Dear Children

Welcome to the May 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With or Without Extended Family

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how relatives help or hinder their parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

To my dear children:

By now, you have grown and started the path to your own families.  You’ve felt the thrill of a positive pregnancy test and heard that sweet first heartbeat over the Doppler.  Or, you’re still trying and working and praying for these things.

Whatever the reason why you’re reading this, I have a reason for writing.  This letter is solemn promise to be with you as much or as little as you need me.  This letter is my promise to support you, to stand by you, and to care for your needs how you need them cared for.  This letter is my promise to never leave you feeling alone in this world of parenting.

I’ve already been here.  I’ve already cried tears of loneliness.  I’ve already felt as though there was no one who wanted to just listen to me.  I don’t want you to feel as though I don’t care, because I do.  I care more than you will ever know.  Your hurt is my hurt, just as your joy is mine as well.

In my early days of parenting you, I could not have felt more alone.  The choices your father and I made were not championed by our families and many of our friends.  Home birth?  Foolish.  Breastfeeding?  A waste of time.  Cloth diapers?  A fad.  I would say to your father that I wished we weren’t so alone.  I would say to your father that I was pretty sure there was something we were supposed to be learning from the ache of loneliness when there was no one we could be candid with about our lives.  He would tell me that perhaps it was for you.

As long as I am alive, you have someone to come to.  I will listen.  I will empathize.  I will offer advice when you ask.  I will be sensitive to your needs, the needs of your spouse, and the needs of your children.  Even if I disagree, I will respect you.  I dreamed of this as a new mother and it is my gift to you.  Never feel as though you cannot share whatever burdens your heart.  There are no questions too stupid; I’ve probably already been the first person on the record books to call their pediatrician at 4 in the morning because I was certain you were dying of liver failure.

I love you.  I support you.  Between us is a safe space; one that I hope you will always feel comfortable to enter and call on my (and your father’s) experience, strength and devotion.  We love you.



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 8 with all the carnival links.)

