We hope you enjoy this post from guest blogger Nancy Massotto, Founder of the Holistic Moms Network.
The journey to motherhood begins with a thousand choices. What to eat, where to birth, and how to discipline your little one are just a few of the issues every parent will get more than enough advice on – not all of it welcome. When you make holistic choices for your family and seek out natural, integrative therapies or healthy lifestyle options, the challenge really begins. Whether you are opting for a natural childbirth, choosing homeopathic remedies for your kids, or seeking out organic produce at a local farmer’s market, you will suddenly discover that unpopular choices cast you as a rebel in the parenting world, and convention does not let go easily. Family members and friends may question and criticize your choices, making the motherhood journey even more challenging. What to do? Try these five simple steps to navigating your holistic parenting journey in the face of naysayers.
1. Be informed. Living consciously is a journey. Our high-tech world gives us easy access to a wide range of information on natural and holistic choices, as well as the impact of our decisions. Many online research reports, for example, demonstrate the impact on the environment when we switch to recycled products. Be educated about your choices and their impact, and don’t jump on the “green” or natural bandwagon simply because it’s growing in popularity.
2. Raise awareness. Resist the temptation to simply roll your eyes when you are reproached by your well-meaning mother-in-law who loves the mantra, “Well, we all turned out fine.” Take the opportunity to explain why you have made a natural choice for your family. Try something like, “We painted the baby’s room with low-VOC paints because we are concerned about the chemicals in other brands.” Introducing your knowledge may provide an opportunity to raise awareness, even if your mother-in-law isn’t about to run out to the local green design store.
3. Create hands-on opportunities. Invite friends or family members over for a healthy meal made from the fresh produce you picked up at the farmer’s market. Show off your organic garden or give eco-conscious gifts for special occasions. Being able to touch, taste, or feel something “alternative” and realize that it is not as strange as expected can really impact someone’s viewpoint.
4. Walk the talk. Too many people rave about the benefits of living green or creating healthy lifestyle habits, but fail to follow through. Your most powerful impact is living by example. People will come to you to find out why you have so much energy, how your children always seem to avoid the latest bug going around school, or why your cooking tastes so great. Use these opportunities to explain your choices and to be a real life example.
5. Find support. No matter how hard you try, there are times you may be frustrated or feel alone for the healthy options you have chosen for your family. Seek out the friendship of other health- or eco-conscious parents who understand your lifestyle and who can commiserate with you. Surrounding yourself with like-minded parents will be empowering and freeing!
Finally, make peace with knowing that some people will never change. No matter how passionate you are about living a healthy lifestyle, some friends and family members are happy to continue their own journey. Respect that everyone has to choose their own path and delight in the diversity of their experiences. Showing tolerance will also be mirrored back to you.
About our Guest Blogger: Nancy Massotto is the Founder and Executive Director of the Holistic Moms Network (www.holisticmoms.org). She is also mother to two boys, both of whom were born at home. Before embarking on her journey into motherhood, Dr. Massotto completed her Ph.D. in political science with a specialization in gender studies and feminist theory. She is a dedicated advocate for natural living and holistic medicine.