Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sponsor Spotlight: Whole Parenting Family

For you today?  A chance to get to know my sponsor, Whole Parenting Family, a little better!  Below is an interview with founder and Mama-extraordinaire, Nell.  I know you'll love her as much as I do!

Tell us a little about yourself and your blog.

I'm a wife to an amazing husband, mother to two little sweeties, a little over 2 1/2 and 10 months, lawyer, blogger, crafter, and horse lover. I'm taking a break from practice to be home with our little ones. I share my journey of familyhood at Whole Parenting Family (www.wholeparentingfamily.com), interspersed with recipes, sleep tips, natural labor articles, and contributions from readers on their birth & parentings stories in our Birth & Parenting Series (http://www.wholeparentingfamily.com/category/birth-parenting-series). I run monthly giveaways to subscribers and am always happy to connect with likeminded folks as sponsors.

 How did you become interested in natural parenting and decide to start Whole Parenting Family?
I've loved healthy living & food for quite a few years now, but the healthy & natural parenting all started when a friend suggested we have a doula for our birth when I was 5 months pregnant with our first. I had no clue what she was talking about! We read the Bradley Method book, got a doula, and two unmedicated (one water!) births later, I'm a big advocate for normal birth. 

The approach to parenting with no screen time, wholesome food, imaginative activities, and multi-generational living slowly evolved over time, as everyone's parenting style does. My blog hopefully helps support moms and dads who are figuring out what works best for their own families. And my mom said "After all the research you've done, you should make one of those blogger thingies." Gotta listen to your mother. I started writing more to share research I'd done on say, breastfeeding, or what to register for, and then over time it evolved into behavioral training, co-sleeping, and managing a household with two small children without going insane.

You and your husband are both lawyers.  What advice do you have for Moms who are making the transition from career to full time at home parenting?

First tip: Know it's not going to all be peaches, roses, and organic homemade baby food. And be okay with feeling in-betweensy for a while, as your identity shifts. Mentally prepare yourself that you will hate it somedays. It's a tough mental thing when you've been receiving affirmation from other adults, to switch to the more inward and silent affirmation of children (Everyone still alive? Great. Diapers & dinner? Great. Just maintained the status quo? Great. Looks like I've done nothing all day long.). Talk to your friends or family who stay home. Don't know any? Find some. Because your working friends won't get your daily struggles, just as you're transitioning such that you won't really get theirs anymore either.

Second tip: Don't give in to the temptation of becoming judgmental of other moms who don't stay home once you've made the leap. It's easy to think,Look at all I'm giving up to do this awful-wonderful-difficult-most important-challenging-job. Guess my friends don't really have the right perspective. You don't know what their circumstances are, and frankly, being sanctimonious about the trials and travails of staying home doesn't encourage other moms to contemplate it if it's in their prevue! Be where you are on your journey; encourage others to be and reach in their own journeys.

Whole Parenting Family has a store, Whole Parenting Goods, where you offer handsewn items for the whole family.  What role does creativity play in your daily life and how important is it to you to make time for that?

Oh goodness, I love my little Etsy shop so much! Whole Parenting Goods (www.etsy.com/shop/WholeParentingGoods) provides a creative outlet I didn't know I needed until I had. It's a slice of me-time in a family-centric life. I get to fashion and sew organic & plush baby bibs, burp cloths, quilts, blankets, and even a little something for the mamas like organic flaxseed eye packs & heat packs. A few crocheted and knit items make their way into the shop on occasion too.

I was inspired to start it by realizing I wanted to create and adapt things for better use in my own children's lives, which is why my Bandit Bibs have three layers of absorbent fabric instead of two (kids gotta lotta drool & food around here), and my Contour Cloths fit on my shoulder because I have always lost the burp cloth while aggressively working out those elusive burps.

I make time a few days a week to create because it's also my time to connect with God insofar as it's quiet and contemplative in nature. When I haven't had it in a while, I can tell I need that little space and time because I'm far less loving as a parent and partner!

Faith seems to play an important role in how you are raising your children.  What insights do you have for introducing faith tradition to little ones?

Faith is the bedrock of a secure identity for a child. They get someone to lean on (God) and grow from (Love) and be inspired by (Truth). We're Roman Catholic and feel like giving our children exposure to the beauty and richness of our cultural heritage is the greatest gift. When you're introducing faith traditions, it's like anything else with kids: if you're not into it, they're not going to be. 

Make God fun! He's all Love and Beauty--bring Him alive with lots of reading, artwork, and music in your home. We pray as a family often throughout the day (morning prayer, mealtimes, sleep times). And make God accessible. We talk about God like He's the invisible guest--always lurking, always loving. We have plenty of beautiful icons and statues around to inspire them. We sing church songs in English and Latin and listen to Gregorian Chant often (pretty out there, I know :). And lastly, we view our role as parents to be our children's first encounter with their Heavenly Father--we better reflect His love!

Thank you so much, Nell, for sharing a sneak peek into your life with us!  Please connect with Nell using the following:  Email: wholeparenting@gmail.comSubscribe: (http://feeds.feedburner.com/wholeparentingfamily); Facebook (www.facebook.com/wholeparenting); Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/wholeparenting); Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/WholeParentingGoods); and Twitter (https://twitter.com/wholeparenting)

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  1. It was a pleasure to chat with you! Thank you so much for sharing about my family blog.

  2. Lovely interview, thanks for the introduction.

  3. Thank you for this wonderful blog post. It was really fun and easy to read. :) Like you, I also make sure that my children are and will be God-fearing as they grow up. I always tell them bible stories before going to bed and sing church song as their lullaby. :)


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