  • Dealing With Unsupportive Grandparents — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, The Pistachio Project tells what to do when your child’s grandparents are less than thrilled about your parenting choices.
  • Parenting With Extended Family — Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy shares the pros and cons of parenting with extended family…
  • Parental Support for an AP Mama — Meegs at A New Day talks about the invaluable support of her parents in her journey to be an AP mama.
  • Priceless GrandparentsThat Mama Gretchen reflects on her relationship with her priceless Grammy while sharing ways to help children preserve memories of their own special grandparents.
  • Routines Are Meant To Be Broken — Olga at Around The Birthing Ball urges us to see Extended Family as a crucial and necessary link between what children are used to at home and the world at large.
  • It Helps To Have A Village – Even A Small One — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how she has flourished as a mother due to the support of her parents.
  • The Orange Week — Erika at Cinco de Mommy lets go of some rules when her family finally visits extended family in San Diego.
  • One Size Doesn’t Fit All — Kellie at Our Mindful Life realizes that when it comes to family, some like it bigger and some like it smaller.
  • It Takes a Family — Alicia at What’s Next can’t imagine raising a child without the help of her family.
  • A new foray into family — As someone who never experienced close extended family, Lauren at Hobo Mama wrestles with how to raise her kids — and herself — to restart that type of community.
  • My Mama Rocks! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment is one lucky Mama to have the support and presence of her own awesome Mama.
  • Embracing Our Extended Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares 7 ideas for nurturing relationships with extended family members.
  • Doing Things Differently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares how parenting her children far away from extended family improved her confidence in her choices.
  • Snapshots of love — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the joys of sharing her young son’s life with her own parents.
  • Parenting with Relies – A mixed bagUrsula Ciller shares some of her viewpoints on the pros and cons of parenting with relatives and extended family.
  • Tante and Uncles — How a great adult sibling relationship begets a great relationship with aunt and uncles from Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Tips for Traveling With Twins — Megan at the Boho Mama shares some tips for traveling with infant twins (or two or more babies!).
  • Parenting passed through the generations — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the incredible parenting resource that is her found family, and how she hopes to continue the trend.
  • My Family and My Kids — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders whether she distrusts her family or if she is simply a control freak.
  • Parenting with a Hero — Rachel at Lautaret Bohemiet reminisces about the relationship she shared with her younger brother, and how he now shares that closeness in a relationship with her son.
  • Text/ended Family — Kenna of A Million Tiny Things wishes her family was around for the Easter egg hunt… until she remembers what it’s actually like having her family around.
  • Two Kinds of Families — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how her extended family is just as valuable to her mommying as her church family.
  • My ‘high-needs’ child and ‘strangers’ — With a ‘high-needs’ daughter, aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings has had to manage without the help of family or friends, adapting to her daughter’s extreme shyness and allowing her to socialise on her own terms.
  • Our Summer Tribe — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a love of her family’s summer reunion, her secret to getting the wisdom of the “village” even as she lives 1,000 miles away.
  • My Life Boat {Well, One of Them} — What good is a life boat if you don’t get it? Grandparents are a life boat MomeeeZen loves!
  • Dear Children — In an open letter to her children, Laura at Pug in the Kitchen promises to support them as needed in her early days of parenting.
  • Yearning for Tribal Times — Ever had one of those days where everything seems to keep going wrong? Amy at Anktangle recounts one such day and how it inspired her to think about what life must’ve been like when we lived together in large family units.
  • I don’t have a village — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wishes she had family nearby but appreciates their support and respect.
  • Trouble With MILs– Ourselves? — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake Half Asleep explains how her arguments with her mother-in-law may have something to do with herself.
  • A Family Apart — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings writes about the challenges, and the benefits, of building a family apart from relatives.
  • First Do No Harm — Zoie at TouchstoneZ asks: How do you write about making different parenting choices than your own family experience without criticizing your parents?
  • Military Family SeparationAmy Willa shares her feelings about being separated from extended family during her military family journey.
  • Forging A Village In The Absence Of One — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about the importance of creating a support network, a village, when family isn’t an option.
  • Respecting My Sister’s Parenting Decisions — Dionna at Code Name: Mama‘s sister is guest posting on the many roles she has as an aunt. The most important? She is the named guardian, and she takes that role seriously.
  • Multi-Generational Living: An Exercise in Love, Patience, and Co-Parenting — Boomerang Mama at The Other Baby Book shares her experience of moving back in with Mom and Dad for 7 months, and the unexpected connection that followed.
  • A Heartfelt Letter to Family: Yes, We’re Weird, but Please Respect Us Anyway — Sheila of A Living Family sincerely expresses ways she would appreciate her extended family’s support for her and her children, despite their “weird” parenting choices.
  • The nuclear family is insane! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle is grateful for family support, wishes her Mum lived closer, and feels an intentional community would be the ideal way to raise her children.


22 Replies to “Dear Children”

  1. Oh, Laura, this has me almost in tears. It hurts – it really, really hurts when your choices are not respected, and when you’re not getting the support you need. I am awed by the way you’ve taken that hurt and turned into a lesson that will no doubt make you an incredible mother and grandmother as your children grow. This is just beautiful.

    1. Well… this is written 3 years into parenting 🙂 Our lives are the way they are and I can either choose to cry over all the hurt or write it down and learn from it for the sake of my children. So thank you… I’ve come a long way in my soul!

  2. Pingback: A Family Apart
  3. What a great gift to your children, to be willing to be there for them in the ways *they* would find most helpful, loving, and supportive! I, too, have felt loneliness and isolation on my parenting journey. I hope my son (and any other future little ones) will always know me as a place of support and unconditional love, regardless of whether his decisions align with what I would choose. Thank you for writing this beautiful letter!

  4. Yep, made me cry too! I received this gift from my mother, but certainly not from my MIL and it does hurt to not be respected and to be judged so much. What a wonderful promise you have made to your children, they are very lucky and will be so thankful for this one day!

  5. Oy. The first paragraph of your post made me lose it – I cannot imagine the day when my babies are grown with babies of their own! But I love that you’ve written them now – when you’re in the thick of it and can relate to what they’ll be going through. This is awesome.

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