Natural Parenting Does Not Equal Perfect Parenting

Welcome to the “I’m a Natural Parent – BUT…” Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. During this carnival our participants have focused on the many different forms and shapes Natural Parenting can take in our community.

Natural Parenting Does Not Equal Perfect Parenting:

It’s no big secret that I am part of the natural parenting community. I am a self-described mostly crunchy mama who practices conscious parenting and mindful living practices. But guess what? I am also human.

Yes, human.

That means that I have my strengths and my weaknesses. I have good days and bad days. I have successes and failures. I am awesome and awful all at the same time.

Natural parenting does not mean perfect parenting. I think that in the natural parenting, crunchy community a lot of guilt goes around for not being the “perfect” natural parent. This is a huge shame because at the end of the day, we are all just doing the best that we can right? The important part of being a natural parent is that you strive to parent your children in the most peaceful, attached, compassionate, and gentle manner possible. You attempt to live a natural lifestyle, eating nourishing, wholesome foods, shying away from traditional medicines and favoring a holistic, self-healing course, and showing ecological responsibility by cloth diapering, avoiding toxic cleaners, and replacing disposable products with reusable ones.
But guess what? Life happens. And again, even the most crunchy, granola hippy will have an off day. I know I do.

So into the confessional I go! I am quite sure that you all already know that I am far from perfect. I have already come out of the closet and admitted that I am not a parenting expert. I took you on a 22 week journey of becoming a more mindful mother, something I would not have done had I considered myself the perfect natural parent. So what exactly are my weaknesses and shortcoming when it comes to being a natural parent? What short cuts do I take and what do I overlook? You ready? Here we go!

Our dog is huge. He has diabetes now and lost a lot of weight but he used to be 150 pounds in his heyday. He is about 3 ½ feet tall. Big dude. Indoor dog. Ginormous water bowl. Tiny falls in it more often than I like. And for some reason, it sends me over the edge. When she falls into the water bowl and stands up covered in dog slobbery goo, I not so gently say “why in the hell can you not stay away from the dog bowl Jesus!” Every time. No matter how hard I try to react warmly or not react at all, those words come flying out. And they come flying out loudly. As in yelling. Yep – this natural parent has moments where she yells at her daughter. Time to burn me at the stake.

I cuss at the dog too. Not as much as I used to, but the big goober just drives me insane sometimes. And since Tiny is attached to my hip all day, she hears this. Yeah – shame on me. Not only am I teaching her language I do not want her using at such a young age but I am also not modeling compassion.

Although we use cloth napkins and cloth dishrags, we still use more paper towels than I care to admit. Cleaning up cat barf, dog slobber, and sticky messes is just easier with a paper towel.

I have given up on my husband’s eating habits. He eats crap. Crap that I purchase. Right now I just do not have the time or energy to fight him on this. His breakfasts and dinners are pretty wholesome but everything in between is junk. So be it.

As much as I try to remember that Tiny is just “being her age” sometimes being her age is exasperating. I tell her to “hurry up” more than I should.

We used disposable diapers for the first month of Tiny’s life. Since I had a c-section it was just easier.

Oh yeah – I had a c-section. Not because I wanted to. It was just what needed to happen.

My husband and I argue in front of Tiny when we really shouldn’t.

I have chocolate chips on hand for when I really need to entice Tiny into cooperating and everything else has failed. I swear – these are for emergency situations.

When I was recently sick with the flu I let Tiny watch copious amounts of television. I had to rest. It was not an option.

So there are you. There is more, lots more I could share but these little tidbits do plenty to illustrate that I am not a perfect parent. I live life by an 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I strive for as close to perfection as possible. The other 20% is just doing what I have to do to get through the day.

Like I said before, we all just do what we can to make it through the day. Sometimes it is beautiful, sometimes it is ugly, and sometimes it is something in between. The important part is that we strive to do our best and when we fail, we take the time to reconnect with our children using our failure as a teaching opportunity.

Life is tough. Parenting is tough. Natural parenting is even tougher. So relax a little and don’t worry if you don’t check every natural parenting box. I don’t. Life is for living. It is too short to waste worrying over perfection. So go out and live it as best you can. Baby steps. It’s all about baby steps.


I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that “natural parenting” means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.

