Dirty Secrets of a Green & Natural Mama (and Why I’m Not Afraid to Share Them!)

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

Welcome to the “I’m a Natural Parent – BUT…” Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. During this carnival our participants have focused on the many different forms and shapes Natural Parenting can take in our community.

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When Shannon from The Artful Mama came up with the idea to host a carnival called “I’m a Natural Parent… BUT…”, my fellow Natural Parents Network volunteers and I responded with great enthusiasm. There is something so appealing about sharing what you consider to be your dirty, little parenting secrets and yet still having the opportunity to be validated by others.

There is not one among us that can claim to be a perfect parent, but what we can proudly claim ownership of is being a perfect parent for our own families. In my definition of being perfect for our own particular family, a mama is aware, informed, loving, respectful, and filled with the best intentions, BUT she also makes choices or takes shortcuts which keep her from being too stressed and allow her to have the time and the presence of mind to actually ENJOY her family rather than just take care of them.

toddler eating a muffin

I have a little secret...

Here are a few (not all!) of my dirty, little parenting secrets. I proudly call myself a Green & Natural Mama because I prioritize utilizing natural parenting philosophies, and I make real efforts every day to live greenly and to protect my family and our world from toxins and chemicals, but as you’ll see from my secrets below, what may seem like “real efforts” to me may seem like nothing at all compared to what some mamas accomplish. Other mamas may see my efforts as too much effort. Either way, I focus on the positive choices and changes that I have made in my family’s life because every little step counts when you are caring for a family, and while I think we should all always be aspiring to be better, greener, and more aware, that doesn’t mean we can’t take pride in the baby steps we have taken to enhancing our families lives!

1. We use cloth diapers, BUT Baby has never worn a cloth diaper overnight.

I love cloth diapering – the cute factor, the green factor, and the health impact, but Baby has had major sleep challenges throughout his 20 months of life, and we have made the choice to only respond with gentle and sensitive tactics to help him sleep as much as possible (Read: We don’t get a lot of sleep), so there has never been a point where I’ve felt comfortable adding one more nighttime challenge into the mix for us. We need all the sleep we can get, and taking the time to figure out which cloth diaper would work best overnight has never made it on to my priority list.

2. We have transitioned to cloth wipes, BUT we don’t use them all the time.

Baby’s dirty diapers are far from containing… we’ll call it solids only… and I just don’t want to use the cloth wipes on his… um, very explosive gifts to us… so we use Seventh Generation Free & Clear Baby Wipes for dirty diapers, and while cloth wipes come with us when we’re on the go for nose wiping, I use the Seventh Generation wipes for on-the-go diaper changes too.

3. We do a ton of co-sleeping, BUT we don’t do it for the whole night and we don’t do it all the time.

Baby’s sleep patterns and needs change so consistently, that there is no one size fits all approach to providing him (and us) with the best possible night’s sleep. Sometimes co-sleeping is the clear answer, and sometimes, it seems like the worst approach to helping Baby because he has had many stages where he throws parties in the middle of the night. During this particular stage, Dada and I are what we call “too exciting” for Baby. He practically raises the roof of our house when he is in bed with us during these times.

I could go on and on with more of my parenting secrets, but I think I’ll save them for future blog posts since you probably get the idea by now.

Cheers to all of us mamas who are simply doing the best we can!

I’d love to hear your dirty, little parenting secrets in the comments section below!

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I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that “natural parenting” means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Catwoman February 26, 2012 at 6:53 am

Such a nice post! Thanks for sharing you dirty little secrets, they aren’t dirty at all:) I really loved your definition of the perfect mom, it’s so nice, I wish I could be like you!
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2 Jenny Mathews February 26, 2012 at 8:04 am

Very interesting secrets. Has anyone done the math, that is to say compareing the cost of using clothe diapwers versus the use of disposables taking into consideration the cost of detergents, water electricity and time?
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3 Eric P February 26, 2012 at 8:41 am

Use cloth diaper is really exhausting but you’re not only saving your pocket but you’re also saving mother earth. How long did you start the transition from the conventional diaper to the cloth one? Keep on doing those things.

-Eric
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4 Shannon at The Artful Mama February 26, 2012 at 9:06 am

I had to smile to myself when I was embarrassed to let you see that I had disposable wipes with cloth when I visited the other day and then I remembered your “confession”. Thank you so much for participating and for letting others know that it is perfectly acceptable to do as much as you can in the place you are in your life. Natural Parenting is intuitive parenting for whatever Baby and Mama need.
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5 Dionna @ Code Name: Mama February 26, 2012 at 11:34 am

My lovely Charise – I use disposable wipes most of the time with Ailia, and they aren’t even Seventh Gen ;) It’s so funny to read some of these posts and think – wow! I must have people fooled ;)

