Do you trust your parental instincts? Does parenting in this modern age overwhelm you? It’s my hope that I can guide you just enough in this post so that you can start trusting your inner voice more.
I’ve been on a roll here, advising about environmental toxins like chlorine, harmful foods like sugar that damage gut flora & immunity, and how to heal without harmful pharmaceuticals. These are things that I think parents may want to know about as they try to keep their families well. With each discussion, I’m offering holistic alternatives and wisdom from Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s my hope that you’ll learn how to prevent or deal with these challenges in a natural and effective way.
It occurred to me today that even though my focus is on helping you find solutions, that the vibe here may still be very “doom & gloom”. This may be especially if you become easily overwhelmed with parenting and health advice.
Who’s Parenting Advice Do You Follow?
I’m reminded of an article that came out a year ago, “Excuse Me While I Lather My Child In This Toxic Death Cream” by Sarah Kallies. Many moms can relate as she vents her frustrations with life that has “too many rules about food… hygiene… clothing… education… development… medication… sleep… playtime… friends… car seats… breastfeeding… child-wearing… and TV.” She says that “this world will make you crazy if you aren’t there already.”
Kallies has a point that focusing on all these rules about what others think you should do can make you feel bad about your parenting choices. I see other parents who are just as frustrated. I honestly do not have the same stress about these choices though! Learning how to keep my family happy & well is actually enjoyable for me.
Why Do Many Parents Have A Hard Time Trusting Their Instincts?
I believe the main reason we’re challenged with information these days is that we’re out of touch with how to sustain our health for ourselves and our family on a very basic level.
We are no longer responsible for foraging or growing our own food. We don’t know how to make our own clothes. Most people can’t imagine living without electricity, dependent on the sun’s schedule. We don’t have generations of family helping us with childrearing. We’re expected to sit back and let government officials & intellectuals tell us how to eat, sleep, and parent. The groups that we do find solace in are usually other parents who are just as confused about making choices for their kids (not very helpful).
Why I’m So Comfortable Making My Own Choices
I am not a perfect parent, teacher, or health practitioner, but I’m very secure in these roles. This is because the choices I make are aligned with my deep-rooted values. I rest knowing that our species has survived thousands of years by living in harmony with nature, by listening to our instincts, and valuing traditional healing arts & ancestral wisdom.
My instincts led me to find a natural parenting approach based on attachment parenting principles. I breast-fed my son until he was 4 1/2, co-slept as long as he needed it, wore him in a pack constantly as a baby, and let him feed himself when we introduced foods (baby-led weaning). We value natural immunity, organic whole food, and unstructured learning too.
While it has felt like I’m going against the grain socially, parenting itself has been fairly easy. I feel like I’m going with the flow as my son develops beautifully. Each day I feel validated that I’m doing what’s best for him.
I know that my husband and I are responsible for the care of my son, not the government or doctors. And my instincts say that there is something seriously wrong with the Western medical approach to wellness, the U.S. dietary guidelines, and the toxic constituents in our medications & water supply.
When I hear about things like the toxic ingredients in sunscreen, I am not surprised because I’m aware that many products on the market have not been rigorously tested and safety is questionable. Instead of throwing up my arms and saying “well, everyone else is using it and we’re going to die of something anyway!”, I take action to avoid it. For again, I’ve thought long and hard about how our ancestors dealt with sunny days back on the plains. They got just the right amount of sun to stimulate vitamin D production, covered up when their skin started to burn, or found shade when it was overwhelming.
How You Can Learn To Trust Your Parental Instincts Too
You and I probably have enough in common if you’re still with me this far into the post. I know my values are not completely the same as yours though, and I would never want to impose mine on you. I want everyone to feel successful in life and would encourage you to think deeply about what you care about as a parent and a human in this modern age.
To help get in touch with your instincts, I first recommend you do some journaling to answer these questions.
- What do you value?
- What are you concerned about?
- Are these gut feelings?
- What are your own gifts?
- How do you contribute to the world?
- Are you living authentically?
- How do you connect with nature?
- Can you picture yourself living long ago, capable of taking care of yourself & family?
- How would you have dealt with not having our modern conveniences?
- Are you vigilant about dangers in the environment or assume that everything we’re exposed to is safe?
- Do you feel qualified to make health choices for your family, or always refer to a Medical Doctor?
By answering these questions, it should become clear whether you trust yourself or not.
If you don’t use your instincts to care for your family, but want to, I suggest finding a group that has a similar goal or a book that can help you tap into your inner wisdom.
These are the resources that helped me immensely…
Mindful Parenting Groups
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger
Traditional Living & Diet
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Primal Connection by Mark Sisson