Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Connection, Communication, Compassion

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Philosophy

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 shared their parenting practices and how they fit in with their parenting purpose. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

My parenting journey has already taken me on a route I could never have imagined before my children were born.  I was a career-driven woman, proud of my university degrees, moving up the ladder of success.  At 30, I was completing my Masters degree and I was just a couple of years away from becoming a vice-principal.  I owned a swanky downtown condominium.  I really thought I had things figured out.

Then I had a baby.  Then I had a few more.

I understood a little about Attachment Parenting in the early days of motherhood.  And when we decided not to send our kids to school I learned a lot more.

Along my journey I discovered Naomi Aldort and her book Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves.  I discovered Nonviolent Communication.  I learned about living organically.  And most recently I discovered The Work of Byron Katie.

All of these ideas have helped to shape my parenting practices and I have synthesized them into 3 C's.

  • Connection  Whenever I am feeling conflicted or confused about sleep, food or freedom, I ask myself Are my actions going to sustain and deepen my connection with my child or drive a wedge between us?
  • Communication  When anger or frustration bubbles, I stop to choose words that are gentle.  I ask myself Will my child feel loved or separated by my words?
  • Compassion  When I am overwhelmed (or my child is), I remember that my child is still new to the experience of LIFE and that I am the adult with the power to help or hurt.

Along with these 3 C's I have also come to develop an understanding of the importance of  4 EXPERIENCES OF TRUST.
  • The mother must trust her instinct to do what is best for her children.
  • The mother must trust her children to signal their authentic needs.
  • The children must freely trust that the mother is acting in their best interests.  (This happens when a child's trust has not been violated.)
  • The mother must open her heart to accept the authentic trust of the children.
(Of course, the concept of the 4 TRUSTs applies equally to all parents, not just the mother.)

It's all about the relationship.  Because if the relationship isn't the priority, then what is?

Have you synthesized several parenting 'philosophies' into one that makes sense for you?


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:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon July 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Between Love and Fear: On Raising our Children Sensibly — Mamma Earthly at Give an Earthly discusses the fear factor in parenting and how she overcame it, despite societal pressures.
  • really, when do i get my cape? — Sarah at small bird on fire is a working city mama trying to learn how to set aside her expectations of perfection and embrace the reality of modern parenting.
  • Baby, Infant, and Toddler Wearing — Child wearing is part of Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured's parenting philosophy. In this post, Sarah describes benefits of child-wearing and gives tips for wearing babies, infants, and toddlers (even while pregnant).
  • First Year Reflections — As her daughter's first birthday approaches, Holly at First Year Reflections reflects on how she and her husband settled into attachment parenting after initially doing what they thought everyone else did.
  • Making an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a guest post from Sam about the unexpected lessons giving a four-year-old an allowance teaches the child — and the parent.
  • How to be a Lazy Parent and Still Raise Great Kids — Lisa at Granola Catholic talks about how being a Lazy Parent has helped her to raise Great Kids.
  • Philosophy in Practice — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how her heart shaped the parenting philosophy in her home.
  • What is Attachment Parenting Anyway? — Gaby at Tmuffin describes the challenges of putting a label on her parenting philosophy.
  • Of Parenting Styles — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom talks about how she and her husband tailored various parenting styles to fit their own preferred parenting philosophy.
  • Moment by Moment Parenting — Amy at Peace 4 Parents encourages those who care for children (including herself) to explore and appreciate parenting moment-by-moment with clarity, intention, trust, and action.
  • Maintaining Spirituality in the Midst of Everyday Parenting, Marriage, and Life — Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured shares her perspective on finding opportunities for spiritual growth in every day life.
  • Parenting Philosophy — Lily, aka Witch Mom's parenting philosophy is to raise child(ren) to be compassionate, loving, inquisitive, and questioning adults who can be trusted to make decisions for themselves in a way that avoids harming others.
  • Long Term — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis thinks about who she would like to see her daughter become — and what she can do now to lay a strong foundation for those hopes.
  • Connection, Communication, Compassion — She's come a long way, baby! After dropping her career in favour of motherhood, Patti at Jazzy Mama discovered that building solid relationships was going to be her only parenting priority.
  • My Parenting Inspirations - Part 4 — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at her biggest parenting inspiration and how that translates into her long-term parenting philosophy.
  • A Parenting Philosophy in One Word: Respect — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction summarizes her parenting and relationship philosophy in one word: respect.
  • Knowledge and Instinct — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that knowledge and instinct are super important … as are love, encouragement and respect. It's the ideal combo needed to raise happy and healthy children and in turn create meaningful relationships with them.
  • THRIVE!The Sparkle Mama wants to set a tone of confidence, abundance, and happiness in her home that will be the foundation for the rest of her daughter's life.
  • On Children — "Your children are not your children," say Kahlil Gibran and Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • This One Life Together — Ariadne aka Mudpiemama shares her philosophy of parenting: living fully in the here and now and building the foundation for a happy and healthy life.
  • Enjoying life and planning for a bright future — Olivia at Write About Birth shares her most important parenting dilemmas and pours out her heart about past trauma and how healing made her a better parent.
  • My Parenting Philosophy: Unconditional and Natural Love — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about her parenting philosophy from a year of following her instincts as a mama.
  • An open letter to my children — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine writes an open letter to her children.
  • My Starter Kit for Unconditional Parenting — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses her wish to raise a good person and summarizes some of the nontraditional practices she's using with her toddler son in order to fulfill that wish.
  • Responsiveness — Sheila at A Gift Universe has many philosophies and goals, but what it all boils down to is responsiveness: listening to what her son wants and providing what he needs.
  • Tools for Creating Your Parenting Philosophy — Have you ever really thought about your parenting purpose? Knowing your long-term goals can help you parent with more intent in your daily interactions. Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers exercises and ideas to help you create your own parenting philosophy.
  • Be a Daisy — Becky at Old New Legacy philosophizes about individuality and how she thinks it's important for her daughter's growth.
  • What's a Mama to Do? — Amyables at Toddler in Tow hopes that her dedication to compassionate parenting will keep her children from becoming too self-critical as adults.
  • grown-up anxieties. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life explains her lone worry concerning her babies growing up.
  • Why I Used Montessori Principles in My Parenting Philosophy — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why she chose Montessori principles to help her now-adult children develop qualities she wanted to see in them as children and adults.
  • Parenting Philosophies & Planning for the FutureMomma Jorje considers that the future is maybe just a fringe benefit of doing what feels right now.
  • Not Just Getting Through — Rachael at The Variegated Life asks what truths she hopes to express even in the most commonplace interactions with her son.
  • Parenting Philosophy? Eh... — Ana at Pandamoly shares the philosophy (or lack thereof) being employed to (hopefully) raise a respectful, loving, and responsible child.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Being Present — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the changes her family has made to accommodate their parenting philosophy and to reflect their ideals as working parents.
  • Who They Will Be — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro shares a short list of some qualities she hopes she is instilling in her children at this very moment.
  • Short Term vs. Long Term — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts how long term parenting goals often get lost in the details of everyday life with two kids.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Practicing and Nurturing Peace — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle sets personal goals for developing greater peace.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 1: The Yamas — In part 1 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie guest posts at Natural Parents Network about how the Yoga Sutras provide a framework for her parenting philosophy.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 2: The Niyamas — In part 2 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie explores how the Niyamas (one of the eight limbs in traditional Yoga) help her maintain her parenting and life focus.
  • Our Sample Parenting Plan — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shares hopes of who her children will become and parenting strategies she employs to get them there.
  • Philosophical Parenting: Letting Go — Jona at Life, Intertwined ponders the notion that there's no right answer when it comes to parenting.
  • Unphilosophizing? — jessica at instead of institutions wonders about the usefulness of navel gazing.
  • Parenting Sensitively — Amy at Anktangle uses her sensitivity to mother her child in ways that both nurture and affirm.
  • how to nurture your relationships — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog believes that sometimes all kids need is a jolly good listening to …
  • Philosophy Of An Unnatural Parent — Dr. Sarah at Good Enough Mum sees parenting as a process of guiding her children to develop the skills they'll need.
  • Life with a Challenging Kid: Hidden Blessings — Wendy at High Needs Attachment shares the challenges and joys of raising a high needs child.
  • Flying by the Seat of My Pants — Heather at Very Nearly Hippy has realized that she has no idea what she's doing.


