Today is a world of demands- our time, our energy, our focus, our money. If we focus on all the “need to do’s, there is never time left to just be! Life shouldn’t be about making sure the dishes are done and the lunches are made. Most parents want to find more time to be present with their children.
While many of these demands cannot simply be brushed aside, it does not mean that you cannot practice natural parenting ideals. Here are some easy ways to beat stress while staying true to the values of natural parenting.
Build the Village
There is an old adage that it takes a village to raise a child. It’s the truth! Today parents are more likely to be parenting in a village of two. So what is a Natural Parent to do?
You make the village yourself.
Either in your area or online, there are a lot of great groups dedicated to all the different niches within Natural Parenting. From an online community aimed at helping new parents get started with cloth diapering, to Meetup.org for something more local. Who knows? You might develop lasting friendships with people who will see you through the many trials of being a parent. Start by checking the Natural Parents Network Forum and Facebook page – you might find someone there who lives down the street!
Remember the Relationship
Having a child redefines who we are. From hormones to finances, to the very real fatigue and stress becoming a parenting throws at you, your relationship with your significant other can often be moved to the lowest priority.
First, be patient. Take even one minute out of the busy day to check up on your partner. Ask questions. A simple text message can be the difference between your partner feeling ignored and knowing you still care.
After asking questions, stop and listen. Listen to what s/he says, as well as what s/he doesn’t say. Listen to the emotion behind the words; often that will bring you closer to what s/he’s trying to say than anything else. After that, take the time to respond to what you hear. It doesn’t have to be a big demonstration. A little gesture or expression goes a long way.
Respect the Learning Curve
Whether it’s the first child or the seventh, there’s always a learning curve. Give it the respect it deserves. It’s damaging to your own spirit to compare your parenting abilities with anyone other than yourself. NP is about connecting with our children, learning about them as individuals, and learning about yourself. It’s about growth, not being better than the “Supermom” next door.
Natural Parents and Working are Not Mutually Exclusive
There, I said it! Believe it or not, children can benefit from part-time NP. Remember, NP is about connecting and being genuine, not about how many cloth diapers you can sew by hand or how soon after birth your newborn and you mastered EC. While it is true that these things are included under the umbrella of NP, holding true to every detail is not a requisite to making happy and effective Natural Parents.
Learn to Delegate
For many it’s difficult to “just realize your limitations and accept what you can’t do,” as my mother is fond of saying. Learn to delegate responsibility . . . and then learn to let it go. The world doesn’t have to rest entirely on your shoulders. Family or good friends who don’t mind babysitting and are supportive of your NP lifestyle are a great place to start.
All too often families find themselves thousand miles away from any family, or new in town and without friends yet. Local midwives or a doula school in your area might serve as possible references. They always have interns who are looking for experience or hours to fill for their requirements. These young women are already familiar with most, if not all, aspects of NP and can probably give you helpful tips or systems to make your life even easier.
If all else fails, you can always try SitterCity.com or Care.com and post a job asking for a babysitter/housekeeper who is familiar with and supportive of the NP lifestyle. Chances are you’ll find a few people who fit your criteria or are willing to learn. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship!
As with everything, take what works from this list and toss the rest. To me, that’s the most beautiful aspect of being a Natural Parent – it’s all about what works for you and your family.
Photo Credit: Clker.com
Delena Silverfox is a freelance writer and full-time WAHM. She is currently studying Psychology at Grand Canyon University and is scheduled to obtain her degree by 2012. Natural Parenting is one of her passions and her mission is to help make NP accessible for everyone. You can find her at The Modern Aboriginal Mama.