Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CNP: I cannot imagine parenting without ________.

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials
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 the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
When this prompt came across my screen for The Carnival of Natural Parenting I got two gut responses.  The first one being the identity of my parenting essential - the second being what would the reaction be to that item that I identify as the one thing I could not parent without.  I decided that it was too important to my story to not write about this and really to heck with the people that might feel that I should not be writing about this for a blog carnival for natural parenting ideals.

I'm going to keep you in suspense a little longer before I finish my title sentence.  Instead I will talk about why this is the one item I felt I could not parent without.  I would like to change that sentence though.  It is the one item I feel I could not be the parent I am today without.  I could have parented without this item - I might have been an okay parent but I would not have been the parent I am.

Parenting Without
When Little Man arrived I was in much the same situation that many of today's new mothers find themselves in - I was isolated from the friends and family that normally would have supported me.  My parents moved to Florida before I got married.  My brother moved to Florida soon after I got married.  My friends moved away after high school and college to pursue their dreams.  My husband and I moved to a new town "half-way" between our two jobs.  Sure his family lives only an hour from us but an hour in today's busy lives is more like a mountain, ocean and half a state to navigate.  My husband and I decided that the best plan of action for our family before Little Man arrived would be for him to work nights (and sleep days) so we would not have to send Little Man to daycare all day when I returned to work.  So after the initial influx of family and friends in the early days; for much of the day I was alone.
Right after Little man was born our pediatrician told me he had lost over a pound from birth and that I was starving him by trying to breastfeed.  From there went my downward spiral into depression and we will call it obsession.  I pumped round the clock in order to make sure Little man was getting the required calories from my milk.
At our frequent pediatrician visits the doctor told me I needed to make friends and join a mommy group. Well when you can barely get yourself up and dressed for the day, who wants to go meet new people?  So I compromised and started to email and text friends and family.  I felt like an imposition though because they were at work and I was home bothering them with silly new mommy questions.  We've all asked them so don't tell me some of them are not silly and that baby-less friends do not give a hoot about what color the diaper was this morning.

Parenting With
So now here is where I will reveal what my answer is to the statement: I cannot imagine parenting without _______.  It is my iPhone.  I know it sounds pretentious and if you've never owned one you may not understand.  So why is that my one item I could not be the parent I am without?  It is because the phone became my lifeline to the outside world and other mommies.   Here are a few of the reasons I chose this as my parenting tool.

  •  Message boards:  The iPhone had its own parenting message board application, Baby Buzz.  I am also able to use the browser to access other online message boards or forums like the NPN Community Discussion and The Leaky B@@b Forum.  I found answers to my silly questions and found that I also had answers to others silly questions as well.  iPhone gave me a network of friends.
  • Location services: I was able to find my nearest lactation consultant, directions to her office and a direct line to call for an appointment.  iPhone gave me back breastfeeding.
  • Blogging: I am able to read other blogs and check out the links they have connected to.  I can write my own blog and participate in commenting and discussion. iPhone gave me my voice as a parent.
  • Shopping: I can purchase and read that book recommendation.  I can buy the cloth diaper liners I forgot to order and cannot purchase from my local store.  I can use Red Laser and find the best deal on the item I am looking for. iPhone saved me time and money.
  • Connection with Family:  I can now send them photos and videos of all the fun we are having because Mama is not sad anymore and Little Man can laugh and run around.  iPhone gave Little Man his family connection.

I was able to use my iPhone to find these resources all while taking care of my son because I did not have to leave him to sit at a computer.  Having this tool gave me confidence to find myself as a parent.  Finding myself as a parent lifted the burden that had kept me and Little Man locked away from the world and each other. I will continue to use the iPhone while nursing Little Man and chasing him around the house to network and research the best options for our family.
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:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things's relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can't imagine parenting without her husband's sense of humor - he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can't imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs "me time" in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer's Daughter doesn't appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn't imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It's More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can't imagine parenting without her breasts; here's why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family's needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama's next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn't even know you needed (and probably don't…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn't survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it's afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren't things at all.
  • I'm No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without...Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can't imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it's not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn't easy at first, Knocked Up - Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can't live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What "stuff" does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I'm a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship...and made life easier to boot.
  • It's Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can't imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin' Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us...
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter's perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles - come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.
Photo Credit: Author


  1. Good for you!!!! I have definitely a love hate with my technology, but I LOVE my iphone for sure. Now I can't wait for the switch to Verizon!!!

  2. Well said, and I totally agree with you! When my son was born, I used an app called Total Baby to track his "input and output" because I too was swept into obsession over whether I was producing enough milk for him.
    Another app, called Memento, became a digital baby book as I used it to capture photos and memories of his earliest days.

  3. You need to see if iPhone will give you some freebies for product placement ;) I agree with the sentiment though - my parenting would have been MUCH different without my online support network and research options. It is invaluable!!

  4. I didn't get my iPhone until after my daughter's first year, but holy cow, it is life changing! No longer do I get lost on the way to new play groups; I can keep responding to emails as she nurses in her sleep; we can stay out to play longer because I know I'm not missing any vital work related emails. While I bemoan technology often, it's hard to even remember my pre-smartphone days.

  5. I also have found my strongest parenting network online, and I've been surprised how much my phone has helped me to stay connected with that while I'm out and about!

  6. Sometimes, as we parent, it is easy to feel very lonely and isolated so I understand how your immediate reply on your NO. 1 parenting essential was the tool you use to connect with others.

    I promise Mama, things will feel more balanced soon:-)

    Many blessings, xxx

  7. I love how you kept us in suspense!

    I was also told that my baby was starving... I think it was the saddest moment of my life. ;-(

  8. Thanks Ladies, I was worried everyone wouldn't understand. Thank you for the support that you give me here and every day. I'm so glad I have this tool to keep in contact with the world and my network of mommas.

  9. Well done you for voicing such an honest and raw post. The idea of finding parents via technology is something I've utilised a lot too but I've never given it so much thought as now - from reading your post. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Ooh! I'm jealous! I live in a place where we can't get AT&T. I'm really looking forward to my next opportunity to get a new phone when the iPhone comes to Verizon.

    But, I also agree with the sentiment of your post that while we in the natural parenting community do so much to limit screen time, it really isn't all bad. There's much to be gained from the various forms of technology that we can access. I guess like everything else we need to prioritize.

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