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February 8, 2011 / MrsH

Grace, Love, and Coffee

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


My parenting journey began 2.5 years ago.  While we were trying to conceive, my dear sister needed a safe place for her eldest daughter to live.  “Let her live here, for the summer”  God urged us to say.  A week later Missie moved into our home and the grown-ups began working to also have her younger brother move in with us.  That was quite the ordeal actually, but Buddy did join our family in August, by which point it had become abundantly clear that this was to be no short-term arrangement.  While we’d stopped attempting to conceive, we somehow managed to do so anyway.  God works in funny ways, and this was one of those things we could have really questioned Him on.  So began our parenting journey, with a 6 year old girl, 2.5 year old nonverbal boy, and expecting one more.

In light of that start to our parenting journey, and the continued effects as we walk through the adoption process, we’ve had to adjust more quickly and more drastically than I’d ever imagined or thought possible.  Truthfully, the things I cannot imagine parenting without range from the profound to the trivial.  I cannot imagine parenting without:

  • God’s grace. He has provided for us abundantly.  He has enabled us to keep moving, to keep learning, and to keep loving.  When I really stop to think about the past 2.5 years, I feel overwhelmed.  There’s just too much to really take it all in at once.  But the one constant has been His grace.  We are not yet the parents we want to be, but we are the parents to the children God gave us, and hopefully that counts for something as we keep moving forward.  Without it, I think I’d have thrown in the towel many times over.
  • Love. Besides God’s love, in terms of earthly love, most amazing has been my husband.  He’s had to put up with an emotionally spent wife for quite a while now, and still continues to love and support me.  MrH keeps finding ways to help out and ways to show his love.  He is the man who is gone for 10+ hours a day and then comes home to join us for dinner and takes full responsibility for getting 1-2 kids to bed.  After which he frequently does the dishes.  MrH and I take 15 minutes a day to just connect and talk, and without those, I’d feel constantly lost.  I so look forward to the days when the kids’ needs will feel a little less urgent so we can spend a bit more quality time with each other again.
  • Coffee and wine. I warned you about the trivial, yes?  These beverages, with all their “for grown-ups only” connotations, make me feel like a grown-up even when surrounded with little ones.  Holding that special mug or glass I’m able to, for a few minutes, get out of the emotional turmoil that so often seems to reign and to feel and act like a grown-up.  It’s when I’m able to take a deep breath and calmly take a few minutes to myself, after which I can usually interact with the children being more centered and intentional.  I don’t get to an adult beverage every day so these moments do feel special to me, something to be treasured.  A moment to remind myself that I am a grown-up, with all the social and self-awareness skills that I’ve built up over the past 30 years.  A moment to remind myself that I can handle this moment, and even if I don’t do it well, it will pass.

So now what?  What do I do with the information that these three things have gotten me through the past few years?  Not exactly thriving, but hopeful towards the day that I am, moving towards that day, and sometimes even feeling like it’s within grasp.  First, I express my gratitude.  To God, to my husband, and yes, to my adult habits.  Then, I work to ensure that they remain a part of my life (well, for the third one I’d be ok with transferring that goodness to something a bit… less trivial).  I keep seeking God and keep loving my husband.   Most importantly, I keep acknowledging the external things (friends, beverages…)  that build myself up internally, to find God more and more deeply and to tap into his source of strength and love, so that I may be a model to my children of a woman who lives for her God.


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

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things’s relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can’t imagine parenting without her husband’s sense of humor – he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can’t imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs “me time” in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter doesn’t appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn’t imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It’s More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can’t imagine parenting without her breasts; here’s why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family’s needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama’s next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn’t even know you needed (and probably don’t…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn’t survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it’s afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren’t things at all.
  • I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can’t imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it’s not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn’t easy at first, Knocked Up – Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can’t live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What “stuff” does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I’m a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship…and made life easier to boot.
  • It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can’t imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin’ Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us…
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter’s perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles – come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.


Leave a Comment
  1. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama / Feb 8 2011 10:05 am

    I don’t think you need to change those adult things to anything less trivial – if you get enjoyment from them, so be it! We all need things to enjoy, to help us recharge – for some of us it’s coffee, for others bubble baths. Who cares what form they take, as long as they help us be caring parents 🙂

  2. Curly Hairdo Ideas / Feb 8 2011 2:12 pm

    I love your 3 (4?) things!! That is such a great point about how having an “adult” beverage makes you feel like an adult again, too. I hadn’t ever thought of it in quite that way. 🙂 I love it! You sound like an inspiring woman, I’m sure your children are incredibly lucky to have you as a role model. 🙂

  3. Lauren @ Hobo Mama / Feb 8 2011 2:16 pm

    What an interesting parenting journey you have. I love hearing from you. As for the third item, I think those little things are what give us strength for the bigger things. If I took out everything trivial from my life, I think I’d take out the joy, too, you know?

  4. Andrea!!! / Feb 8 2011 5:36 pm

    Goodness, you really jumped right into parenting – kudos to you and your husband for embracing your sister’s children as they needed you!! I love that coffe & wine were parenting essentials – I have one cup of coffe every morning, and it’s usually cold by the time I’m done, but boy do I look forward to it!! 🙂

  5. Mrs Green @ / Feb 9 2011 11:13 am

    ‘trivial’ things are what makes the ride of life more pleasurable and kudos to you for honouring that in your life. So glad you have so much love to sweeten your day too 🙂

  6. teresa / Feb 9 2011 12:37 pm

    You’re an amazing woman and I think all three of those children are blessed to have you. I’m glad you and your husband have each other.
    I love the part about the “beverages”. I can see that you still find humor in this crazy life and that’s sure to create joy for you all no matter what happens.
    I’m signing up for you feed and I look forward to hearing more!
    take care

  7. Joella / Feb 9 2011 10:13 pm

    Beautifully stated and I agree on all fronts! What a journey for your family!


  1. The Internet as our “Village” | Monkey Butt Junction
  2. Loves Books, Loves People « The Practical Dilettante
  3. Unimaginable without him Hey Red {365} : Hey Red {365}
  4. I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…
  5. The Minimalist Parent | living peacefully with children
  6. Eco-Mama Online! - Child of the Nature Isle
  7. My Other Half | Old New Legacy
  8. The Gift of Shared Time |
  9. Ode to the Loo | Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma
  10. My Parenting Necessity « The Adventures of Lactating Girl
  11. » Hobo Mama: February Carnival of Natural Parenting: My parenting …
  12. Stopping to Listen « Knocked Up – Knocked Over
  13. The Essence of Parenting
  14. Why I’m a Babywearer « Becoming Mamas
  15. » My Parenting Necessity « The Adventures of Lactating Girl
  16. » My Parenting Must-Have: Support
  17. Relationships » Blog Archive » February Carnival of Natural Parenting | Love What Is
  18. » Fine and Fair: My Parenting Must-Have: Support
  19. I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without… | Diary of a First Child
  20. 10 reasons why I chose breast over bottles | Old New Legacy

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