Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Carnival of Natural Parenting — 2010 year in review

Carnival of Natural ParentingIn January 2010, I teamed up with Dionna of Code Name: Mama to create the Carnival of Natural Parenting. One of our main goals in creating the Carnival (or #CarNatPar, as it is abbreviated on Twitter) was to bring together the awesome community of parenting bloggers who identify as "attachment" or "natural" parents.

Natural Parents NetworkCarNatPar has been amazing. We have had such a wonderful response — both in the beautifully crafted posts and in the outpouring of support for a natural parenting community — that we took it a huge step forward and created the Natural Parents Network - a website that informs, empowers, and inspires parents across the globe. Many of our CarNatPar writers are now our most valuable volunteers/contributors/editors on Natural Parents Network, and we've reached and connected with even more parents that lean toward a more gentle, natural approach.

We look forward to seeing how both the CarNatPar and Natural Parents Network will evolve and grow in 2011. But as 2011 starts, I wanted to sum up our first year and share some of my favorite Carnival posts.

And for Carnival updates, be sure to look for the #CarNatPar hashtag on Twitter, or follow the Twitter list of our #CarNatPar writers. On Facebook, you can get Carnival updates by "liking" the CarNatPar Fan Page.

You can also subscribe to all our participants' RSS feeds in one go by subscribing to the shared CarnatPar feed.

Here are a few quick facts:

  • In the 11 months that we hosted CarNatPar in 2010 (we took August off), we had 117 different writers.
  • Besides Dionna and me, the writer who participated the most was Jessica of This Is Worthwhile — she wrote for 10 of the 11 months! After Jessica, our next most prolific writers were Alison of BluebirdMama, Melodie of Breastfeeding Moms Unite!, and Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma, who each wrote for 9 of the 11 months. Thank you, mamas!
  • We had only two natural papas participate - Chris of SAHD in Lansing, who wrote for 2 months, and TwinToddlersDad of LittleStomaks, who wrote for 1 month. We need some more men to write for the Carnival — who will join us in 2011?
  • Dionna and I edited a grand total of 359 posts. I would guess that we spend a minimum of 20 minutes per post each month (counting the time it takes us to write the call for submissions posts, the summaries, our comments, our tweets and FB updates, communicating by email with the writers, etc.), so that means Dionna and I each spent approximately 120 hours each (or about 11 hours each month) putting the CarNatPar together in 2010. Wow!

Here are some of my favorite posts from 2010

(Click on each month for a complete list of posts; the monthly themes are in parentheses):
  • January (Parenting resolutions): Mindfully Loving My Children — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! has found that determining her children's love language is helping guide her in parenting compassionately. This one made me stop and think about how I best give and receive love — and what my family members and friends are looking for from me. I've come back to this line of thinking throughout the year.
  • February (Love and partners): February Carnival of Natural Parenting — TopHat at The Bee in Your Bonnet tells us how the patience of a partner can make a difficult breastfeeding relationship succeed. There were so many gorgeous posts this month about co-parents who support and nurture, but I just love me a male lactivist!
  • March (Vintage green): My momma was a hippie — Jessica at This is Worthwhile is continuing her Earth Momma mother's way of honoring nature by taking her child outside every day. I love hearing about generational natural parenting, and the simple but significant tactic of taking your child outside daily is a perfect goal.
  • April (Parenting advice): Balancing Needs When Baby Trumps Mama — Alison at BluebirdMama wonders how her child's need for noise and energy balances out against her need for quiet and space. I think it's perfectly valid for attachment parents to consider their own needs and seek a balance that works for everybody.
  • May (Role model): That Little Thing — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing demonstrates the ripple effect, one status update at a time. I love these quiet little tales of inspiring others, and that good feeling that you've been able to affect someone's life for the better.
  • June (Outdoor fun): An Outside Girl — Zoey at Good Goog moved her family to (almost) the middle of nowhere so that her outdoor-loving girl could have more grass and less concrete. I had to pick this one because of the inspiring first sentence: "I often say that if Riley's not dirty by the end of the day, I haven't done my job properly."
  • July (Let's talk about food): Happy Families Can Have More Than One Diet — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now has figured out a way for her family to live happily as vegans and vegetarians with relatives who eat meat. I love the peaceable way her family has worked this out.
  • September (We're all home schoolers): Every Day Is A School Day — Summer at Finding Summer lists the ways her family learns in this poem of a post. A sweet and simple paean to learning at home.
  • October (Staying centered, finding balance): Knitting for My Family — Knitting is more than just a hobby for Kellie at Our Mindful Life — it is her creative and mental outlet, it has blessed her with friendships she might not otherwise have had, and it provides her with much-needed balance. I love her story of resisting me-time, a realization that it was important, and the value she now attaches to this peaceful weekly ritual.
  • November (What is natural parenting?): Let Them Look — Betsy at Honest 2 Betsy makes time to look at, to touch, and to drool on the pinecones. Because it taught me about Fibonacci mathematical sequences, and made me laugh.
  • December (Let's talk traditions): Sunday Dinners and Lullabies — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment finds traditions in the small things throughout the year. I love this reminder that meaningful traditions don't have to be limited to the holidays but can be small, everyday occurrences.
I could have made a half-dozen more lists of favorites! There were so many fabulous posts this year. View Dionna's monthly favorites at Code Name: Mama.

And here is a complete list of all of our participants, with Facebook and Twitter links where applicable:

A few of the blogs are no longer active. If they have been deleted completely, there is no link. If they are still available to view, but are no longer being posted to, I included the link. To see an ever-updated list of participating blogs, view the gray-bordered participants list toward the bottom of the Carnival of Natural Parenting page.

Thanks to Dionna for putting this post together!

And please participate in our upcoming Carnivals! Entries for January are due tonight, but feel free to jump in any month.

  • January 2011: Learning from children: We are often reminded that we learn as much from our children as they learn from us. What lessons have your children taught you throughout the years? Submission deadline: January 4. Carnival posting: January 11.
  • February 2011: Parenting essentials: I cannot imagine parenting without __________. This one is wide open: Do you have a natural parenting product that you can’t live without? Is there a book, family secret, or song that has been crucial to your transition into the role of parent? Is it a friend who makes all the difference for you? Submission deadline: February 1. Carnival posting: February 8.
  • March 2011: Make a natural parenting "Top 10" list: Be creative! Choose as many (or as few) NP topics as you’d like and incorporate them into a Top 10 list. It could be anything from "Top 10 Gifts for a New NP Mom," to "Top 10 Reasons to Birth at Home," to "The Top 10 Ways Families on a Budget Can Go Green." Submission deadline: March 1. Carnival posting: March 8.

View the Carnival of Natural Parenting page for upcoming themes and to view links for past Carnivals. Thank you for a wonderful year of celebrating natural parenting with us!


Seonaid said...

And just allow me to say, thank you for all your wonderful work, and for making this space for the conversation.

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