Jennifer Saleem is one of our Ask the Mentor mentors. She and her husband have been married for four years and they have one daughter. They were not actively trying to conceive, but when she got pregnant, they had no reservations about scaling back their lives so that Jennifer could be a full time stay at home mother.
Jennifer learned all about Natural Parenting from the best source, her mom. She never questioned whether she would breastfeed, cloth diaper, co-sleep, babywear, or be a peaceful parent, as it was already a part of who she is. As a former preschool teacher, she thinks that raising a Waldorf child encompasses much of what NP does. “I particularly feel that it is important to respond with love and sensitivity, to provide consistent and loving care and to create a daily rhythm that is balanced and allows for plenty of natural learning.”
A believer that for the first few years of a child’s life, a consistent and family centered routine is the best thing for young children, Jennifer and her daughter spend most of their time with each other. Together they wake up, have breakfast, do chores, go on walks or play outside, eat lunch, nap, do more work, spend more time outside, have dinner, take a bath, and head to bed. Her daughter especially loves animals and “could sit and watch the neighbors’ horses, sheep, chickens, and ducks for hours!” Jennifer’s husband works odd hours, so she is the primary parent 97% of the time. Occasionally her parents will watch the little one for her so she can have some time to herself but right now she feels that respecting her daughter’s need for Mama is more important then anything else. “I want to respect her need for me. Slowly my life will allow for better balance but that is a work in progress.”
Jennifer started blogging earlier this year after guest posting on a few other parenting blogs and realizing that she really enjoyed sharing her viewpoint with the world. “I hope that I can inspire, motivate, touch, and open the minds of others through my journey as a mother.” She writes about Natural Parenting, raising children in the spirit of Rudolf Steiner/Waldorf teachings, and eating and preparing traditional foods. Her three favorite posts are:
- Don’t Say No To Me, a great collection of suggestions to help you avoid “No” overuse with your little one. I love ways that help me work collaboratively with my child, instead of fighting.
- Emotional Warmth, “All parents understand the importance of keeping a child warm on a cold day but what about meeting a child’s emotional needs through warmth and love.”
- You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression, a guest post Jennifer wrote for The Accidental Natural Mama about the importance of bonding with your newborn.
If she could change one thing about the world today, it would be the culture of violence that is so pervasive in our society. Because we hear about so many bad things, parents can feel forced to instill a sense of fear in their kids from a very early age, which keeps them from being free to enjoy their youth. “Children should not have to worry about anything other than being a child, developing a healthy imagination, and play, play, play!”
Jennifer, thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. I always enjoy the thoughtful and gentle perspective you provide to the difficult questions posed by our members. Good luck with your new business!
Photo credit: Khalid Saleem (used with permission)