The Village

The last few weeks life has been really overwhelming. There is really no particular chain of events that has made me feel extra tired, or stressed, or doubtful but I just have been in a weird place mentally. It has been 18 months since TMD started and it has been life changing. When I started on this journey it was to have an outlet. Something for me to be apart of with other like-minded moms to learn from and experience life with. I gained that and so much more. I gained some of the most profound friendships within this blog and I am thankful for that almost everyday. That is not to say that it is always easy because most of the time it is difficult. Learning to juggle all of my daily responsibilities is daunting. When I somehow get all the balls going smoothly in motion I find myself to be more shocked than anything. If I were being even more honest with myself, and all of you, I would tell you that the last few months I have really doubted my own dedication and involvement with all of this. Not only do I write for TMD but I work for MommyCon. MommyCon was sort of the next natural progression of our movement. I believe fully in what both aspects of these things are trying to bring to the parenting world. I am here, front in center, because I want to provide other parents the ability to feel supported. I want parents who feel like the oddball to know there are others out there just like them. That is why I became a part of all of this but it hasn’t seem like it has been enough to hold me lately.

I am a baby wearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, multiple c section, gentle parent. I did not start my parenting journey out that way and I feel like with my very last child I finally got it right. That leads to feelings of both pride and sadness I wish I would have known about the all things I do now. I wish I had the group then that I am helping to create now. I do not live in regret but nonetheless I do mourn the fact I wasn’t always making the “right” choice over the “easy” one. I have “met” so many moms through this blog, convention and social media that have inspired me to be better. I have also gotten some of the best compliments of my life when moms are excited to meet me or post pictures of their non-GMO meals to thank me for inspiring them. Those moms probably don’t realize it but they are the reason I keep on this path half the time.

This past month has been especially hard. I look at all the hard work and hours I am putting into this community while my kid sits in front of a TV. I sometimes secretly wish my 16 month old would just wean already because the nursing sessions can sometimes get “in the way” of my laundry list of stuff needed done. Let’s not even go into the sleeping-through-the-night bit. All that fraustration with feeling like there is never enough time makes me feel like a hypocrite. I am sacrificing my time with my girls to help spread the word of natural parenting. It is an incredibly tricky place to be in… consistently. It is sucking me in and I am having a harder time finding the silver lining.

This past weekend MommyCon traveled to my hometown. I actually thought I would be a little more nervous then I actually was to share this with some of my friends. Most people who have known me for the last 5+ years has watched this progression. I am pretty sure most think I am a little crazy but they respect my passion behind it. We were able to partner with some people locally that I basically grew up with. It was actually kind of awesome to see some people I haven’t seen for 15 years or so. It was funny because when my friend Jeremy (his partner, Amber, is the awesome massage therapist who did the infant massage seminars) came out and told me Megan was there. He was so excited to see a fellow Tempe High Alumni. Megan is working towards becoming a midwife (you can read her Mom Monday post HERE). He commented just how crazy it is that so many of us landed in this natural parenting world. That was one of the first signs of the day to show me I am where I belong.

Leslie Ringler and I went to high school together but she graduated a bit before me. We have become “friends” through the lovely new age way of communicating… FaceBook. She may not know it but I read almost every blog post she writes and respect her immensely as a fellow human being and mother. When I learned that Amber suggested her for a talk at MommyCon and that it was actually going to happen I was THRILLED! She is a groovy, hippie mama with two beautiful daughter who is really open about her desire to be as present in her parenting as possible. Her seminar was about Empathic parenting and it was the seminar that I was looking forward to the most. I also had a friend there that was in need of hearing this talk and made her stay to listen. During her talk it was so full of great information about gentle parenting and even some self care but there was one thing that really stood out… the Village. She talked about how we were creating a village of parents. I instantly felt my eyes well up and truthfully, I still do just thinking about it. Here I was sitting in a sea of moms, dads and babies that all had one main goal… to the best they could be. I helped to bring all that positive energy and love into one room together. It was a powerful moment for me especially since I have been living under a veil of such self-doubt lately.

January from Birth Without Fear was the keynote speaker that ended the day and I was a bit star struck to meet her. Her FaceBook page is one of my very favorites. Meeting her in person was exactly what I had expected. She was a very humble women with gentle eyes. When I told her how excited I was to meet her I think it made her a bit nervous. She is just the sweetest. One of my favorite things about her blog is that I never feel any sense of judgement. It is meant to be a breeding place of love and support. She has created a place for all women with all different birth stories to go to feel proud because they did the hardest thing on the planet and that is to birth a baby. There is no judgement to the mom who chose a c-section, or had to have one in case of an emergency, or the mom at home with just her partner, or the one with a complete medical staff in the hospital. It is all about the Village and creating a community.

It was a profound weekend for me in my own skin. It made me see that even when I am beating myself up and doubting my own parenting skills I know I am exactly where I should be. It also taught me that I need to prioritize some of those aspects because I shouldn’t feel guilty. I have the ability to change what time is spent where and I will. I need to make the time to be the parent that I want to be because that is the most influential way I can change the world. I will also try to remember that not only am I trying to build the Village but I’m actually apart of it as well.

 

 

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  1. Kelli -  April 18, 2013 - 11:29 am

    I love this Risa. I have been feeling the exact same way lately. It’s so hard for me to find that balance sometimes. I start to question it all, to stress about my time and my priorities, and it gets me bummed. But then I get to a place where I feel like you, that there is a reason for all of this, and I think the Village we are a part of is so important. I need to work on my priorities as well, though, so thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone. xx

  2. Xza -  April 18, 2013 - 11:31 am

    I don’t think life still get easier, but everything starts to balance out. You are an incredible mother, have a terrific family and you rocked it in your community this weekend. I was so sad to be stuck moderating while you spoke. You are incredible Risa. I am so proud to call you one of my best friends, and watch you grow as a mother.

  3. Megan -  April 18, 2013 - 12:33 pm

    This is so spot on Risa. I had similar feelings seeing the whole Tempe High crowd, and you did a fantastic job! The hypocrisy is hard, I have felt it too, as I sit for hours helping a new mom breastfeed so her baby gets only the best & my babies are with a sitter eating McDonalds or some frozen meal, or yeah in front of the TV. But most of the time, I can find someone who takes care of my kids as I would. They are watching me serve others and are more willing to do so themselves and they will hopefully grow up and be part if their own village. It’s all balance & moderation. Sometimes it’s off & sometimes, hopefully most times, it’s not

  4. Rachel -  April 18, 2013 - 1:15 pm

    Risa,

    Thank you! Thank for the village you are part of and have helped create, it has been very beneficial to me, new Mom finding her way in parenthood.

    -Rachel
    Tucson, AZ

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