Parenting Philosophy: Being Present

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Philosophy

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 their parenting practices and how they fit in with their parenting purpose. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


When I think about any of the parenting decisions that I have made and what I want my son to remember about me, it all boils down to being present.  I want him to know that he is the most important person in my life and that I was truly interested in him and loved him no matter what.  That no matter what was going on at that time in our lives or in the world, that I was not too busy to stop and pay attention to his needs.  This sounds great but can be complicated by being a working parents, so we have adjusted certain parts of our life to make our parenting philosophy work.

We choose to “shift parent”

What this means is we choose to work different hours so we can maximize the time we spend with our son and minimize the time he spends at a daycare facility.  This has afforded us the privilege of being present when our son has reached a milestone instead of hearing about the first time he rolled over, sat up, took a first step or said his first word when we picked him up from daycare.  We have felt blessed to have been present at those times even if only one of us was there, it was good to see the joy in each other’s eyes as we related those moments to the other parent.

This parenting choice does result in some sacrifices as well, our home life looks a lot like a single parent home.  Even though one parent is present, inevitably someone misses out on something.  Decisions need to be made on the fly, but the other parent must be thought of as well. Communication and preplanning are important to our parenting success.  We try to imagine what could occur during our time apart when we are the parent in charge and then talk with each other about how we would handle it together.

Mistakes are accepted and changes are made

We do not own a crystal ball, we are both first time parents so we cannot predict every part of the day.  Even the circumstances we thought out and planned for are not always handled beautifully and exactly as we planned, because part of being present is recognizing that what you thought before might not work right now.  We both are practicing the art of the apology with our son and each other.  Our home is much happier if we can accept that people do not always “act” the way you want them to.

Crying is going to happen and it is okay

Our once happy, smiling content baby is now an opinionated, independent active toddler.  Being present for our son now means that we need to strap on some running shoes, get ready to catch a falling climber, protect a house-pet from misguided displays of affection and to face a dreaded tantrum.  That last part can be the hardest.  As parents who practice attachment parenting, it can appear counterintuitive to allow a child to cry.  You want your child to know that you love and appreciate them but part of life is sometimes setting boundaries that could result in some tears.

My wise friend, Amy at Peace for Parents has often reminded me that crying is a valid emotion and should be respected and that we should not be quick to try to quiet the cry.  It has become important for us as parents to name the emotion, whether it is fear, sadness, frustration or anger and to allow our son to experience it but to be present with him for the duration of the emotion.

Learning from our parenting choices

We have also found ourselves in the role of teacher during these times, modeling this behavior for family and friends who are not familiar with this approach.  What surprises everyone most is that because we are respecting our son and remaining present with him, the emotion he is experiencing does not last long.  Our efforts to remain present with our son through the good and the not so great has taught us to understand our son’s needs more thoroughly.  We rarely have those, “What do you want!?” moments of endless crying and tantrums.  We have been able to recognize the non-verbal cues that lead up to an emotion and we are better equipped to meet our son’s needs.