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

  • My kid is a technophile — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction hasn’t turned in her natural parenting card yet, even though her son prefers electronic toys
  • I’m a Natural Parent, but…I use medicine! — Adrienne at Mommying My Way admits that while she hesitates to do so, sometimes she does give her son some medicine when his symptoms get really bad.
  • I’m Only Half Planning a Natural Birth — Shannon at The Artful Mama discloses how she is planning her semi-natural hospital birth and still dares to call herself a Natural Parent.
  • Why we aren’t rear facing — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about her decision to turn her one-year-old daughter’s carseat around, and how the argument always given for extended rear facing makes her feel.
  • Musings of an Almost Crunchy Momma — Valerie at Momma in Progress re-examines her list of natural parenting litmus tests.
  • Natural Parenting Does Not Equal Perfect Parenting — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama admits to several not-so-natural parenting and lifestyle practices.
  • 10 Reasons to Revoke My Natural Parent Card — Laura at WaldenMommy: Life Behind the Red Front Door discusses why some of her less-than-crunchy practices are better for her family.
  • I’m a Natural Parent – BUT… MacNCheese is Awesome. — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy reveals her penchant for some far from healthy eating, cheap food recipes.
  • Crunchy on the Inside — Wolfmother at Fabulous Mama Chronicles muses about how the stereotype of a natural parent does not do justice to the very dynamic group that this parenting philosophy attracts.
  • My Reality — Megan from The Other Baby Book confesses a few things about her parenting.
  • I’m Crunchy But… — Christy at Mommy Outnumbered shares confessions on all of her “non” crunchy ways.
  • I’m A Natural Parent, But…it took me awhile — It took Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling awhile before fully understanding and appreciating Natural Parenting.
  • I Am Not a Perfect Natural ParentMomma Jorje shares her dirty little secrets as a mostly natural parent.
  • Crunchy, But Not Crunchier Than Thou — Instead of comparing yourself to others, Dionna at Code Name: Mama encourages you to give yourself permission to be as crunchy as you can for right now.
  • I’m a natural parent but…I love bedtimes — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle would never let her children cry-it-out, but she has a selection of other methods to encourage early bedtimes.
  • I’m a Natural Parent – BUT… — Lani at Boobie Time Blog believes that following the principles of Natural Parenting doesn’t mean you fit a stereotypical mold of societal view.
  • Confessions of a Low Supply Mom — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children confesses her insecurities about being a low supply mom.
  • I’m a natural parent, but. . . — Not eating her placenta is just one of the ways Ashley at Mama Raw falls short at being a natural parent.
  • I’m a Natural Parent But…I have a Few Confessions — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment strives to be a Natural Mama, but wait, she has a few confessions!
  • I’m a Natural Parent BUT — Carrie at LoveNotesMama confesses her gratitude for disposable diapers.
  • Intestinal Dissection — Melissa from White Noise talks about how imperfection can be beautiful when it is buffered with love.
  • How much sugar is too much? — Tat at Mum in Search shares how her no-sugar policy evolved into a balancing act, with the balance point not where she’d like to see it.
  • I’m a Natural Parent, but. . . — Amyables at Toddler In Tow talks about three of her parenting habits that are not super “natural.”
  • Minus Ten Crunchy Points — Joella at Fine and Fair discusses how some of her parenting choices seen as “too crunchy” by those she knows in real life could get her kicked out of the crunchy mom clubs online.
  • The Natural Parent “Model” — Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World talks about her love for not-so-natural cosmetics and beauty products.
  • Nice to meet you. — Eileen at Love & Greens talks about how being a natural mama means something different to her every day.
  • natural parent blog carnival — Ashley at Daisy Pedals touches on several natural parenting topics; from cloth diapers to cleaning with natural cleaners.
  • I’m a natural parent, but you’d be surprised — Lauren at Hobo Mama confesses to liking diet soda and TV and having lost all her reusable shopping bags.
  • I’m a Natural Parent, but…. I don’t shop local — Luschka at Diary of a First Child confesses one of her greatest ‘natural’ failures – she doesn’t shop local and support her community, despite wishing she could.
  • Who You Callin’ Natural? (a Carnival of Natural Parenting Contribution) — A bit of premise exposition, some tongue-in-cheek filler, and a photographic list of all the ways Embrita Blogging cheats at being natural.
  • Dirty Secrets of a Green & Natural Mama (and Why I’m Not Afraid to Share Them!) — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her definition of what it means to be a perfect mama as well as a few of her dirty little secrets.
  • Green Mommy Guilt — Jen at Jen and Joey Green talks about how being a perfect Green Mom is overrated.
  • Life Coping Devices — Amy at Anktangle discusses two (“non-AP”) coping strategies her family has used for getting through difficult times with her son: the pacifier and the stroller.
  • We use disposable diapers. There. I said it. — The mama at Our Muddy Boots shares a bed, nurses her 4 year old, is vegetarian, and is committed to homeschooling; but Pampers adorn her child’s bottom. Ugh!
  • Committed to Cloth, but… — Sheila at A Living Family affirms her love of cloth diapering, despite the draw of disposables.
  • Natural Parenting as a Doorway to Deep Truths — Amy from Peace for Parents guest posts at Natural Parents Network and shares how for her “natural parenting” is much less about a definition and much more an avenue to explore truths of life.
  • Chicken No-nos — Jessica at Pace Family Place strives to live naturally but feeds her oldest son some not-so natural things

