Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Love and partners!
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.

On our one-year anniversary of dating Anthony and I drove a couple of hours east to Galveston, TX to stay in a quaint, Victorian-style bed and breakfast on the Gulf Coast. We left in a rain storm, got lost, bickered, and arrived after hours to a key under the mat and a note from the innkeepers to come on in and make ourselves at home with the cheese plate and complimentary wine left for us.

We were hungry, irritable, and struggling to make lemonade out of our lemon-like evening when we climbed out our bedroom window to the rooftop patio. It was a chilly November night and you could just barely hear the lick of the coastal waters on the shore in the distance.

I remember this night so vividly for a few reasons, but one of the biggest was this was when we had our first real talk about parenting, our vision and our desires. Sitting on that chaise longue with a glass of white wine in one hand and cracker in the other I mentioned that I had always wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom and that it was something I'd always wanted since I could remember.

I was so relieved to discover that he wouldn't spank either, that he loved the idea of breastfeeding for however long I wanted, and also (eventually) was warm to the idea of me dropping out of the workforce to care for our children.

It was a really difficult discussion to have so early in our relationship. We'd only been living together for six months and marriage had never even been discussed, but I had dated other men who had differed wildly from my core beliefs in the past and I had always known that those differences were deal breakers. I could never be with a man who wanted to strike my child. Nor could I be with a man who viewed my full-time care-taking as "lazy" or "not working." And neither could I be with a man who decided what I should do with my breasts.

Fast forward almost three years to the day from that night and Hollis was born. I had read The Baby Book, by Dr. Sears, and What to Expect the First Year and I was definitely more drawn to the attachment parenting style. Cry-It-Out and Ferberizing and all that just seemed too easy (and frankly painful) and when it came time to put our money where our mouth was we fell towards an AP lifestyle naturally.

Anthony took off a month of work that first month to bond with the baby and take care of me; we co-slept, I nursed on demand, and Hollis' needs always came first those first several critical months. Anthony always supported whatever decision I made since I had moved into the expert-role of parent while he switched gears to head back to work full-time.

Very occasionally we differ on a topic, but it's usually about a nuance, not on the fundamentals. In an old post about my parenting philosophy I described it like this:
6. Provide Consistent Loving Care - Anthony and I work very hard to be consistent with policies and active parenting. It's hard when we have such different styles. I like to think of it as a color. Our over all philosophy is Blue and I'm a Dark Blue and Anthony's a Light Blue.
I am so grateful for a man in my life who supports my vision. Sometimes wistfully I wonder what it'd be like to not be the one making all the decisions, to just be able to say, "Yeah, I totally agree with that! What a great idea!" Because I definitely feel the pressure and responsibility of captaining this ship. But with great power comes great responsibility and I've become ok with that. It makes me feel strong and more like a Mama Bear.

I may not be making all the right decisions day in and day out but at least my partner backs me up on my voyage. This job is so unbelievably difficult and to have someone butting heads with me all the time would be disastrous for everyone. My heart goes out to those in struggling situations and I only hope that one day you can both get on the same page. Our only real argument comes to bear when there's a break down of communication regarding expectations, but never about philosophy.

I can even take this a step further and say that everyone in my life backs up me and my style of parenting. All of my friends embrace my open, natural attitude and my parents, sister, and in-laws have all followed suit as well. No one ever tells me "shut Hollis up" if he screams in a restaurant. No one ever tells me to spank him if he becomes defiant. No one told me to stop nursing when Hollis turned 1. They all look to me and Anthony for guidance and then mimic our responses to our son.

My friends and family may find it frustrating or difficult, but they've never let on to me. They have all been nothing but supportive and loving. And in my opinion our reward is a happy, loving little boy who trusts the adults in his life.

I've come across countless blogs where mothers are fought against for their decision to be a natural, gentle, loving mother and I count my blessings. No mother should have to fight against anyone to ensure her child is parented in the way she feels best.

So, thanks, everyone for being so loving to and supportive of me.

Visit 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:


  1. I am also so lucky to have a totally accepting, supportive partner. I am also lucky to have a pretty supportive mum. I knew she was on board with the long term breastfeeding when I was struggling to calm my 17 month old daughter down in a cafe the other day. There I was, doing everything I could think of to avoid resorting to the breast, and what did my mum say? "Just give her a feed." As long as you are with supportive people, it's easy not to care what anyone else thinks.

  2. You are making all the right decisions with your parenting style, I think. I'm glad you're so supported, too. I can't even begin to imagine letting my children cry it out. I just can't imagine! And I still love sleeping beside my baby. For as long as he wants... great post, Jessica.

  3. As long as the two of you agree, whatever works.

  4. Sam and I had a similar talk early on, and it was so helpful to find out just how compatible we were. I've had the same wish that sometimes he would come up with the parenting ideas for us to follow — I'm always loaning him books and reading quotes to him from websites, not the other way around — but I've discovered that still waters run deep. If prompted, he will talk at length about all the parenting ruminations going through his head.

  5. I admire you for discussing parenting philosophies before marriage. Parenting was so far from my mind, we really didn't talk about it before we saw that positive pregnancy test! It sounds like you two are a perfect match :)

  6. I like your description of the colours. I would say we're about the same. Everyone's blue, just different shades. And I think those little differences are healthy, and even positive, as it helps kids learn how to respond to different people with different views. Once you agree on the essentials, the nuances don't have to matter so much.

  7. "No mother should have to fight against anyone to ensure her child is parented in the way she feels best." Amen! Like you, I'm very lucky to have a lot of support in the trenches of motherhood. My friends and family all support my way of parenting. It's only when we branch out that we sometimes stumble across naysayers. Thankfully, I'm growing into my mothering shoes and don't really care what others think about my parenting style.

    Thanks for the great post. (Love the title of it, BTW.)

  8. Lovley post. It is so great to have such awesome support in parenting. It's awesome when long time friends join you for the ride.

  9. How wonderful that both of you meshed so well on the parenting front from the very beginning!

  10. I also have family support for my parenting choices and it makes such a difference! I agree too that sometimes I wish I didn't have the responsibility of all the decision making but I am glad I'm on the same wave length with my hubby.

    The memory you describe of your first talk about parenting reminds me of my first talk with my husband about homeschooling. I'll never forget it because it was so important to me and I was so thrilled when he agreed.