I Offer the Truth

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy

This post was written for the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. Read to the end to find the submissions of other carnival participants. :)

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There is a reason my bio describes me as “gentle, yet direct”. Maybe it’s the fact that I was born under the sign of Gemini and maybe it’s because of the passion that burns within me to help parents liberate themselves from parenting ways that just don’t work for them – so they can make the most of the time they have with their kids. Either way, I walk the line of compassionately advocating for healthy, gentle parenting choices by offering the truth.

Who am I to offer “the truth”? Allow me to explain how I offer it.

I offer the raw truth of the my story, the truth of what is possible for parents who are willing to explore in great depth their own psyche and motivations, the truth of what I hear they don’t want in their parenting experience, a clear reflection of what they do want and how they can bring that about.

I offer the truth of my present moment interaction with the parent, what I am hearing-sensing-feeling, what can transpire if one suspends limitation for a moment, and possible practices that may assist in achieving ultimate parenting goals.

I offer the truth that all of the ideas we think are “the truth” are just ideas. We must make determinations for ourselves about what ideas we hold true because ideas are what become our words, then actions. If we are experiencing suffering of some sort we get to be responsible for finding our way out of it, asking for help when we need it.

I used to feel like parents “should” do it this way or that way, for the baby, for the parent, for the environment, for the planet. Now, I release judgment to meet the parent in the moment with love.  It looks like this.

Accept. I accept each parent as a magnificent being who I am privileged to be interacting with. If this is a struggle at any point I choose to notice judgmental thoughts and focus on appreciating this person for who they are right now. Whether the person engages in “natural parenting” practices or not is irrelevant. I acknowledge the person as unique and valuable. I look for ways to see the truth that this parent is more like me than different. I believe we both want the best for our children and to enjoy the parenting experience.

Listen. I listen on the inside first. Focusing my attention on the rhythm of my breath, the space inside of my body, noticing any thoughts or reactions I am having, I become present in the moment with myself and the other parent. I notice any judgments that arise and see them as that – human judgments – not fact or fiction, per se. Just judgments. Then I can fully listen to the other parent.

Maybe we’re just having a casual conversation or maybe we’re watching our kids play. If something comes up that needs attention I listen deeper. I find it amusing to watch the thoughts that may come up in response to certain situations or topics of interest. It is fascinating how the mind makes connections from this to that, all for the purpose of coming to a conclusion or judgment. Watch your mind for a while – it’s a trip.

Honor. If I need to attend to my child I will do so in the way that works for me and honors the others in our presence. It’s taken some practice to be able to do this. A large part of the parenting journey is about working through other people’s judgments, which often reflect inner judgment we’re holding onto without realizing it. Of course, once we realize it we can let it go or transform it into a strength.

I encourage parents to honor themselves and their children in the ways that work for them and to make changes as necessary. Once we approve of ourselves we realize the need to change another, have someone agree with us or impose our ideas on another literally melts away. We may also experience a synchronicity in our interactions where the people we are around have similar values or can benefit from what we have to offer.

Offer. Sometimes a helpful idea pops up and I offer it as an option. Maybe a parent is struggling with a certain aspect of life or a child’s behavior. I tune into what they are looking for – sympathy, a space to vent or a solution. I offer space and solutions that communicate the parent is exactly where they need to be, they have the guidance inside to navigate life and that they are finding their way to the parenting experience they desire.

I offer this because I feel it is the truth.

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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!

Enjoy the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • 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.
  • Baby Sling Carriers Make Great Compassionate Advocacy Tools — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shared her babywearing knowledge — and her sling — with a new mom.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Who needs Superman when we have a community of compassionate advocates?! Dionna at Code Name: Mama believes that our community of gentle bloggers are the true superheroes.
  • Words of advice: compassionately advocating for my parenting choices — MrsH at Fleeting Moments waits to give advice until she’s been asked, resulting in fewer advocacy moments but very high responsiveness from parents all over the spectrum of parenting approaches.
  • Peaceful Parenting — Peaceful parenting shows at Living Peacefully with Children with an atypical comment from a stranger.
  • Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
  • Gentle is as Gentle Does — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how she is gently advocating her parenting style.
  • Walking on Air — Rachael at The Variegated Life wants you to know that she has no idea what she’s doing — and it’s a gift.
  • Parenting with my head, my heart, and my gut — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her thoughts on being a compassionate advocate of natural parenting as a blogger.
  • At Peace With the World — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry talks about being an advocate for peaceful parenting at 10,000 feet.
  • Putting a public face on “holistic” — Being public about her convictions is a must for Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, but it takes some delicacy.
  • Just Be; Just Do. — Amy at Anktangle believes strongly about her parenting methods, and also that the way to get people to take notice is to simply live her life and parent the best she knows how.
  • One Parent at a Time… — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that advocating for Natural Parenting is best accomplished by walking the walk.
  • Self-compassion — We’re great at caring for and supporting others —from our kiddos to other mamas — but Lisa at Gems of Delight shares a post about treating ourselves with that same sense of compassion.
  • Using Montessori Principles to Advocate Natural Parenting — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how she uses Montessori principles to be a compassionate advocate for natural parenting.
  • Advocacy? Me? — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers that by “just doing her thing,” she may be advocating for natural parenting.
  • Feeding by Example — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip shares her experience of being the first one of her generation to parent.
  • Compassionate Consumerism — Erica at ChildOrganics encourages her children to be compassionate consumers and discusses the benefits of buying local and fair trade products.
  • The Importance of Advocating Compassionately — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood acts as a compassionate advocate by sharing information with many in the hopes of reaching a few.
  • Some Thoughts on Gentle Discipline — Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares her thoughts and some tips on Gentle Discipline.
  • Compassionate Advocacy: Sharing Resources, Spreading the Love — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares how her passion for making natural choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting have supported others in Dominica and beyond.
  • A journey to compassion and connection — Jessica at Instead of Institutions shares her journey from know-it-all to authentic advocacy.
  • Advocacy Through Openness, Respect, and Understanding — Melissa at The New Mommy Files describes her view on belief, and how it has shaped the way she advocates for gentle parenting choices.
  • Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting!
  • Natural Love Creates Natural Happiness — A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a smile, or a giggle, or a gaze? Jessica at Cloth Diapering Mama’s kids are extremely social and their natural happiness is very obvious.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy — Even in the progressive SF Bay Area, Lily at Witch Mom finds she must defend some of her parenting choices.
  • A Tale of Four Milky Mamas — In this post The ArtsyMama shares how she has found ways to repay her childhood friend for the gift of milk.
  • Don’t tell me what to do — Pecky at benny and bex demonstrates compassionate advocacy through leading by example.

