Tuesday, February 08, 2011

What I cannot live without

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


This month we were asked to complete this statement:

I cannot imagine parenting without __________.

This was something I mulled over for a while during the past week. How about my kids? Ha ha.

My list of ways to complete that statement runs from the grossly obvious:

  • my husband

  • my home

  • my husband's paycheck

To the more obscure:

  • the television

  • my daughters' school

  • my medication

But! In all seriousness, I landed on one big one that has been there for me since Iris's birth and continues to be a daily presence in my life:

I cannot imagine parenting without my computer and the internet.

The computer has been my lifeline to the world in any and every parenting situation I could imagine. The message boards on Babycenter.com and Mothering.com put me in touch immediately with other mothers who were going through exactly what I was at any given moment. I made real-life friends through those boards, some that I am still in daily contact with after meeting them five years ago.

These days I don't use message boards much-- and haven't been on BBC or MDC in a few years, but I do frequent one small message board of close friends who all have kids Eloise's age. I consider those women some of my closest and most beloved friends and I get to access them any time, day or night, through my laptop.

I started this blog when Iris was a bit over a year old. Blogging has opened up an amazing amount of doors for me. It has allowed me not only to share every single minutia of my daily life but to connect with others who are blogging, as well.

The advent of Facebook has made parenting even that much more rich for me. I get to share stories and pictures in real time. My friends and family, some of whom live on the other end of the country, can see what I've posted and comment immediately. I get a real joy out of involving those I love in the lives of my family.

My computer has allowed me to form a bit of a virtual village where a strong one in real life doesn't really exist. Maybe this is the village of the future?

This was the only picture I could find that involved me and a computer (see it on the right there?). Eloise was about 12 hours old in this photo and I was holding her and checking in online at the same time.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

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

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.

  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things's relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.

  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?

  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can't imagine parenting without her husband's sense of humor - he brings her laughter and love every day.)

  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can't imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.

  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.

  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.

  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.

  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs "me time" in order to be the Mama she wants to be.

  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.

  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer's Daughter doesn't appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn't imagine parenting without his help.

  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.

  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.

  • It's More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.

  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.

  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can't imagine parenting without her breasts; here's why.

  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family's needs.

  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama's next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.

  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.

  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn't even know you needed (and probably don't…).

  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn't survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it's afforded her with her 3 year old son.

  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.

  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren't things at all.

  • I'm No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.

  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without...Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.

  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.

  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.

  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.

  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can't imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it's not a thing after all.

  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.

  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn't easy at first, Knocked Up - Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.

  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.

  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.

  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can't live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.

  • The Necessities! — What "stuff" does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.

  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.

  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.

  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!

  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.

  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.

  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.

  • Why I'm a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship...and made life easier to boot.

  • It's Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can't imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.

  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.

  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.

  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.

  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.

  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin' Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.

  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us...

  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter's perspective.

  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles - come watch her video and you’ll agree!

  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.


  1. This is too funny - I feel the same. My laptop was (and is) my piece of sanity. Many, many middle-of-the-night nursings were lit by my laptop screen ;)

  2. Ah yes our trusty, handy computers!!! Can't live with them, can't live without them :-) We wouldn't be participating in Carnival without them! They help us become empowered, informed and connected...and in turn help us be the best mamas that we can be :-)

  3. Aren't blogging and message boards fantastic?! I have been so blessed through Code Name: Mama and my parenting boards - the people I've met, the relationships we've formed, the opportunities to learn and challenge myself. Thank you for sharing your perspective!

    ~Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

  4. That is so true! The computer really is my lifeline. We live nowhere near family, so there's that connection. And we don't know a lot of real-life parents who parent the way we do (your family excepted!), so it's perfect for me to have that online community.

    Unlike you, though, we have lots of pictures of us with computers, somehow. :) Though I have to say that particular photo of you guys is adorable! Look how wee your girls are!

  5. It is kind of funny, because I agree with you... even though I JUST wrote a post about how I could do without the internet if I had to. But I would never choose to.

    I am so grateful to this community, and especially to Lauren and Dionna for helping me find a place to find my parenting voice. Thanks for calling our attention to it, Sybil!

  6. So true! It's like the cell phone. I never knew how much I needed it until I got one!!

  7. A village indeed! You & I both!!

  8. I definitely feel that I wouldn't be as informed and connected to this particular parenting community if I didn't have a computer and internet access. It's amazing to me that I can meet in person with likeminded people in my own city that I've never met before, and it can all be coordinated through the computer. It's boggling sometimes.

  9. Oh YES! I hear you sister. I'd never thought about this, but you're right - most of my support and nearly all of my parenting knowledge has come from the internet AND it's given me an opportunity to share and voice some of my own stuff. Great post - thanks!

  10. I don't know how I would have gotten through the first few months with Peanut without my iPhone and the internet! I used Kellymom.com all the time for breastfeeding questions. I asked questions on Twitter and the MDC boards. I think the internet saved me having to hire a lactation consultant on multiple occasions.

    I've also made friends through the internet that I wouldn't have otherwise. The internet also put me in the situation where I was able to find meetings close to me of like-minded moms like LLL and babywearing groups.

    I can't imagine how people lived their lives before the internet.


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