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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:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon July 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Between Love and Fear: On Raising our Children Sensibly — Mamma Earthly at Give an Earthly discusses the fear factor in parenting and how she overcame it, despite societal pressures.
  • really, when do i get my cape? — Sarah at small bird on fire is a working city mama trying to learn how to set aside her expectations of perfection and embrace the reality of modern parenting.
  • Baby, Infant, and Toddler Wearing — Child wearing is part of Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured‘s parenting philosophy. In this post, Sarah describes benefits of child-wearing and gives tips for wearing babies, infants, and toddlers (even while pregnant).
  • First Year Reflections — As her daughter’s first birthday approaches, Holly at First Year Reflections reflects on how she and her husband settled into attachment parenting after initially doing what they thought everyone else did.
  • Making an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a guest post from Sam about the unexpected lessons giving a four-year-old an allowance teaches the child — and the parent.
  • How to be a Lazy Parent and Still Raise Great Kids — Lisa at Granola Catholic talks about how being a Lazy Parent has helped her to raise Great Kids.
  • Philosophy in Practice — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how her heart shaped the parenting philosophy in her home.
  • What is Attachment Parenting Anyway? — Gaby at Tmuffin describes the challenges of putting a label on her parenting philosophy.
  • Of Parenting Styles — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom talks about how she and her husband tailored various parenting styles to fit their own preferred parenting philosophy.
  • Moment by Moment Parenting — Amy at Peace 4 Parents encourages those who care for children (including herself) to explore and appreciate parenting moment-by-moment with clarity, intention, trust, and action.
  • Maintaining Spirituality in the Midst of Everyday Parenting, Marriage, and Life — Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured shares her perspective on finding opportunities for spiritual growth in every day life.
  • Parenting Philosophy — Lily, aka Witch Mom’s parenting philosophy is to raise child(ren) to be compassionate, loving, inquisitive, and questioning adults who can be trusted to make decisions for themselves in a way that avoids harming others.
  • Long Term — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis thinks about who she would like to see her daughter become — and what she can do now to lay a strong foundation for those hopes.
  • Connection, Communication, Compassion — She’s come a long way, baby! After dropping her career in favour of motherhood, Patti at Jazzy Mama discovered that building solid relationships was going to be her only parenting priority.
  • My Parenting Inspirations – Part 4 — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at her biggest parenting inspiration and how that translates into her long-term parenting philosophy.
  • A Parenting Philosophy in One Word: Respect — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction summarizes her parenting and relationship philosophy in one word: respect.
  • Knowledge and Instinct — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that knowledge and instinct are super important … as are love, encouragement and respect. It’s the ideal combo needed to raise happy and healthy children and in turn create meaningful relationships with them.
  • THRIVE!The Sparkle Mama wants to set a tone of confidence, abundance, and happiness in her home that will be the foundation for the rest of her daughter’s life.
  • On Children — “Your children are not your children,” say Kahlil Gibran and Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • This One Life Together — Ariadne aka Mudpiemama shares her philosophy of parenting: living fully in the here and now and building the foundation for a happy and healthy life.
  • Enjoying life and planning for a bright future — Olivia at Write About Birth shares her most important parenting dilemmas and pours out her heart about past trauma and how healing made her a better parent.
  • My Parenting Philosophy: Unconditional and Natural Love — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about her parenting philosophy from a year of following her instincts as a mama.
  • An open letter to my children — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine writes an open letter to her children.
  • My Starter Kit for Unconditional Parenting — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses her wish to raise a good person and summarizes some of the nontraditional practices she’s using with her toddler son in order to fulfill that wish.
  • Responsiveness — Sheila at A Gift Universe has many philosophies and goals, but what it all boils down to is responsiveness: listening to what her son wants and providing what he needs.
  • Tools for Creating Your Parenting Philosophy — Have you ever really thought about your parenting purpose? Knowing your long-term goals can help you parent with more intent in your daily interactions. Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers exercises and ideas to help you create your own parenting philosophy.
  • Be a Daisy — Becky at Old New Legacy philosophizes about individuality and how she thinks it’s important for her daughter’s growth.
  • What’s a Mama to Do? — Amyables at Toddler in Tow hopes that her dedication to compassionate parenting will keep her children from becoming too self-critical as adults.
  • grown-up anxieties. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life explains her lone worry concerning her babies growing up.
  • Why I Used Montessori Principles in My Parenting Philosophy — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why she chose Montessori principles to help her now-adult children develop qualities she wanted to see in them as children and adults.
  • Parenting Philosophies & Planning for the FutureMomma Jorje considers that the future is maybe just a fringe benefit of doing what feels right now.
  • Not Just Getting Through — Rachael at The Variegated Life asks what truths she hopes to express even in the most commonplace interactions with her son.
  • Parenting Philosophy? Eh… — Ana at Pandamoly shares the philosophy (or lack thereof) being employed to (hopefully) raise a respectful, loving, and responsible child.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Being Present — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the changes her family has made to accommodate their parenting philosophy and to reflect their ideals as working parents.
  • Who They Will Be — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares a short list of some qualities she hopes she is instilling in her children at this very moment.
  • Short Term vs. Long Term — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts how long term parenting goals often get lost in the details of everyday life with two kids.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Practicing and Nurturing Peace — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle sets personal goals for developing greater peace.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 1: The Yamas — In part 1 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie guest posts at Natural Parents Network about how the Yoga Sutras provide a framework for her parenting philosophy.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 2: The Niyamas — In part 2 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie explores how the Niyamas (one of the eight limbs in traditional Yoga) help her maintain her parenting and life focus.
  • Our Sample Parenting Plan — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shares hopes of who her children will become and parenting strategies she employs to get them there.
  • Philosophical Parenting: Letting Go — Jona at Life, Intertwined ponders the notion that there’s no right answer when it comes to parenting.
  • Unphilosophizing? — jessica at instead of institutions wonders about the usefulness of navel gazing.
  • Parenting Sensitively — Amy at Anktangle uses her sensitivity to mother her child in ways that both nurture and affirm.
  • how to nurture your relationships — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog believes that sometimes all kids need is a jolly good listening to …
  • Philosophy Of An Unnatural Parent — Dr. Sarah at Good Enough Mum sees parenting as a process of guiding her children to develop the skills they’ll need.
  • Life with a Challenging Kid: Hidden Blessings — Wendy at High Needs Attachment shares the challenges and joys of raising a high needs child.
  • Flying by the Seat of My Pants — Heather at Very Nearly Hippy has realized that she has no idea what she’s doing.
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29 Responses to Parenting Philosophy: Being Present

  1. Pingback: Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 1: The Yamas | Natural Parents Network

  2. When Tom and I have discussed the possibility of me returning to work, one of the biggest factors is finding positions where we can parent in shifts. That hasn’t had to happen yet, but it’s always refreshing to read about a family where it’s working.

