Steady State

Welcome to the January 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Stay the Same

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the continuity and constancy in their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Bellwether and Boatswain: My partner is a fully engaged attachement co-parentDear Partner,

When I met you, I thought it would be fun to have a summer romance with you. It was a summer filled with sailing, partying, and a lot of laughter.

As I got to know you better, I came to realize how complex you were. It was fascinating and a little frightening to realize that we both wanted to stick with each other for longer than just that summer.

Fast forward 14 years later and I was just making up my mind about whether I would ever want to have children. You amazed me how you wanted children, but you were willing to stay with me even if I never did. You never once questioned me or pushed me, even when you knew I began thinking about it.

That must have gotten your hopes up, but you listened and discussed without bias. You supported me as I explored what it would mean to become a parent.

Tandem babywearing father

Tandem babywearing father

When I became pregnant and started learning about this whole pregnancy, birth, and parenting shebang, you again listened to this “new” idea of homebirth and while it was scary for you, you learned about it and came to support it with your whole heart.

Every step of the way, from breastfeeding to babywearing to disciplining without punishment to unschooling, you’ve been there. Most of the time, you’ve been a step behind me when I’ve been learning about creative solutions to the parenting issues that come up. But, you are always ready to give unwavering support, even when we don’t agree. Even when we argue about particular areas.

Both of us chose to step away from our own experiences and create our family in the way we envision it. We have both also chosen to do this while reflecting on the things we liked and didn’t like from our childhoods. Both of us have made decisions without blame for our own families, but rather with a sense of gratitude for what our parents gave us.

Babywearing and giving an archery lesson

Babywearing and giving an archery lesson like a boss

When our families ask questions about how we parent and homeschool, you answer so matter-of-factly that it makes holding a 3 week old baby over a potty seem normal. You focus on the wonderful moments in our lives, so those outside our family don’t know about how intense and difficult things are much of the time.

I tend to take the lead in researching and trying out parenting and learning strategies, but you walk the arguably more challenging path. You trust me, the kids, and most of all, yourself. Thinking about it now, I wonder who is captaining this boat. But, really it captains itself. You and I are bellwether and boatswain.

It must not be easy to take this role. I think you’re often seen as being dragged along by me. We have both heard comments like “are you babysitting the kids today?” and “your wife must be glad that you took them off her hands for awhile.”

Long nights with sick babies

Long nights with sick babies

But, they don’t know the multiple all-night baby rocking, snuggling babywearing, dinner cooking, grocery shopping, bedsharing, homeschool project enabling, post partum depressed wife hugging full time parent and husband that you are. They don’t see that you are the architect of this life that we have built together.

They don’t see the quiet fearlessness that I saw out on that boat on the Charles River that comes in handy when you’re bouncing two sick babies on the birth ball for hours because it’s the only thing that keeps them from crying. They don’t see that when I freak out about choosing to go away from the mainstream, you are the one that keeps us from capsizing. You are the one letting out the spinaker so we can sail faster past the rocks and out into the bay.

Thank you for being the bravest, most gentle person I will ever know.

Love your partner,

Zoie

PS: Keep this bookmarked for the next time I yell at you.

How do you and your partner been about parenting decisions that differ from your own experiences as a child? I’d love to hear from you.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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:

