabulous German wraps — oo, I want one for this next baby so badly), the fact that your husband spearheaded the trend before he even had his own babies, and that you're now passing along the advocacy. Love love love it.

Thank you for sharing!