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6 Ashley@Daisy Pedals February 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Great list! We do both cloth and disposable diapers and wipes too. We do cloth as much as we can but do disposable overnight and for travel. And then use the wipes that match the diaper we’re taking off. If cloth is coming off then I use cloth wipe, it’s just easier than separating out which bins they get thrown in!
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7 Emily February 26, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I was just saying (half jokingly) this morning that we should buy TWO beds for Baz’s room because with my growing numbers of pillows to support my growing belly, our toddler who likes to party in the middle of the night, and the two cats who just want to sleep with us…our bed is almost only big enough for one of us and no one is getting much sleep. Bedsharing is not for the faint of heart.
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8 Amy February 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I (enthusiastically) second your feelings on sleep. I am so grateful that I’ve been able to stay flexible about sleeping arrangements throughout Daniel’s life, because it has allowed us all to continue to do what has been best for us in each moment. Whether you’re talking about location of sleep (in our bed, in a cradle, in a floor bed in our room, or in a different room), position (back, belly, side-lying, fully swaddled, partially swaddled, no swaddle), or who is present (Daniel by himself, with one or the other of us, or both parents), or any of the many other variables present, we’ve gone through SO MANY different iterations of what works for us. I just can’t believe that there are ANY one-size-fits-all parenting strategies, when we’re all unique people (as parents and as children) with unique styles and needs. Great post!
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9 Brenna @ Almost All The Truth February 26, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I think there is a tendency in the blog world, but in real life too, to only show people the best of ourselves and our parenting, as well as the opposite. I think it is great and normal for everyone to not be completely green and natural because it does often take away from something else due to cost, time, patience. Especially when you have tiny ones. The best we can do is always try for better when possible and be accessible to those who want to learn more.
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10 Luschka February 26, 2012 at 7:42 pm

“to actually ENJOY her family rather than just take care of them.” I think that’s the key, really and I think that’s so well put too. I love your confessions. We are in the process of switching to cloth wipes, and have a lovely set now and Ameli uses them all through the day for the wiping of hands and so on – and it’s so lovely to see her walking over to the clean bin, wringing out the water, wiping her hands, and putting the wipes in the dirty bin. It makes me feel really proud. But when it comes to dirty nappies? I use disposable, flushable, eco, free from crappy chemical wipes. I can’t be worrying about pooh all over wetwipes on top of everything else! gah! ;)

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11 Lani @ Boobie Time Blog February 26, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I think we share the same dirty little secrets! I love this carnival!
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12 Terri February 26, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I’ve been practically killing myself with guilt recently due to the fact that I started using one disposable per night on each of my 2 kids. I wanted to be that Mama who did all cloth, all the time. While we did for a good amount of time it came to a point where I would be waking up at 3am with soaked sheets, the kids in wet clothes and having to do a complete change of them, placing towels over the wet patches all by the light of my cell phone. I have very little sleep anyway and this extra chore which would disturb my sleep completely was starting to send me crazy. I’m sure there are state-of-the-art no leak cloth diapers out there somewhere but we just can not afford the trial and error. So while I still despise the ecological and health impact of the sposies (I don’t even have the choice to get an ‘eco’ brand here) I also had to give myself a literal rest! Your confession and the posts of many others during this blog carnival have made be relax and be a little easier on myself. No point in being perfect and miserable and I can definitely enjoy being a parent a lot more when I’ve had a least some sleep!
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13 Jen February 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Every little bit counts and seriously none of us are perfect. I think you are doing an awesome job!
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14 Jessica Pace February 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Your doing great, and there is no way to be 100% crunchy 100% of the time! :)
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15 Devhonn February 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm

We can relate to you…Thank you for sharing this to us…Great post here..
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16 Wendy February 27, 2012 at 3:32 am

You’re an awesome mom! You serve an inspiration to other moms through this blog post of your. Plus I really like the idea that you used cloth for diapers. Such a wise mom. good job!
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17 Queenie20 February 27, 2012 at 5:42 am

Cheers to you too! Your are doing a great job for being a mom.. Hope I am too.. Thanks for sharing your secrets with us.. :)
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18 Ayie February 28, 2012 at 4:43 am

Being a mother is never easy and it has no day offs…It can be fulfilling at the same time when you see your kids happy…
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19 Katharina25 February 28, 2012 at 5:37 am

Hi there! I love reading your post. The title is quite interesting so I finished reading it. When me and my siblings are at our younger age (toddlers), my mom used diaper cloth to us. So when I had my baby, I used diaper cloth too. It’s comfortable and rashes free. But we didn’t used it at overnight to prevent us from waking up from time to time.
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20 Wynona March 13, 2012 at 11:35 am

hehehe.. we where the same ways . diaper it so expensive. cloth diaper it is a practical to use…
thanks for shearing this . :)
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21 Born25 March 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

As a mom, I want to provide all the things that can bring the happiness of comfort to my children… You are such a great mom who stand for all the greatness of life…
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22 Rudz April 19, 2012 at 6:07 am

I am mom of one. I found that the cloths are very good. My children never had problems with their skin. I save money and they are out of allergies..

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