  • Always an Artist — Some kids take longer than others to come into themselves, so you have to stick with them, as a parent, long after everyone else has given up, writes Douglas at Friendly Encounters.
  • Not Losing Yourself as a First Time Mom — Katie at All Natural Katie continues to stay true to herself after becoming a new mom.
  • Using Continuity to Help Change {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs from A New Day talks about how she is using continuity in certain areas of her life to help promote change and growth in others.
  • Staying the Same : Security — Life changes all the time with growing children but Mother Goutte realised that there are other ways to ‘stay the same’ and feel secure, maybe a bit too much so!
  • Harmony is What I’m AfterTribal Mama gushes about how constant change is really staying the same and staying the same brings powerful change.
  • A Primal Need For Order and Predictability – And How I Let That Go — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she overcame her primal need for order and predictability once her awareness shifted, opening her eyes to the impact this had on her young daughter. Take a short journey with Jennifer and she bares her soul, exposes her weaknesses and celebrates her new outlook and approach to living life, even in the face of total chaos.
  • Breastfeeding Before and After — Breastfeeding has come and gone, but Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow finds that her relationship with her son is still just the same and just as good.
  • A Real Job — Back in high school That Mama Gretchen had a simple, but worthwhile career aspiration and today she is living her dream … is it what you think?
  • Comfortingsustainablemum never thought she would want things always being the same, but she explains why it is exactly what her family wants and needs.
  • ‘The Other Mums’ and The Great IllusionMarija Smits reflects on the ‘great big magic show of life’ and wonders if it will continue to remain a constant in our lives.
  • Unschooling: Learning doesn’t change when a child turns four — Charlotte at Winegums & Watermelons talks about the pressure of home education when everyone else’s children are starting school.
  • Finding Priorities in Changing Environments — Moving from Maine to a rural Alaskan island for her husband’s military service, Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work found that keeping consistent with her priorities in changing environments can take some work, but is vital to continuous health and happiness.
  • Keeping it “Normal” — Kellie at Our Mindful Life has moved several times in the last two years, while doing her best to keep things stable for her kids.
  • The Evolution Of Our Homeschool Journey — Angela at Earth Mama’s World reflects on her homeschooling journey. Homeschooling is a constant in the life of her family but the way in which they learn has been an evolution.
  • Sneaking in Snuggles: Using Nurturing Touch with Older Children — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama’s son was a toddler and preschooler, he was the most loving, affectionate kiddo ever. But during the course of his 5th year, he drastically reduced how often he showed affection. Dionna shares how she is mindfully nurturing moments of affection with her son.
  • Steady State — Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes a letter to her partner about his constancy through the rough sailing of parenting.
  • A Love You Can Depend On — Over at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, Jennifer has a sweet little poem reminding us where unconditional love really lies, so it can remain a constant for us and our children.
  • Same S#!*, Different Day — Struggling against the medical current can certainly get exhausting, especially as the hunt for answers drags on like it has for Jorje of Momma Jorje.
  • New Year, Still Me — Mommy Bee at Little Green Giraffe writes about how a year of change helped her rediscover something inside herself that had been the same all along.
  • One Little Word for 2014 — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs has decided to focus on making things this year, which is what she is loves, as long as she doesn’t kill herself in the process.
  • The Beauty of Using Montessori Principles of Freedom and Consistency — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the continuity of her teaching, parenting, and grandparenting philosophy using a combination of freedom and consistency.
  • My Husband’s MiniCrunchy Con Mom shares which of her sons looks more like her husband’s baby pictures — and the answer might surprise you!
  • Growth Happens When You Aren’t Looking — Lori at TEACH through Love is treasuring these fleeting moments of her daughter’s early adolescence by embracing the NOW.
  • A New Reality Now – Poem — As Luschka from Diary of a First Child struggles to come to terms with the loss of her mother, she shares a simple poem, at a loss for more words to say.
  • Making a family bedroom — Lauren at Hobo Mama has decided to be intentional about her family’s default cosleeping arrangements and find a way to keep everyone comfortable.
  • New Year, Same Constants — Ana at Panda & Ananaso takes a look at some of the things that will stay the same this year as a myriad of other changes come.
  • I Support You: Breastfeeding and Society — Despite how many strides we’ve taken to promote “breast is best,” Amy at Natural Parents Network talks about how far we still have to go to normalize breastfeeding in our society.

17 thoughts on “Steady State

  1. Pingback: Harmony is what I’m after | Mamas Tribe

  2. beautiful story!
    my partner and I have a similar dynamic of me researching and spearheading the gentle parenting, hippy-living initiatives, and him trusting–both trusting himself more as a parent (having had more stable parenting himself), and trusting my ambitious heart and mind.

  3. What a loving tribute, dear friend, to a true partner. I love that you call him that. Most times the word sounds PC, but in this piece it sounds perfect.

    To engage a bit on your question, DH has been following along the way in a similar fashion. I mean, I live and breathe this stuff so I’m usually the one championing an idea. But he was the one who originally suggested homeschooling. I merely suggested we drop the flashcards and follow Lucas’s interests. DH definitely don’t always agree but we always, eventually, come up with something that honors where we are both are.

    We parent differently than how we were raised. Not even just the crunchy stuff, or the educational things, but the religious stuff as well. I had to send my mom an email today, a polite thank you but asking her not to buy DS a Valentine’s Day shirt. We don’t even celebrate Christmas or Easter. In case you’re curious, I can’t remember if we’ve talked about this or not, but we are still Christian, but we only celebrate the Biblical feasts such as Passover or Yom Teruah. It’s a huge cause of friction with my mom, the other three parental units get it. We are not Jewish. Oh, we’re also not Republican. We lean Libertarian. :)

  4. Such a beautiful post, and similar to us also. I tend to be the one to bring up ideas about our parenting and lifestyle but I could never imagine how supportive and understanding Ian is. Lovely, lovely letter – maybe I’ll have to write one of my own someday :)

  5. Pingback: The Beauty of Using Montessori Principles of Freedom and Consistency | LivingMontessoriNow.com

  6. Pingback: ‘The Other Mums’ and The Great Illusion « Marija Smits

  7. Pingback: I Support You: Breastfeeding and Society | Natural Parents Network

  8. What a beautiful letter! So much touches me because of how it rings true for my partner as well — how supportive he’s been, how on board with the countercultural choices, and how hands-on with sharing the parenting. Thank you for sharing!

  9. This is so beautiful! My husband has been very similar in his submersion into parenthood, and I am also grateful every day to have a true partner in this project.

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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