12 April 2011

I Am the Change

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy

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 how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


When I find out someone I know is having a child, depending on how close I am, I immediately open myself up to her, offering any help I can give if she desires it. That is the extent of what I do, unless of course she actually acts upon my offer.  After I throw my knowledge out there in an ‘if you ever need anything/have any questions, just ask’ way, I sit back and wait. I bounce up and down metaphorically as I linger patiently to see if she will pick my brain, knowing that the slightest question she asks could cause me to erupt in a 500,000 thousand word sermon about anything and everything I believe in. Inevitably, this will cause her to shut down and retreat, covering her eyes and whispering, ‘I don’t know that woman.’

Recently, I received a wake-up call. To put it simply, I call upon the overused idiom, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I get annoyed by how frequently I see this statement (because I despise excess repetition of anything), but I have not stopped to really think about its meaning in quite some time. After someone gave me the nudge I needed, I looked in the mirror. If I want to give advice to anyone, answer anyone’s questions, be a better wife, mother, or citizen of the world, I first have to start with myself.

If I want other women/mothers to come to me with questions about nursing, baby wearing, cloth diapers, or natural parenting in general, I need to be the person they want information from. If I want my children to develop good habits, be respectful, open-minded, knowledgeable, caring and loving, I need to exemplify all of those things as their role model. If I want my husband to follow what I do and listen to everything I have to say, I first need to respect, acknowledge and show my gratitude for the work that he does to support our family. I am going to be the change I want to see in the world and that is the best way I know to be an advocate.


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 April 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
  • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
  • From the Heart — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
  • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
  • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
  • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don't share your views.
  • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
  • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
  • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
  • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don't parent the way you do.
  • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
  • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
  • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
  • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That's The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she's learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the "good news" of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
  • Compelling without repelling — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
  • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
  • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
  • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
  • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
  • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people's children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter's senior kindergarten room.
  • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the "great divide" through gently teaching and being teachable.
  • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
  • The Three R's of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how "The Three R's" can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
  • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
  • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
  • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.


  1. That saying might be overused, but it is oh so true - I don't think an advocate *can* be effective without practicing what she's preaching!

  2. Well said!

    Come & Join the Playdate!

  3. This is so simple that it should be easy to do, but it's not. I should print out that last paragraph and post it on my mirror! Thank you a beautiful post, Amanda.

  4. This is a reminder I needed today mama - thank you! :)

  5. I' ve been thinking about the example I set for my daughter lately. She is 7 months old, so I think it will really start becoming apparent that she is learning how to go through life by watching her father and I. This realization leads me to be present and aware of how I am leading my life! I like your new blog layout by the way!

  6. Yes! I have been thinking about this a lot lately, as well.

    There are many instances where I personally need to "grow up" a little -- let grudges or expectations go and just model the respect, kindness and attitude that I think is important.

  7. I really dig your post (enough to use the term "dig," even). I've been that person giving the 500,000-word answer and watching the listener's eyes glaze over. So, yeah — modeling instead of talking is probably where I need to focus my efforts.

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Lauren I think my terminology is just seeping into your brain. :)

  9. Whenever I get any questions about the way I am raising my children, I hand out two business cards.

    One is Naomi Aldort's card, author of Raising Our Children Raising Ourselves.

    The other is my card with the symbol and website for La Leche League (I am a leader).

    I figure if someone thinks something good about me and my children, they will go to the websites that I recommend that have directed us on our natural parenting journey.

    Plus, with 4 kids, I rarely have time to give someone a 500,000 word sermon! :-)

  10. My first blog had this as it's tag line. Overused or not, it has incredible value. Oh, wait! I just remembered! I wrote a post about that... http://thepracticaldilettante.com/2010/10/06/never-underestimate-the-power-of-a-good-bumper-sticker/

  11. Short and sweet and very wise! Loved reading your post :-)

  12. It is so important to remember to start with yourself. Thanks for the reminder!

  13. Thank you all so much :). I'm so pleased that you all enjoyed this :).

  14. I like this for CarNatPar. It is overused, but Gandhi's expressions, like this one are a bit deeper than how they're usually used, which is I think part of why their overuse is so annoying.

    But, agreed, shifts in consciousness have to begin within before you can begin to send them outward. Otherwise, they just create more noise and confusion.

  15. Exactly Zoie! That is the unfortunate way with so many things. Once they go mainstream and everyone knows what they are, the true meaning is almost lost entirely.