Free Your Mind by Laurie Morgan
Being an unassisted homebirthing, family bedding, breastfeeding, natural health promoting, home learning, attachment style, gentle guidance, and stay at home mothering advocate for the past five years or more has given me plenty of experience in critical thinking through the questioning of so-called “conventional wisdom.” But, as a mom of three I still find occasions where it’s valuable to examine my parenting assumptions on a daily basis.
Many parents are sucked into unhealthy, inefficient, ineffective patterns by simply accepting status quo. It took me more than 20 years just to realize that the method my mom taught me of folding bath towels twice in half and twice more in thirds was an extreme waste of my valuable time, energy, and patience. It took three toddler-hoods of pulling apart my neatly stacked piles to realize that it’s smarter to bend towels only enough to fit the cabinet (if you even bother to get them that far) and nothing more. Ever heard of picking your battles? Being a mother of three energetic girls under the age of five has taught me this valuable lesson to the extreme.
The towel folding episode was a simple lesson compared to some of those I and many of my alternative leaning friends have learned the hard way. One of my own biggest regrets is that I assumed without question that babies need (or are even benefitted by) assistance to be born. Two glorious, complication-free unattended births later, I know that birth itself needs no assistance at all, and that even “high risk” pregnancies are most often actually placed at greater risk by medical interference. Like I said though, it’s taken the courageous application of serious critical thinking to come to these conclusions, because they aren’t the popular ones held unquestioningly by most parents and parenting “experts.”
From such simple ideas as that babies must be bathed regularly in bubbles and plastic tubs, need pacifiers, bottles, swings and bouncy seats, disposable diapers, cribs, strollers, and vaccinations, must be left with strangers frequently and punished occasionally, all the way to the farce that is public education, every bit of modern parenting benefits from examination. In reality not only are all these I’ve listed actually optional, but many of them are far more dangerous and difficult than other options that are available.
Birthing babies freely at home, nursing cloth diapered babies unrestricted and skin to skin as we sleep peacefully and safely in the family bed. Entertaining, nurturing, and protecting them effortlessly and peacefully with free access to food and comfort throughout the day in a simple sling carrier. Supporting natural health by the best, most inexpensive nutrition and avoidance of “preventive” medicine. Learning in freedom with respectful guidance. These actions reward conscientious examination of parenting practices with greater overall ease, better health, security, true independence, freedom, stronger family bonds, and are even often the least expensive ways to live.
Materialistic parenting encourages materialism in children. Kids who have had simple parental attention and love replaced with the latest gadgets and goods require increasingly more and more of these to fill the bottomless pit of emotional lack that they will necessarily feel. Children who are unabashedly nurtured can be given realistic amounts of material blessings without becoming “spoiled” which is just another word for the dependence of addiction. Most of the popular parenting practices we see today are band aid reactions to problems that other popular practices such as technological birth, inferior feeding methods, ignoring babies’ need to be held and comforted, spanking, force-feeding cookie cutter “education,” and the like cause.
So much of modern parenting is swept up in social convention that this article could go on forever though. The simple answer for parents is to question, investigate, question some more and never stop. Some things you’ll end up doing just like everybody else because it really is the best choice for you and your family, but most often you’ll find that as far as parenting is concerned, if “everybody’s doing it” it’s probably potentially harmful. The only way to find out for sure is to free your mind and explore the choices for yourself.
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This was originally printed in GreenTit, an online journal I published years ago.