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.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
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)