14 January 2014

Welcome to the January 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Stay the Same
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 talked about the continuity and constancy in their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I never thought I would be writing about the comfort of things staying the same and how that can wrap you up in warmth and familiarity like a blanket.  Since leaving home my life has been one of moving house constantly, of doing things spontaneously and last minute, of being highly organised at work and completely disorganised at home.  When my first child was born nine years ago there was a popular routine which was constantly in the media at the time, to me it seemed totally bizarre.  When anyone asked me how often does he fed, my answer would always be whenever he needs to I didn't clock watch.  I just went with the flow.  Two children later and I am passed the baby and toddler stages, I can get out of the house in a few minutes and I can plan to do things, some on a regular basis, and I have surprised myself by actually wanting and needing this in my life.

For most of us growing up means attending school, by the time we are in our early twenties we will have spent, in my case anyway, fourteen of those years in education.  This is time spent following someone else's routine and timetable it is hardly surprising that I spent so many years not wanting that in my life any longer.  For me, for my family, it has been about finding a balance, a balance between a routine and free time, I prefer to call it our rhythm.  When the rhythm stops beating or changes I am unsettled for a time until I can get it back into a groove.  The rhythm we have right now is a good balance of meeting with friends, home ed groups, home time and trips out as a family.  The pattern is familiar to the children they know what is going to come next, however it is flexible if one week we don't want to engage preferring to stay at home or do our own thing we can do.  This familiarity is like a anchor for us, it stops us drifting from one day to the next.  It definitely makes us all calmer, I notice a change in my children and myself when our rhythm is not beating as it normally does, the security of it is shattered. Even though we do the same things on the same day each week, each day and each week is different, we have variety through sameness so I am more than happy with it staying the same.

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 updated by afternoon January 14 with all the carnival links.)
  • The making of an artist — Some kids take longer than others to come into themselves, so you have to stick with them, as a parent, long after everyone else has given up, writes Douglas at Friendly Encounters.
  • Not Losing Yourself as a First Time Mom — Katie at All Natural Katie continues to stay true to herself after becoming a new mom.
  • Using Continuity to Help Change {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs from A New Day talks about how she is using continuity in certain areas of her life to help promote change and growth in others.
  • Staying the Same : Security — Life changes all the time with growing children but Mother Goutte realised that there are other ways to 'stay the same' and feel secure, maybe a bit too much so!
  • Harmony is What I'm AfterTribal Mama gushes about how constant change is really staying the same and staying the same brings powerful change.
  • A Primal Need For Order and Predictability – And How I Let That Go — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she overcame her primal need for order and predictability once her awareness shifted, opening her eyes to the impact this had on her young daughter. Take a short journey with Jennifer and she bares her soul, exposes her weaknesses and celebrates her new outlook and approach to living life, even in the face of total chaos.
  • Breastfeeding Before and After — Breastfeeding has come and gone, but Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow finds that her relationship with her son is still just the same and just as good.
  • A Real Job — Back in high school That Mama Gretchen had a simple, but worthwhile career aspiration and today she is living her dream … is it what you think?
  • Comfortingsustainablemum never thought she would want things always being the same, but she explains why it is exactly what her family wants and needs.
  • The Other Mums' and The Great IllusionMarija Smits reflects on the 'great big magic show of life' and wonders if it will continue to remain a constant in our lives.
  • Unschooling: Learning doesn't change when a child turns four — Charlotte at Winegums & Watermelons talks about the pressure of home education when everyone else's children are starting school.
  • Finding Priorities in Changing Environments — Moving from Maine to a rural Alaskan island for her husband's military service, Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work found that keeping consistent with her priorities in changing environments can take some work, but is vital to continuous health and happiness.
  • Keeping it "Normal" — Kellie at Our Mindful Life has moved several times in the last two years, while doing her best to keep things stable for her kids.
  • The Evolution Of Our Homeschool Journey — Angela at Earth Mama's World reflects on her homeschooling journey. Homeschooling is a constant in the life of her family but the way in which they learn has been an evolution.
  • Sneaking in Snuggles: Using Nurturing Touch with Older Children — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama's son was a toddler and preschooler, he was the most loving, affectionate kiddo ever. But during the course of his 5th year, he drastically reduced how often he showed affection. Dionna shares how she is mindfully nurturing moments of affection with her son.
  • Steady State — Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes a letter to her partner about his constancy through the rough sailing of parenting.
  • A Love You Can Depend On — Over at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, Jennifer has a sweet little poem reminding us where unconditional love really lies, so it can remain a constant for us and our children.
  • Same S#!*, Different Day — Struggling against the medical current can certainly get exhausting, especially as the hunt for answers drags on like it has for Jorje of Momma Jorje.
  • New Year, Still Me — Mommy Bee at Little Green Giraffe writes about how a year of change helped her rediscover something inside herself that had been the same all along.
  • One Little Word for 2014 — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs has decided to focus on making things this year, which is what she is loves, as long as she doesn't kill herself in the process.
  • The Beauty of Using Montessori Principles of Freedom and Consistency — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the continuity of her teaching, parenting, and grandparenting philosophy using a combination of freedom and consistency.
  • My Husband's MiniCrunchy Con Mom shares which of her sons looks more like her husband's baby pictures — and the answer might surprise you!
  • Growth Happens When You Aren't Looking — Lori at TEACH through Love is treasuring these fleeting moments of her daughter's early adolescence by embracing the NOW.
  • A New Reality Now - Poem — As Luschka from Diary of a First Child struggles to come to terms with the loss of her mother, she shares a simple poem, at a loss for more words to say.
  • Making a family bedroom — Lauren at Hobo Mama has decided to be intentional about her family's default cosleeping arrangements and find a way to keep everyone comfortable.
  • New Year, Same Constants — Ana at Panda & Ananaso takes a look at some of the things that will stay the same this year as a myriad of other changes come.
  • I Support You: Breastfeeding and Society — Despite how many strides we've taken to promote "breast is best," Amy at Natural Parents Network talks about how far we still have to go to normalize breastfeeding in our society.


  1. "Variety through sameness." I do love this, and the idea of rhythm. I know I find familiarity very comforting, as long as there are little bits of difference here and there — but familiar difference! I think that's what many children crave as well.

  2. I totally get where you're coming from - we have our own rhythm too - days at home and days out at home ed groups and forest school - yet even doing the same things every week is completely different. It's good to find a balance and a rhythm and I think that definitely helps with having small children!

  3. I can't tell you how much time I've spent trying to find our perfect rhythm. It has been an elusive concept for me, as I thrive in a pretty structured environment.
    ~Dionna @

  4. I definitely prefer the idea of 'rhythms' as oppose to 'routines' and it sounds as though you've got a lovely, happy family rhythm going on at the moment. :-)

  5. Lovely reflections. Although my children are schooled neither of us seem to crave routine when we are left to our own devices! But we do tend to take a rythm, as you so beautifully put it :)

  6. It's so important to have a healthy rhythm that feels good to you! I agree with everyone else - establishing your own rhythm is an important and ever changing task. I tend to let mine evolve as things change, while keeping an eye out for how things are going and how I feel. It's something I have had to work on, as I used to be so very structured and routine-based!


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