By Kathryn Trudeau
I’ve been to enough playdates and storytime events to know the feeling when you tell a fellow mama that you practice peaceful or natural parenting, and you are met with silence. You quickly wonder what you said wrong, but soon enough the questions start flowing.
“Isn’t peaceful parenting for hippies?”
“Does he sleep in the bed with you?”
“Don’t you need boundaries?”
“Do you still breastfeed?”
“How do you discipline him?”
And the questions don’t stop.
I’m not naïve enough to think I’ve mastered every skill and unearthed every parenting secret, but there is one thing that I’ve learned, and it’s something I’ll never stop feeling passionate about: our children are the most special, most sacred gift we’ve ever been given, and it’s 100% our vocation to raise them well, to fill them with our love, and make sure they have their basic needs – which absolutely includes affection – met daily. It’s hard to imagine meeting these needs without first turning to the principles of natural/peaceful parenting.
But here’s the problem
We’re sold a pack of lies and we often get in our way of raising our children with love and patience.
We’re told that our babies must sleep alone. We’re told that too many hugs spoil the babies, and we live in a sad world where affection and mercy is mistaken as a parenting weakness. We are told that peaceful parenting is the easy way out. We are told to raise independent children yet in the same breath the very things (such as affection) that build independence are dismissed.
It’s no wonder we feel that internal struggle between what is expected of us and what we feel deep within our mama hearts.
So what do we do?