Friday, 5 August 2011

Pagan Parenting: What is it for me?

Warning: This is a bit of a long post, grab a cuppa and settle in.  I hope you enjoy yourself!

Its been a while since I really talked about being Pagan on here.  I think part of this is that Paganism is such an integral part of who I am and the life I lead that I don't always consciously realise the influences it has on my life. To me, Paganism is my lifestyle as well as my belief system.  My values for living are Pagan so when I make a choice my faith influences those decisions almost automatically.  This applies to life in general and especially to how I am trying (success to be determined at a later date, say about 18 years?) to parent the Cub.

The parent style I am using I call Baby-led.  It's sort of Attachment Parenting (far greater and wiser people than I have blogged about Attachment Parenting so I shall resist clouding the message with my version of it here) in essence but I call it Baby-led simply because it's a really good reminder that the focus of my style should be my baby and not me.  Is it important to be reminded?  Yes!  Read my earlier post:  When bottle-fed is baby-led parenting and you will quickly see that I had to get passed my own self-image as a parent to be able to focus on the needs of my baby.

So, how has being Pagan influenced my parenting style?  Well, if you believe that we are all connected to the Divine equally how can you then choose a parenting style which tells you that you are superior to your child?  I have authority over my child as a guide but my child will teach me as much as I teach him (hence the page Things My Baby is Teaching Me).  We are both in this life to learn lessons from those around us be they friend, colleague, parent or child.

I also believe that we are connected to everything around us and that we should endeavour to live in harmony with our surroundings.  This means listening to the Earth, listening to my friends and listening to my family - including my baby - and working to balance all our needs.  My style is led by the baby, it is not dominated or controlled by it.  I balance my need for a quiet half an hour with his need for food and comfort.  I choose to let the house become a bombsite for a while rather than ignore my baby just so I can dust something.  However, I also grab that half an hour while my baby is asleep so that we work our schedules in harmony.

I also believe that we have to work to maintain that connection.  If we don't nurture the connections then they start to die.  I choose to babywear using my baby slings (how did I end up with four different styles, by the way? I swear they are breeding!).  Using a sling keeps baby close to their parent.  There is more face to face contact between parent and child which keeps that connection strong and helps to build a relationship that is strong as a result.  It also makes it easier to use public transport.  Let me tell you, getting on a bus with a large pushchair reminds me of the old T.V. shows that featured contestants running various obstacle courses.  However, walking on with a baby sling means I just find a seat and off we go!

Added to this, the connection I feel to my environment leads me to use Reusable Nappies and to minimise the amount of chemicals I expose my family and my environment to.  I still use disposables sometimes (Cub has had tummy troubles recently and went through a dozen nappies in one day!) but I try and choose ones that are friendlier to the environment.  I recycle (not the nappies, just in case that crossed your mind) and I choose products that are kind to environment.  Being mindful of my environment leads me to prefer soft, cloth toys with less plastic which are in turn better for Cub.

I think what I am saying here (in my usual rambling style) is that my beliefs influence my behaviours naturally and my style of parenting is part of these behaviours.  Yes, I researched many different styles of parenting during my pregnancy but in the end I am choosing the style which suits our needs best.  These needs include our family's beliefs and our practical needs.  By going with Baby-led Parenting, I really am using my beliefs in my every day life with child.  We are all connected.  Baby-led parenting honours that connection and encourages us to work with our baby to fulfil all our needs and you can't get much more Pagan than that!

Here is the Cub enjoying some play time while Mama Kitty eats lunch.


Sgnr.Perceval said...

Hmm, a thought-provoking post... interesting from my POV, how all your objectives are ones I also relate to and aim for, whilst some methods never occurred to me and I wonder why now. I know (14½ years on) that I've done well in some areas but I also know which areas I've done really crappy in, though I dunno, looking back, how I could realistically have done anything differently whilst still being me...

Nah, don't take 18 as the year of judgement... were you the full product by that age? lol

Kitty said...

18 is less a year of judgement and more of a good guideline for what kind of person the Cub will be. My oldest nephew turned 18 last year and I can see he is going to be a pretty great guy.

Also, it's good when you can talk to your nephew and know that he is the type of person you would want to hang out with. :)