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  1. says

    haha I have completely given up on my hubby’s diet as well. He complains about things like how I do not buy “real” pancake syrup because I do buy REAL maple syrup and not his beloved Mrs. Butterworth. I tell people we are a HFCS and Dye Free home but they would call me out as a liar if the peeked in my cabinets because of all his junk (Little Debbies and Hostess, yeah he has his own cabinet even there is so much junk haha)

  2. says

    “The important part of being a natural parent is that you strive to parent your children in the most peaceful, attached, compassionate, and gentle manner possible.”

    It is also important to forgive yourself when you do not and to use it as a learning experience. When I fail to parent how I intended to, it usually has to do with my own needs being unmet, especially emotionally, and so it is a red flag for me to take care of myself too. Just like I would want to feed my child whole foods and treat him with compassion, I must also in turn be willing to do that for myself as well.

  3. says

    That sounds a lot like our house! (especially the hubby/junk thing!!)
    I try to remind myself that parenting is a work in progress. Your crunchy-ness and blog posts inspire xo

  4. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama says

    If anyone faults you for cleaning up dog barf and cat poop with paper towels, I’d probably tell them to stick it 😉 At any rate, I echoed your sentiments in my post – we’re all doing the best we can.

  5. says

    Thank you for making me feel a bit better about the parenting secrets I share with you. What is it with kids and doggie water bowls? Ours are attached to the crate doors and Little Man will inevitably swing that door and splash water all over the floor and the dogs’ crates and no matter what I yell for whatever good that does me (it hasn’t yet). Thank you for joining us.

  6. says

    I think there is some sort of magnet that draws kids to bowls of water. It’s insane!
    Paper towels were just made for dog barf. We have a 120 pound black lab- biiiig dog. When he barfs, he barfs. I throw, like, an entire roll of paper towels on it and freak out and call my husband. Heh.

  7. says

    I swear. A lot. I actually don’t really care if my kids swear, as long as it is an expletive and not directed at a person. I am also still trying to detox our family from all the TV we watched while I was pregnant. Gotta do what you gotta do.

  8. PaceFamilyGirl says

    Hehe your still one of the most “NL” people I have encountered on the internet. AND I totally get the hubby thing. Keep doing what your doing, mama, your inspiring to many of us!

  9. Ashley @ Mama Raw says

    “sometimes being her age is exasperating” Yep! I know what you mean, and with the yelling too–at my kid or at the cat–I’m pretty calm with the dog.

  10. says

    Great post. My husband eats crap, too. He doesn’t eat ANYthing wholesome, at all. I can’t force him to eat differently because if he eats something he doesn’t like, he literally gets sick.

    Oh, and I think it is important for kids to see parents argue SOMETIMES or they might grow up thinking that partners don’t argue ever. That wouldn’t be a very realistic image, especially one to try to mimic.

  11. says

    Paper towels are critical for cleaning up cat puke. Seriously, how else would you do that? I don’t want to think about it.
    On the language, as a general rule we don’t swear, but I tend to mumble some profanities under my breath occasionally. Luckily, none of them have surfaced in the Agents’ vocabularies . . . yet.
    Although once when E was about 3 she came into the kitchen looking rather ticked and I said, oh sweetie what’s wrong? She looked at me in all 3-year-old seriousness and said, “Julia is really pissing me off right now.”
    It was so hard to not to laugh I thought I might explode.

  12. says

    This was a fabulous post!

    I loved the part about chocolate chips. Giving my little dude small bits of candy is a weakness of mine. My (brillian) sister uses Nerds with her kids so I took that morsel from her. They are so tiny and hard to pick up that a couple Nerds can keep a kid happy for quite a while, and hey, not much sugar.

    The part about your husband cracked me up too! I look like a schizo when I grocery shop. There is MY stuff (bulk whole grains, veggies, fruits, etc.) and there is my husband’s stuff (soda, doritos, other gag-inducing items) and I feel embarrassed buying that stuff. But ultimately – whatever. He drinks his green smoothie (that I make) each day and he gets a healthy dinner. The rest is up to him.

    In terms of everything else, I admire your honesty and the fact that you just go for it and do what works best for your family.

  13. Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction says

    I love knowing that everyone else is imperfect, too.

    When we were sick earlier this month my son was glued to this marathon of Lego animated movies on the television. We could hardly stand up – there was no way either of us was going to be chasing after a toddler.
    Toddler seems no worse for the wear.

    And my husband drinks so many Coca Colas that I am actually embarrassed to take our recycle bin out some weeks.

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