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This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing about how a co-parent has or has not supported us in our dedication to natural parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
My husband always says that if we had a million dollars our life would look a lot different than it does now. (No crap Matlock). But he actually means that if we had a lot more money than we do now our lives would be that much crunchier. We don’t always agree on parenting tactics, but I do agree with him on this.
Why yes. We could do so much more.
Of course all of the above would still apply. That goes without saying. We’d still practice attachment parenting principles (and hubby would still question whether they really apply to our specific children), but having a million dollars would give us the freedom to do it really well. Oh, perfection, how I love thee! And I would have that many more resources (one being time!) at my fingertips to further convince him that attachment parenting is relevant to parenting toddlers and older children. And I’d argue that it would give a number of other families the freedom to do the same, and breastfeed longer too. You know that darn lack of maternity leave in the United States that ensures moms have to choose between pumping or weaning? Millions of women wouldn’t need to make that choice if they got paid time off for a year. But I digress….
For starters, if we had a million dollars, we’d definitely homeschool/unschool. Right now, for a number of reasons, our oldest daughter goes to public school. Mainly because, although I’m a stay-at-home mom, I’m a working-at-home mom who takes care of other people’s children. This means that if I were to homeschool I wouldn’t be able to do it the way I think homeschooling needs to be done. She wouldn’t be able to attend all the extra-curricular activities I think homeschooled kids need, like music, art, and a sport. We wouldn’t be able to attend the homeschool meet-ups with other homeschooling parents and their kids or go on the naturalist field trips I heave heavy sighs over missing every time my homeschooling friends go. No, I need to stay home and be concerned about the nap, feeding, and school-attending times and creative and cognitive development of children who aren’t my own. However, if I didn’t have to contribute to our income, and my husband had a way better paying job, or someone were to give us a million dollars, we’d be teaching our kids the way of the world from the back seat of a dusty jeep, the top of a tourist bus, or the bow of a boat; on the Serengeti Plains, along La Champs Elysses, in The Gulf of Mexico.
My husband feels that if we had a million dollars, he would feel differently about how we spend money on food too, as this is where we differ. Ninety percent of the time I do the grocery shopping, and even if the figures in my bank account are dangling somewhere below zero I buy organic. That’s just the way I am. I want my family to eat as healthy as possible and I’m very committed to shopping as locally as possible and reducing our impact on the environment. My hubby, on the other hand, who has the burden of carrying the male gene that’s in a chronic tizzy about the financial state of his family, will buy the cheapest non-organic food there is. It’s not that he thinks it’s just as good as its organic counterpart or that we’re not worth the extra $2.25, he just wants to save money. And he says he doesn’t like to support a system that decides it’s okay to make the healthiest food more expensive, or even decipher between organic and non-organic. “It should all just be called food,” he says. “And it should all be organic.” So who’s wrong? Me for putting my family’s nutritive health above our finances? Or him for putting the finances before saving Mother Earth? I’m sure that depending on your own beliefs and values you’ll have a different opinion.
Now I know that some of you are thinking that this is a total cop out. If we all had a million dollars, all of our lives would be better. But since we don’t, we do the best we can. And it is possible to live your values and dreams without being rich, isn’t it?
Some homeschoolers will tell me that if I really valued homeschooling then I would find a way to do it. Well, what they fail to realize are all the other reasons I send my daughter to public school. The thing is, what I most value are the unique traits of my particular daughter and how to best school her.
As far as food goes, I could just make my husband not shop. Yeah right! Or I could grow my own veggies (check) or tie him to a chair and force his eyelids open and make him read about how he’s poisoning our family and the Earth with every non-organic loaf of bread he brings home. Um. Didn’t I already say yeah, right?
Moving right along then. Doesn’t everyone know someone who found a way to travel to foreign countries with their family on a shoestring budget? I know it can be done. Some people even travel the world with their families, unschooling their children all the way. I suppose we might be able to find a way to do this if we really, really tried to come up with a portable way of making lots of money. But since we both got the wrong kind of degrees when we went to university it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Although I did just apply to do my Masters degree, partly for this very reason, so I guess we’re already on this one.
