Blog re-branding: Loving Earth Mama

Hi guys,

So as you know I have been thinking deeply for a while now about how or whether to continue this blog. My solution (for now at least) is to continue this blog in a slightly new way. This shift has been happening already gradually over the last few weeks. Here are some of the changes:

  • New look – I am thinking you noticed that :)
  • The blog’s name. You may have noticed  also that I changed the blog’s name from ‘The Blessing Tree’ to ‘Loving Earth Mama’. I have used the moniker ‘Loving Earth’ for many years now in different online media. I immediately thought of it when I was registering this blog, unfortunately it had already been taken as a WordPress blog name (by a cute environmental blog so I did not begrudge them)… so I had to come up with something else. But in truth I never thought ‘The Blessing Tree’ really fit this blog. Now I have bought the domain ‘Loving Earth Mama’ and really like it. I hope you like it too.
  • There are now ‘Wordless Wednesdays‘ – which capture a mothering or toddler moment in photo form. This is following a well-established mama-blogging convention which appealed to me (as an amateur photographer)…plus it is nice to have a break from ‘words’ but still share the joy for your parenting journey.  They are not always ‘great’ photos in the technical sense. Sometimes they really just are snapshots of a moment that touched my heart like this one, for example. Others worked out as both photos I like technically and which capture some toddler fun I want to remember, like this one.
  • I have been slowly moving from purely describing my experience and Anya’s milestones in a journal-type fashion toward a more reflective and broader style of writing which I hope will both represent more mother/parent’s experiences and act as a springboard for people to discuss or think about their own approach to parenting.
  • There is now a facebook page – open to all – linked to this blog which we can use as an easy, open and accessible forum to discuss any topics and issues that come up for us directly in relation to blog posts here at Loving Earth Mama or in general, out in the world. Topics related to conscious mothering, healthy childhood, gentle discipline, etc.

Topics on this blog will continue to include (among many others, no doubt):

  • Attachment Parenting
  • Baby Sign Language
  • Breastfeeding
  • Healthy Eating for Mamas, Kiddos and Whole Families
  • Mothering as Spiritual Practice

Do join me (and join in on the debates on facebook, here or in your own homes, even) as this wonderful, surprising, challenging and fun journey of motherhood continues. Thank you all. In joy,

Gauri

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Another Beautiful Blog: Simplicity Parenting

You know some days you are rushed, running, hectic, stressed. That is how my day ran today. And then I read this and remembered to breathe:

Simplicity Parenting » Blog Archive » Becoming Like Little Children.

Thanks to Natural Mama for pointing this little gem out to us.

1 Award, 7 Secrets I Have Been Keeping and 15 Mommy and Photography Blogs

I have been nominated for a Stylish Blog Award by the lovely Rachel of Racheous, bless her. It seems like this ‘award’ is one of those happy-viruses that gets you to play a game (which in this case involves answering some questions) and then tag other people, whose work you admire, to do the same. Here is the scoop on this one, to accept the award I must:

  • Thank and link back to the person who gave me this award.
  • Share 7 things about myself.
  • Pay it forward to 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
  • Contact those bloggers and tell them about the award.

So, first and foremost: thank you Rachel you are gracious as well as Racheous and I think everybody should go over and give you some blogging love. You deserve it truly.

7 secrets revealed:

  1. I suffer(ed) from postpartum anxiety. The symptoms are much eased now and, though they were scary to me, never interfered with the practical skills of mothering or indeed with my bond with my beautiful daughter, they just somehow cast a shadow of self-doubt over my inner being. More on this to come, no doubt, as I  have been meaning to blog about it forever but finding the words just didn’t come.
  2. We have not vaccinated Anya. We may or may not do so in the future. I was not vaccinated myself except for immunizations I had to have for school in Portugal (Tetanus) and some for travelling to exotic destinations. So far, at least, I chose to treat Anya naturally, only. For me this is a decision based in love. I know this is super controversial which is partly why I have not blogged about it yet, either. Again, consider this a teaser of posts to come.
  3. I hate sleep training.  Many people I know have done it and this is no judgment of them – you did what you had to do for your family. I can understand mammas that sleep train their babies as a last resort, because they have to, for themselves, for their sanity. I really get it. Honestly, nothing has brought so much empathy and understanding to me as motherhood. However, I don’t get it when it is defended as a good thing for babies or as a given for all families. I mean, I understand that it might be necessary for families to function, for mother’s (especially working mothers) to finally sleep. I don’t at all buy into the whole ‘getting babies to sleep on their own early helps them become more independent and better sleepers in the long run’ or the converse argument that ‘co-sleeping leads to soft, spoilt, dependent babies’. For one it doesn’t make sense that doing what at least 80% of the world does in bringing up kids leads to dependency and adults who can’t sleep properly. Clearly they can. And, for two, I was brought up like this myself and am perfectly good at ‘self-soothing’, thank you very much. In fact I have always been a great sleeper. My mum just trusted that when I was ready to sleep alone I would and guess what, it worked. I feel the same and am inspired to trust nature, biology and my baby’s own sense of inner timing in finding when she is ready to sleep on her own. [I wasn’t going to quote science ‘cos I think you can always distort or pick at research to make the point you want, but then topically the Times just published this: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1083020.ece with some of the arguments from neuroscience as to why co-sleeping is best for babies. So, there it is, one reading of the science on this.]
  4. I am drawn to unschooling. Alas, I am not sure it is for me, the whole home-schooling thing. I mean I think it is awesome and yet my feeling is that for it to work the parent doing the homeschooling has to have a real passion for it. After all, that is the point you are trying to impart to your kid. Unschooling is all about letting your kid follow their interests and trusting that they will be thus driven to learn what they need to, not only to further their hobbies but to get on in life. Now, surely, the best and highest way to ‘teach’ this is by example, no? So while I heartily embrace the principles of unschooling and totally want to encourage my kid to freely follow her passions, I need to follow mine too and see where they lead, and being a home-teaching (un-teaching?) mum may or may not be it. But then I still have time to see how that develops within me. In the meantime, I would say that my every interaction with my daughter has been in the spirit of unschooling or child-led learning and we are both the richer for it. I don’t force learning on her but I do watch closely and support her need to explore whatever is catching her interest at that time. Again, this may turn into a post in its own right. Watch this space.
  5. I have a guru. Yep, I am sure that sounds bizarre or unusual to many of you. I usually substitute it for the word ‘spiritual teacher’ which seems a bit more palatable, nowadays. Guru, in the original hindu, means ‘remover of darkness’. This points to the fact that a guru does not teach, they only remind you of your original essence by ‘removing’ what is not you, whatever doubt or insecurity is clouding  your vision. It is very sad to me that the word ‘guru’ has become synonymous with all kinds of crazy things, especially in the US. It is unfortunate, too, that most people automatically assume that those who have a guru are weak and dependent or something like that. For me having a spiritual teacher or guide is freeing – it is somebody who a) provides a living example of effortlessly being in the Now, not of human perfection – a contradiction in itself – but of living comfortably, harmoniously and effortlessly with imperfection, if that makes sense; and b) somebody who knows ‘me’ well and can catch my ego-mind at its tricks. Many very spiritual people don’t have a teacher. They say they don’t need one. That always sounds a bit like a paradox to me. If they think they are above teaching is that not a likely sign that their ego is in charge? Some people are at ease and done with ‘searching’ – that is another matter. But if they are in some sense still seeking some kind of relief or self-development and convinced they are better than those who turn to a guide… uh-oh: alarm bells. Only the ego would think it is above teaching and guidance, no? I do think we are in a new era where the role of the guru is much changed from the traditional role it had, mostly in India. Many people are waking up, becoming self-realised or enlightened through their own life-trials with no guru to guide their way… then again many people are not. But when the student is ready the teacher will come. No need to force it. I, too, used to think I didn’t need a teacher, now I am very grateful for the presence of Mooji in my life. The inner-guru still reigns supreme, of course, always. Your ultimate guide is God… or some may call it their inner voice or intuition but sometimes an outer voice of reason, that keeps us grounded and catches us out – especially when we think we have got ‘it’ – can be super useful.
  6. I like reality TV. I know, from the sublime to the ridiculous, ei? Well, there it is, I do. I have always been a people watcher and I consider my love of reality TV (things like Wife-Swap or The Apprentice) as a kind of extension of that. Many of my friends are surprised by this. Many of my friends don’t even own a TV and when they do watch a screen it is a documentary or a French film. I obviously attract that kind of intellectual friend… and yet as soon as they find out my own viewing habits, well… but it is all good fun to me and all about balance.
  7. I love my husband and my daughter dearly. I guess you already knew that, if you have been following this blog, but I just wanted to throw that in again, for good measure, ’cause you can never say that too much!

