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Creating a Culture of Positive Parenting Role Models

Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have waxed poetic about how their parenting has inspired others, or how others have inspired them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


How do I want to be a parenting role model?  I want to model my parenting style in the same way that I model good behaviour for my kids – I try to make good decisions myself, admit when I’ve made a mistake and answer questions or offer advice when it is asked for.  I don’t want to be put on a pedestal, and I don’t want to take on a holier-than-thou attitud.  I want to teach others when there is solid evidence-based proof that a particular choice is healthier for babies or mothers or both, and sometimes I have the urge to evangelize.  I really believe that young babies shouldn’t be left to cry it out.  I really believe all babies should be breastfed.  I believe that natural birth is a realistic goal for women with low-risk pregnancies.  I want to be a positive role model and I also want to be an advocate and an educator, but I don’t want to annoy strangers on the bus by bombarding every pregnant woman I see with facts and figures about natural birth and midwives (even though I do sometimes have that urge).  I want to share facts with compassion, not judgement.

I try to be a role model in the way that other strong women in my life have modeled their parenting choices and inspired my own decision making process.  I loan out my copy of The Business of Being Born with my bin of maternity clothes each time a friend gets pregnant for the first time.  I breastfeed in public.  I give impromptu demonstrations on how to tie a front wrap cross carry at the local baby drop in group or the playground.  I also try to spread awareness of how safe and successful home births can be by telling anyone and everyone who asks that both girls were born at home and I had no problems whatsoever.  I especially love telling medical professionals about my home births.  When I donated breast milk to the milk bank the nurse I spoke to said that she only ever saw home birthers when they had transferred to hospital.  She never got to hear any of the success stories.  A big part of how I want to be a role model is by simply telling my stories, and this blog is a part of that.

Midwives checking out a newborn

A newly born Claire being examined after her home birth, one year ago.

Parenting has traditionally been passed down from generation to generation, like any other living culture.  We learn parenting skills from our own parents first through our experiences as a child and later, we learn more explicitly by asking questions of our parents, watching friends with children older than ours or by reading parenting books or asking experts for advice.  Now we also have scientific research on child development available to inform our parenting choices.  Much of that research is supporting the most primal and basic ways of parenting that were almost lost in our culture only a generation ago, such as breastfeeding.  Natural parenting is bringing many of these ancient ways of birthing babies and raising children back into the mainstream parenting culture.

By publicly practicing natural parenting and telling our stories we are helping to spread the word.  We are encouraging new moms who may feel alone or unsupported in their choices to practice natural parenting, and we are creating a culture of acceptance and respect for children, women and men that will help these parenting skills be passed on from family to family.  I want to be the kind of role model that strengthens and feeds the growth of a healthy culture, like the sweet bubbles in a sourdough starter that has been alive for eons.


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


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

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lauren @ Hobo Mama May 11, 2010, 1:29 am

    I think you have a wonderful attitude about how to pass on natural parenting: positive, upbeat, matter-of-fact, and non-preachy. I loved your point about how nurses probably have a skewed perspective on home birth, considering they see only the transfers. I never even thought of that, so it’s great you’re able to share your version!
    .-= Lauren @ Hobo Mama´s last blog ..May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model =-.

  • Dionna @ Code Name: Mama May 11, 2010, 5:03 am

    I love the fact that you loan out Business of Being Born to pregnant friends. Most of my friends (that aren’t NP minded already) live out of town – so I can’t really loan out copies. I do want to put together some type of “congrats on your pregnancy!” pack though, even if it’s mostly information.
    .-= Dionna @ Code Name: Mama´s last blog ..The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler #5 =-.

  • NavelgazingBajan May 11, 2010, 10:19 am

    I completely agree that being public with our choices and telling our stories can encourage others to educate themselves further. I try to do that and shy away from evangelizing as much as possible. At the same time, if someone shows an interest in something I’m doing or have done, I will gladly pass on as many resources as I can think of.
    .-= NavelgazingBajan´s last blog ..That Little Thing =-.