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About Amy Phoenix

Amy is a meditating mom of five committed to cultivating force free, trust full relationships.

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14 Responses to I Offer the Truth

  1. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama April 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Amy, I’ve told you before that I really love how warm and compassionate your responses are to NPN’s Ask the Mentor questions – you always manage to wrap each parent in love. I’m so glad you shared these steps! Thank you :)

  2. Lauren @ Hobo Mama April 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    That was really beautiful. I feel like I need to bookmark this and come back to it often to direct myself into these steps. I love the idea of being present and aware and accepting of each person who comes into my path.

  3. rebecca April 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    wow. thanks so much for this. I’ve been working on mindfulness, and you break it down very well. I’m not a parent (yet!?) but this way of seeing people will work with anyone. thanks for your thoughts.

  4. Kat April 12, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    Beautifully written post! So much of what you say resonated with the way I approach life and interactions with other people and parents. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. The ArtsyMama April 12, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Hi Amy – This was a really great post. I felt like I was sitting there with you just having a talk and going through the process of listening with you. I love how you are not in their face with “the answer” and that you offer yourself to them and help them find their way. Thank you for doing what you do!

  6. Momma Jorje April 12, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    Hm. Interesting approach and description of it, too. Thanks for participating in the carnival.

    Food for thought.

  7. Amy Phoenix April 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    I define natural parenting slightly different than most… parenting in awareness of one’s true *nature*

    I suppose I could have inserted that, but I chose to focus on compassionate advocacy/communication and parenting.

    There are many “right” ways and while I do feel many “natural parenting” practices can contribute to healthy families I don’t want to thrust them on anyone. I just want to offer what comes to me in the moment with love. A very worth while practice…

    Thank you for commenting, everyone. I do value your feedback.

  8. Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama April 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    Whew….BEAUTIFUL! That was one of the best posts I have read. Your words cut deep and made me immediately reflect on my own response and approach to others. “Now, I release judgment to meet the parent in the moment with love.” That is an incredibly powerful statement. It can actually cross over to other situations with other people, i.e. your children, spouse, family members, friends, etc. Thank you for this post. It is something that I am going to reflect on, meditate about and make a part of my being. I have a million other thoughts running through my head but words just do not seem to be able to describe what I am feeling from this post. Thank you again! Ahhhhh!

  9. Kelly April 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Beautiful, loving post.

    I love how acceptance is at the top of your list. :)

  10. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ April 14, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    Great post for CarNatPar. I love how you treat compassionately interacting with others as a mindfulness practice. I really identify with this post

  11. Stacy (Mama-Om) April 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    I like the way you describe natural parenting. Love it!!

    This is an invaluable sharing.

    Thank you,
    Stacy

  12. Wolfmother April 16, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    I got tingles reading this post. It really hit what I am aiming to achieve in terms of parenting mindfully and I never really considered bringing it into my friendships as well. I am going to practice your suggestions in my life and see where it takes me. Very insightful, thank you!

  13. Mrs Green @ littlegreenblog.com April 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    You sound like an amazing person Amy, with many fine qualities. I feel that all the people you connect with are blessed by your presence and energies. Your attributes are those I aspire to, but rarely actually achieve! Thanks for the inspiration

  14. rebecca @ altared spaces May 3, 2011 at 5:03 am #

    “I listen on the inside first” I love this.

    When I listen to how my body responds to what I’m hearing I can hear a deeper level of truth. I can hear below the words. Wonderful articulation.

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