Featured Blogger: Shannon Hillinger
Shannon, our former Featured Blogger Editor and current Pinterest pinner, and her husband, Walker, live in the Pacific Northwest with their two children. Baby Davis, who was born this past December and big sister, four-year-old Moira. Shannon and Walker recently moved to a larger home with her parents. Due to Shannon’s mother’s MS, the two-story home she was residing in was no longer meeting her needs. Together as a family, they strive to practice equally shared parenting. Shannon and Walker are eager to share their love of gaming, music, reading, the arts, cars, and geekery with their two beautiful children.
What has surprised Shannon the most about being a parent is the struggle that it is. As a nanny for 12 years, she always knew that parenting would be harder than caring for someone else’s children, but she didn’t realize exactly how much harder it can be. While much tougher than she imagined, Shannon is grateful for her time as a nanny as she saw firsthand the benefits of natural parenting. “My experience as a nanny let me see lots of other parenting styles. The children I knew who were raised in the Attachment Parenting style have turned into the happiest and most interesting adults. I also saw first hand the changes that fear- and shame-based parenting can cause in a child.”
Even through the grind of daily life Shannon is able to appreciate the beauty of her world around her. She says “I think [being a parent] has made me a better partner. As I become more practiced at honoring my children’s true selves, I find it easier to do so for everyone. I have read much parenting advice that says you should treat your kids the way you would treat an adult, and I really took that to heart in the other direction. If I don’t think it’s appropriate to yell at my child for forgetting to put her clothes in the hamper, maybe I also shouldn’t yell at Walker when he leaves the sponge in the sink.”
Everyone could benefit by taking a page from Shannon’s book which clearly includes making lots of time for her family as well as honouring the bond she and her husband share. As part of their daily routine, at dinner every night the whole family takes turns talking about their favorite part of the day. After dinner is bedtime for the kids while the adults all spend quality time together and relax.
Sometimes, the way to being the best mother and partner that you can be is ensuring that you are taking time to honour and cherish yourself as well, which is clearly something Shannon and Walker work together on. “On the weekends, we try to make sure there is time together as a family, as well as time alone for Walker and I each. We also take turns sleeping in.”
Shannon’s blog is always insightful, inspiring, creative, and sometimes just downright funny. Always evolving, she started her blog on LiveJournal quite some time ago. After her daughter was born she realized she had more to share with a wider audience then was available on LiveJournal, and she switched to Blogger. If you randomly click around her blog, you might stumble upon one of the following posts which are among Shannon’s favorite posts.
- Let’s Talk About Diversity, is one of her favorites because the subject is near and dear to her heart. She feels pride that our world seems to be moving in the direction of more tolerance and that her children will look back on the way people treated the LGBT community and wonder what we were thinking.
- This is All New to Me is a post that every new mother can relate to! It was written very early in her parenting when she first realized that people were comparing themselves to other parents favorably and unfavorably. Over four years and two babies later, Shannon still agrees with what she wrote. She notes the only exception is that the longer she parents, the less she judges others.
- Wait, What? is a wonderfully inspiring post about another topic that is near and dear to her heart, size acceptance. Shannon wishes that people could embrace their whole selves, including their body, where ever it is in the size spectrum.
You know you want more Shannon! And you can get it over on Pineapples & Artichokes! You can follow her on Pinterest and Google + too! Thank you Shannon, for sharing your journey through parenthood with us! Your blog is always refreshingly honest and inspiring, and it’s a blessing to be able to learn with you through your journey of natural parenting!
Arpita has a background in sociology and psychology and is studying to be a Post Partum Doula. She has a special interest in helping mothers establish the breastfeeding relationship and sharing information about natural/attachment parenting. She lives in Canada with her husband. As they await their first pregnancy, Arpita writes about alternative fertility treatments including acupuncture for fertility, naturopathic medicine and ayurvedic medicine (and offers giveaways) at Up, Down and Natural. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, cooking, baking, knitting, scrapbooking and photography.
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