I think what a million dollars could do for us that our current financial situation doesn’t do, is give us time and authenticity. Right now, like many families, we’re riding middle class on the coat tails of credit, which means we’re constantly paying off debt and squashing any likelihood of traveling to even see our relatives let alone the European countryside. Being in debt makes us argue and disagree on parenting issues, when at the root of them, we really, mainly agree on everything. So that’s why I think having a million dollars would solve our parenting disagreements and help us reach our parenting goals. Financial freedom equals less stress, less stress equals more happiness, more happiness equals living authentic lives.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- A Thank You to my Husband — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl thanks her husband for keeping her grounded and giving her unwavering support in the face of discouragement from within and without. (@lactatinggirl)
- My Reverse Traditional Husband In the Wild — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries gives us a lesson on how dads in the wild parent their young. Can you guess which male animal actually nurses its young? (@babydust)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting — TopHat at The Bee in Your Bonnet tells us how the patience of a partner can make a difficult breastfeeding relationship succeed. (@TopHat8855)
- Parenting Together — For Alison at BluebirdMama and her husband, parenting is simply an extension of the way they live. (@childbearing)
- If We Had A MIllion Dollars — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! and her husband would both agree to be crunchier parents if they had a million dollars to ease the way. (@bfmom)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Co-Parents — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has written a letter to her husband, thanking him for his incredible support in every aspect of their natural parenting journey. (@CodeNameMama)
- Natural Parenting Fathers — Sarah at Natural Parenting is balancing being all there for her son with being present for her husband. (@considereden)
- Just Wonderful: Love and Partners and Natural Parenting — Zoey at Good Goog let her husband lead her to babywearing and cosleeping. (@zoeyspeak)
- All that stuff I don’t get comes so easy to him — The Grumbles is taking this opportunity to say thank you to her husband for his mad parenting skills. (@thegrumbles)
- The Power of Having a Supportive Co-Parent — Chrystal at Happy Mothering and her husband started with vaccinations and moved on from there. (@HappyMothering)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Love and partners — Lauren at Hobo Mama makes do with babbling incoherently about how her husband practices natural parenting in such an effortless fashion, with bonus video. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Love and Partners — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her husband’s moving account of her birth story, and his testament to the power of a woman. (@myzerowaste)
- labor support… — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children is thankful that her partner has provided her immeasurable labor support through each of their last three unassisted homebirths (and will again for their upcoming fourth!).
- What co-parent? On prams, routines, ideals, sickness, and finding my way alone. — Ruth at Look Left of the Pleiades describes life without a present co-parent: making new choices and taking care of things herself. (@brightravenmum)
- Parenting With Support — How many people can say that their husband talked them into cloth diapering? Darcel at The Mahogany Way can! (@MahoganyWayMama)
- Co-Parenting Support — Summer at Mama2Mama Tips knows the importance of being supported in the face of criticism. (@mama2mamatips)
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Love and Partners — pchanner at A Mom’s Fresh Start has been blessed with an incredibly involved partner. Her husband loves to take part in every aspect of parenting! (@pchanner)
- Daddy’s Little Girls — Kate Wicker at Momopoly finds her husband right at home in a tangle of girls. (@Momopoly)
- How do I love my parenting partner? Let me count the ways. — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker is thankful that she and her partner co-parent fluidly and gracefully. (@mamamilkers)
- Interview with a Daddy — NavelgazingBajan brings us a highly amusing peek into her husband’s perspective.
- Being Supported in Natural Parenting — Sarah at OneStarryNight has witnessed both ends of the parenting spectrum, and is grateful she found a father who is comfortable with natural parenting. (@starrymom)
- Moments in time: a love letter — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick will make you cry with the beautiful way she describes the complete relationship between father and child. (@RaisingBoychick)
- Natural parenting converts — Jen at Recovering Procrastinator brought her reluctant husband around to cloth diapers, bed sharing, and time-ins as a discipline method. (@jenwestpfahl)
- Breastfeeding Father — Amber Strocel at Strocel.com describes how her husband helped her overcome the breastfeeding challenges she encountered with her premature daughter. (@AmberStrocel)
- A Natural Parenting Village — Acacia from Art, Body & Soul, in a guest post for Jamie at Suddenly Stay at Home, broadens the term “coparents” to embrace supportive extended family on both sides. (@SuddnlyStyAtHme)
- A Natural Dad — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest doesn’t have a husband who merely supports her — she has a husband just as dedicated to natural parenting as she is.
- Love and Support From My (sometimes pantsless) Man — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma describes life with the sometimes bumbling but always lovable Pantsless Man. (@kitchenwitch)
- G-O-T-E-A-M! — Jessica at This Is Worthwhile made sure her future husband agreed with her parenting choices early in their dating. (@tisworthwhile)
- how we come to parenthood — Michelle at womanseekingmother dances with her husband around the subject of cosleeping. (@seekingmother)
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