  • Deb May 11, 2010, 5:30 pm

    Just being ourselves can have such an impact. Something as simple as not smacking your child at playgroup and lending out wraps and carriers are all normalising raising children with thought and respect. And all of us quietly doing little bits adds up.
    .-= Deb´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – Science T-shirts =-.

  • Janet May 11, 2010, 6:31 pm

    I think the greatest service we can do for our communities and our children is to show that all these things are normal. They are normal, appropriate responses to the biological needs of human babies and human mamas. The joy in living congrunently wafts off your post like a deliciously scented ride at the only kind of fun park I like: life! ;-) Thank you, it’s really lovely!
    .-= Janet´s last blog ..Rest. Is it even possible? =-.

  • Kirsten May 11, 2010, 7:18 pm

    Thank you thank you for being MY parenting mentor. You are exactly the kind of mentor you hope to be – and the effects will ripple out as I hope to model my own parenting to new mamas and papas that I know.

  • Amber May 11, 2010, 8:57 pm

    I really think that through our public examples we are sowing seeds. We might never know it, but when we share our stories and live our lives others see and notice. It can make a difference. I know it has for me, and so I hope to do the same for others. I think that I have, and I’m sure that you have, too.
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Paying it Forward =-.

  • Sarah @ OneStarryNight May 12, 2010, 5:28 am

    What a lovely post! You are great for leading by example!
    .-= Sarah @ OneStarryNight´s last blog ..I’m a Parenting Inspiration, Who Knew! =-.

  • Erin W. / Beatnik Momma May 12, 2010, 6:10 am

    You know what? It’s people just like you, women who are sharing the way they live their lives and practice natural parenting through their blogs that inspired me to do so myself. I am SO thankful of that. No one in my area parents the way I do and it can feel ostracizing from time to time, so knowing that I only need to reach out online and support is there in an instant has been such a blessing.

    And just a side note – Dionna mentioned not being able to loan her movie to people from out of town. The Business of Being Born is on Netflix Instant and has been for the past 18 months or so. (I don’t think they will take it down.) So if your out of town friends have Netflix, tell them to get online and watch it!
    .-= Erin W. / Beatnik Momma´s last blog ..My Inspiration =-.

  • mamapoekie May 12, 2010, 8:31 am

    wonderful post. Pretty much the same as I feel about the subject. You have gained a follower :)
    .-= mamapoekie´s last blog ..The Best – And Worst – Places To Be A Mother =-.

  • Danielle May 12, 2010, 2:11 pm

    “I want to share facts with compassion, not judgement.”

    It’s such a fine line, sometimes. One that I really struggle with, especially when I am faced with individuals that have different opinions than me on my two hot buttons (breastfeeding and crying-it-out). It is so hard to be compassionate when you feel like your own parenting is being judged or the persons choices are simply not based in fact. So hard, I must try harder.
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..My Seven =-.

    • michelle May 14, 2010, 7:58 pm

      Thanks for all the wonderful comments, everyone. I wish I could respond to them all! I love participating in this carnival – everyone has such thoughtful comments to share. :)

  • Luschka May 20, 2010, 1:43 pm

    That’s a great attitude to have. I agree with you – its sometimes hard not to start preaching at every woman in public transport and on the street. But the changes have come first and foremost for those who have seen HOW I parent, rather than those who’ve been told how they should… if that makes sense. This was a lovely read.
    .-= Luschka´s last blog ..Upstream Parenting =-.

  • Annie June 26, 2010, 3:02 pm

    Thanks for this post. I do struggle sometimes with the line between sharing what I do/what I’m passionate about and evangalising or being dogmatic. Thanks for the reminder that simply parenting the way that I parent is often enough to teach people about another way of doing things, or that talking about my homebirth just in conversation is more useful than bombarding people with facts (which I don’t like doing so I often don’t mention birth at all…)