Blogs that I love:

On birthing and mothering:

  1. There’s a baby out there, that’s the reality – makes me laugh
  2. Uninteresting::Amo-isms – real, insightful, personal account of a journey through mommyhood
  3. Freechildhood –  opens my mind to birthing and mothering alternatives (but no activity on there of late… has she moved?)
  4. I’m unschooled. Yes I can write. –  lovely to learn about unschooling from the perspective of the (grown) kids
  5. Attachment Parenting – the title got me first but I keep reading for a ‘daddy’s perspective’
  6. Natural Mama –  kindred spirits, producing a blog full of insight and practical tips
  7. Erin Ellis Homebirth Midwife – strong on the politics of homebirth
  8. My Funny Bunny – cute, funny and linked to an ethical store
  9. Classic Mommy – down to Earth, human and easy to relate to
  10. Women in Charge – beautiful, healing and inspirational birth stories
  11. Journal of a Mom – touching, honest and with great, original photos, too
  12. Raising Kvell by Mayim Bianik (aka ‘Blossom’) a clear, passionate and articulate advocate for attachment parenting

For photographic inspiration:

  1. Beth Armsheimer – wowee! I love her tones and textures, they really capture a mood
  2. Becoming Mom – a mommy blog with GREAT photography
  3. Robyn Russell – OMG you have got to check out her newborn photos!!

And for good measure, one bonus slightly off-topic blog:

  1. Food Politics – interesting and informed commentary on, well, the politics of food :)

Where have I been? and where to from here?

It would seem I have been taking an unexpected sabbatical from blog writing. Sorry about that. Of course loads of ideas for blog posts have been getting back-logged in my mind but things have been so busy (as I am sure they have been for many of you, too) that it has been hard to take a moment to write them down, properly. So, all being well, some of them will make it to e-paper soon, soon… then again we are travelling to Europe pretty soon, so the flow may remain a little stop-start for the next few weeks. Do come back and check-in, though. Leave messages, let me know how your child-rearing life is going and if there is anything you’d like me to address. Will be great fun to come back to it…

I should say my intention was always to chart my first year as a parent in a blog and then reassess. Anya’s first birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks. So it is time to chose the best course for my blogging future. I am taking votes on that too. I mean, what kind of posts do you most enjoy reading here. Are you a friend or family member who reads my blog for Anya updates? Are you a new mother or parent who finds solace in experiences that echo your own? Do you enjoy the reflections on parenting styles? Why do you read this blog? Perhaps it is time for a slight re-invention :)


Over to you. Photo from Halloween… just to keep you guessing.

Fame at last!…

OMG somebody has blogged about my blog (here). How awesome is that?!… wait or is that a little bit like two guys in anoraks acknowledging each other’s trainspotting prowess?! I don’t know. All I know is that I am super-stoked and very touched that Sarah would chose to mention me in her fun and thought-provoking blog, Natural Mama. The name kind of says it all. Lily, her little bundle of joy was born at home in June this year. Since then Sarah has been following her heart and practicing gentle mothering, treating her baby with full respect, love and awe! For her (as for me) this includes many of the principles now lumped together and called ‘attachment parenting‘. Sarah takes counsel from her inner voice on this,  despite not always been surrounded by people who understand or support her approach to caring for her child. I know that feeling.

Finding ‘Natural Mama’ was like connecting with a sister soul in a world where so many make such different parenting choices. Hey, I honour everybody’s right to chose their own path… but sometimes it is nice to know I am not alone in mine!

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