  1. Mmm, those are great ones! I love your thoughts about the types of trust. I'd never thought about it from all those angles before.

  2. I need to print out some of these thoughts and stick them up on my walls. Or hire a little fairy to come sit on my shoulder and whisper them to me during tough parenting moments. I love your 3 C's!

  3. So good! Your 3 C's remind me of the philosophy in Connection Parenting (one of our favorite parenting books so far). Every choice, every interaction with our child, has the ability to bring connection or division in our relationship.

  4. thank you. i'm just beginning my natural parenting journey. i love the 3 c's. thank you!

  5. Awesome post! I always love what you have to write and I feel a connection since you and I both had similiar begginings before children. Funny how they halted us in our professional tracks eh? You 3C's are invaluable and worth printing and tacking to the fridge as a reminder during my less than stellar moments as a mama. That you for such an inspiring post!

  6. your post made me thankful again for having been able to change focus. I used to work 10-12 hours in a law firm and yes, i still miss it. but being able to go home before the sun sets, and being able to spend some time playing with my toddler makes the switch to an alternative career worth it!

  7. I think we have a lot in common. I also gave up my career to be a full-time mama. Best decision ever (if not a difficult one!). I also completely agree with you that the parent-child relationship comes first. I love how you've captured a beautiful parenting style with your 3 C's.

  8. Thank you for this post. Your 3 C's really grounded me and brought me back to what's important. I included you in my Inspiration Thursday post this week because a spark just went off in my head when I read this. Your 3 C's gave me my own C: they centered me.

  9. Reading your story made me remember how I changed "career" paths. I was on my way up the non-profit ladder when I had my first daughter, and never came back to work. I was just soo much in love with my daughter. I could not imagine leaving her with anyone else. There have been days when I would not have traded staying home for the world and other times I feel that it would have been easier to let the daycare parent my children.

  10. Hi, Thank you so much for sharing your 3 C's. I was so happy while reading it and felt like crying after reading it. Thank you.