The Art of Letting Go by Teresa Palmer
If I am to sum up the “type” of parent I am I guess I would be most aligned with the philosophies encouraged by the natural parenting movement. This includes practicing co-sleeping, baby wearing, feeding on demand, gentle disciple, natural birth, cloth diapering, observe more interfere less etc. However it’s only because society feels the need to put people in a box that I’ve searched for what “group” I belong to. I am proud of the parenting choices I’ve made but not because I believe my way of doing things to be superior but because I have found a way in which my son and I have a beautiful FLOW. I meet his needs when his needs arise, not according to a schedule or a pre set routine.
This works for us because it is what we believe in and it also supports the gypsy lifestyle our family leads. We are constantly traveling and changing time zones and working intensely for periods of time and then having stretches of time off. Our case is very different to other families situations and therefore we have found strategies that work for us. My fellow Your Zen Mama soul sis Sarah and her husband Eric have found what works for them and whilst we share the same philosophies their way is unique to them and looks different from ours, as it should.
Right before I gave birth I was so set on the “way” I would raise Bodhi. I had boundaries in place, structure figured out and rules laid out (I.e never allowed to watch media, no plastic toys, baby wearing exclusively until 6 months etc) when he arrived in a manner that I did not anticipate (I was planning a home birth and ended up birthing in the hospital) it gave me the most liberating gift, the presence of mind to embrace what it means to let go of control. It has been my philosophy in parenting so far. Trusting that innate mama instinct inside of you, being equipped with some ideas of the direction you want to go and then letting it go and free flowing.
Guess what? We own some “dreaded” plastic toys with colors and lights and music. Bodhi loves them! We even (shock horror) had a Fisher and Price baby swing that lulled him to sleep when he was little and I needed a shower or just a moments break from holding him. We also bought and used a stroller before 6 months, we stopped cloth diapering at 9 months, he sits and watches his half brother play Wii on the tv on the weekends and all of his clothes aren’t exclusively organic. Yet at 14 months he still loves breastfeeding and we fall asleep spooned together in bed, I love carrying him in the ergo, our car seat is organic, he plays with tons of wooden blocks and food derived paints, we use biodegradable nappies and I look forward to tackling tandem breastfeeding with my next baby if we should be so lucky.
Parenthood is all a balance and if we can shift our focus from striving to do things perfectly and exactly in line with our master plan then we will be creating a space to be even more present with our kids without the judgement of ourselves and each other.