  3. Great post! I really agree about crying – it’s heartbreaking sometimes, but I know that sometimes, it needs to happen. It can seem difficult setting boundaries, especially as a first time parent living in a pseudo-single-parenting mode (I’m a single mom, I can totally relate to wanting to be there but not always being able to… My son is with family everyday, at least, so they get to tell me rather than a day care transient). Learning to read the nonverbal cues has been so valuable, and it’s really a gift instead of something easily learned. Being responsive, even through crying, is great, and I think that nurturing emotions and emotional well-being and expression is invaluable.


  5. Rachael says:

    I’m so glad you wrote about crying. I realized after I had submitted my own post that I had not included anything about crying or strong emotions, which is strange, because responding to the Critter and helping him through his strong emotions is so very important to me. Those feelings are so big — but they’re also not a big deal. Nothing to suppress, and nothing to make a big fuss about. They arise, they pass away.

    Of course, I’m one to make a big fuss about my own big emotions, so I guess I’m learning right alongside the Critter!

  6. Momma Jorje says:

    I am familiar with shift parenting and the huge sacrifice of time together as husband and wife. I am thankful to currently be at home full time.

    I also wanted to mention, about the crying, that I get so annoyed when people want to quickly tell my child “It’s okay.” No, it is *not* okay, or she wouldn’t be upset. But *that* is okay. I want to be present with her with her emotions, but certainly not to dismiss them!

  7. Pingback: My Parenting Philosophy: Unconditional and Natural Love

  8. Pingback: Why I Used Montessori Principles in My Parenting Philosophy |

  9. Pingback: Long Term « Rosmarinus Officinalis

  10. Pingback: Be a daisy | Old New Legacy

  11. Pingback: A Parenting Philosophy in One Word: Respect | Monkey Butt Junction

  12. Pingback: Not Just Getting Through

  13. Pingback: Yama Niyama and the Red Pajama Mama: Part 2 « TouchstoneZ

  14. Pingback: Philosophical Parenting: Letting Go | Life, Intertwined

  15. we start shift parenting (again) in feb. i’m not looking forward to it, but it will be best for everyone. i commend you!

  16. Great thoughts! I love that the “shift parenting” is going well for your family. Your philosophy of being present is wonderful because it can meet so many of your son’s needs, whether it’s following an interest or respecting your son’s emotions.

  17. Pingback: Parenting Philosophy: Practicing and Nurturing Peace - Child of the Nature Isle

  18. I truly admire the dedication and constant hard work it takes to make your marriage a success given the hours you see one another. And on top of that, to be parents, is an even greater challenge that I see you commanding beautifully. This is such a wonderful philosophy to have and maintain and one I’m afraid I don’t work on quite as much as I *should.*

  19. Pingback: On Children « Wild Parenting

  20. That’s interesting that you two chose shift work to be more present in your son’s life. That would be a tough choice, but I can understand why you made it.

    I’m still learning about the crying-is-valid thing. It can be really hard for me to step back (or forward, really) and let my son be upset when he needs to be. It was easier for me when he was a baby, but I have to keep reminding myself that he’s allowed to at this age as well. Just as I am at my age!

  21. Bree Mith says:

    Can I simply say what a relief to find somebody who really is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You definitely know how to carry a difficulty to gentle and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant imagine youre not more well-liked because you definitely have the gift.

  22. I don’t think I can ever say enough about crying. As I child I did not have an opportunity to see crying as a valid emotion. It took a lot for me to make the change in my own thought process to see crying as valid. But it is also highly important to make the distinction between valid emotion and crying it out. It is important to honor crying as valid and to allow a child to cry if that is the emotion he is experiencing but not to ignore a child to the point of tears. That also ties into my philosophy of being present, I don’t check-out as a parent just because it is bedtime.
    Thank you all. I don’t think either myself or my husband acknowledge to each other just how much we do sacrifice to do this for our son. I need to be better at reflecting on just how lucky I am that he has gone on this journey with me.

  23. Pingback: Of Parenting Styles « Chronicles of a Nursing Mom

  24. Pingback: Life with a challenging kid: hidden blessings « high needs attachment

  25. Pingback: Philosophy in Practice «

  26. Pingback: Attachment Parenting and Depression | The Artful Mama

  27. Pingback: What’s a Mama to Do?

  28. Pingback: Moment by Moment Parenting | Presence Parenting

  29. Pingback: My Parenting Inspirations - Part 4 Hybrid Rasta Mama

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