Let's be real for a moment and admit that parenting is H-A-R-D. Natural parenting, or wellness-oriented parenting, where you're trying to create an environment of health, happiness, and freedom from the toxins of the world is even harder.
Like it or not, your precious angels are going to get contaminated somehow, and it's ok.
If you've ever seen pictures of clean and healthy kids enjoying colorful veggies, smiling moms who look well-rested, and some otherwise idealized version of what kid-raising should look like and thought to yourself "man, why can't I have it together like that?" then you've fallen into the self-judgment trap and it's time to climb out.
Even for healthy moms, natural parenting is a struggle. Yes we do our best to make healthy kid snacks, and sometimes use creative tactics to compel them to eat that rather than whining for goldfish or cookies, but you'd have to be pretty harsh to enforce that ALL the time.
Kids are strange and magical little creatures who love sugar and other carbs, cheap plastic toys, and sometimes shaking up your Zen with obnoxious outbursts.
There, I said it!
When it comes down to it natural parenting isn't just about food or what you allow your kids to do or not do, it's an attitude of leaning in a positive direction while also going with the flow. If you can do THAT as a parent then you're totally winning and should give yourself a break.
Here's what natural parenting means to me...
It means offering my kids lots of different vegetables and seeing which ones they like the most or dislike the least, and giving them more of those rather than having dinner standoffs where I attempt to force-feed broccoli.
It means not giving them a bath every night, because human bodies just don't need to be that clean all the time and I'm too tired to clean up the sopping mess that becomes my bathroom afterwards.
It means talking about nature, exploring the wonders of changing seasons and beautiful flowers, and occasionally hugging trees.
It means being ok with the creative ways kids like to express themselves and allowing them to dress up like princesses to school even if they're boys.
It means saying I love you, making space for the expression of all emotions, and being an example who shows kindness to others in daily life as opposed just dictating that kids should be "good."
It means letting loose sometimes and allowing things that aren't that healthy because in that moment those things create joy, and that is important too.
It means being present and giving my full attention even when other things tempt my mind or body to wander.
It means following my instincts and gently pulling them away from situations I don't consider beneficial even when there is social, cultural, or even "professional" pressure to take a certain action.
It means fully letting them BE who they are, encouraging their light to shine, and just enjoying life alongside them.
It means recognizing when my personal baggage is getting in the way, and deciding not to pass it along.
It means being conscious about health and safety, but not paranoid.
It means doing my best, and knowing that is enough.
What does natural parenting mean to you?