Consensual living

Here’s a senerio for you: Little Johnny is 3 and has decided that he is never again brushing his teeth. What do you do? You could try forcing him to brush them, though forcing a 3 year old to do anything often turns into a bigger war than any mom plans for. You could try reasoning with him, maybe with a little bribing added in for good measure. There are always scare tactics, you know the “If you don’t brush your teeth they’ll all fall out!”. Some parents may resort to spanking or time outs. And others may try shame, “good boys always brush their teeth”. But what if you tried a more consensual living approach?

Consensual living is, from Wikipedia:

is a philosophy derived from the principles of consensus decision-making which advocates a consent-based approach to conflict resolution. The process of finding solutions in this model usually includes the communication of individual needs and the brainstorming of possible solution which will successfully address the needs of all parties, based on finding a common preference.

CL adopts the democratic principle of equality by which the wants and needs of everyone involved are considered equally in the process of problem solving, regardless of an individual’s age or position. Because of this stance, CL is sometimes regarded as a parenting philosophy, where children are considered to have an equal say in family decision making.

Most parents are probably scratching their heads right now. Don’t worry, I was just as confused and nervous and uncertain the first time I ever heard of this as well. Often most of the parenting advice we get has little to do with working towards making everyone happy, but instead works towards getting the parents what they want. So how would a consensual living parent handle the situation with little Johnny? Here’s how one pareent who uses consensual living ideals with her children replied:

actually come to think of it we did have the teethbrushing problem.
it turned out that her strawberry toothpaste was minty and the mentholated feeling was freaking her out.
i validated her menthol aversion, then tried to visualize the oral health section of the hfs to give her some alternatives, she got angry and said she didnt want to use anything, i explained why you need to brush your teeth and showed her my fillings, explaned cavities and all that in the least scary way i possibly could, she was actively asking questions the whole time, we did some verbal processing and she wanted to hear about the alternatives to minty toothpaste. she decided on one and now she loves brushing her teeth…

All this week I want to look at consensual living as it applies to parenting. Some of the topics including punishment, control, and learning to trust our children. Like a great article I found at the parenting pit you have to recognise The Possible and Impossible in Parenting. I hope you all will come back this week and learn a bit more about it with me.

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Attachment Parenting Mommies

I don’t hide the fact that I fall into the Attachment Parenting (AP) group in how I parent my kids. It is just what feels right to me and the way that works the best for us. During my first son’s pregnancy we were living in a tiny apartment and had no cable or internet access. The first 3 months of his life we had moved on to a bigger house, but were still living without TV or internet. Not having many friends with children I had to follow my gut a lot. At the time I hated not having the large support group helping me through the difficulties. Now I am glad for that solitary time as it forced me to stop listening to what everyone else said was the right right to do things, and instead to follow my own instincts.

Though I do choose to label myself as an AP mom there are many who follow the idea but avoid the label. And on the flipside there are some who cling to the label without actually embracing the lifestyle. The hippie with a minivan talked about this very thing on her blog in her post The Lable of Attachment Parenting (part two). A lot of the parents who embrace AP because it is trendy or hip end up tossing the ideas behind it by the wayside as soon as their children can talk. The loving attachment of infancy suddenly becomes a hard detachment as parents fall into the set rules that they think children should fall into. Too many parents say ‘Act your age!” when they mean “Be a mini-adult!”. The hippie says it best:

There seems to be a sad misconception that Attachment comes through the physical stuff in infancy but that at a certain age things just can’t work that way anymore… as kids grow up the unrealistic expectations of what a child “should” be doing step in… weaning, too big to be carried, parents think that the child should be in their own bed etc… the physical practices that defined what AP was in the past just fizzle away and AP can’t be practiced anymore. The problem as I see it is that people get stuck on the physical stuff and don’t learn or haven’t been modeled the theory of attachment.

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Having a garage sale with kids

Garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets. Whatever your preference it is that time of the year again. Many families spend the warm weekends going to and hosting their own secondhand sales. You can make some extra money, clear out things you no longre want, and even help your kids increase their money skills. Getting Kids Involved In Garage/Yard Sales can be fun for the whole family. Kids can gather old toys and clothes, put price tags on, or even sell sodas and snacks. If you have a booth at the flea market you could sell homemade treats, which is certain to have more people stopping by your booth.

There are lots of tips for having a family garage sale. Mommy savers has some great Garage Sale Tips. And there is a great Yard Sale Checklist at Get Rich Slowly that I love. There is even more great tips over at YardSaleQueen. I know that I’m going to be looking back over these lists again and again. I’ve got a couple boxes of old toys and clothes that my sons have out grown justing sitting in the garage. Not to mention that old lamp and I don’t have room for anymore, the chair that I never really was fond of, and a few dozen old box fans that we don’t need anymore.

And what do I plan to do with the money I make from my garage sale? Why, go garage saling at other people’s houses of course!

Garage sale


I’m a huge fan of breastfeeding. I nursed my first son for close to a year and a half, and now I’m nursing my second son at a year and still going strong. There are so many myths and so much misinformation out there about breastfeeding that its a wonder any mother can weed through it all to have a happy breastfeeding relationship. Even worse is when a mother comes face to face with a nurse or doctor that either is not educated about breastfeeding or is still holding the old beliefs that anything made by science is better than nature. Scary, but true.

BabyLune shared a bit about the new catchy slogan for breastfeeding. Babies were born to be breastfed. Of course! It is one of those so simple and yet so perfect statements. Human infants were designed/evolved/created to receive their nurishment 100% from their mother’s milk. We are mammals, that’s what we do. The milk a mother creates from her body is the perfect blend of nutrients to feed her child. Its not the best, its not the gold standard, it is exactly what nature intended. Anything else is less than standard.

Sadly, giving less than standard nutrion can be deadly for some children. Like the 16,000 Filipino children die as a result of “inappropriate feeding practices”. Is that reason enough to get angry? We can blame the government for allowing it, we can blame the formula companies for marketing, some will even blame the mothers for not knowing better. But could some of the blame go to the mothers who choose to give their money to the formula companies for non-medical reasons? If money talks, what are they saying?

breastfeeding At least in America support for breastfeeding is happening more and more. And the biggest support a breastfeeding mother could have is from her partner. The Lactivist shares some touching stories on Fathers and Breastfeeding, and reminds men how important they are to a sucessful breastfeeding relationship. Many mothers do not breastfeed because they say they want the fathers to be able to bond with their children through feeding them. My experience was that by supporting me we were better able to bond as a couple, which gave our sons a stronger set of parents as their foundation. Sure he had to set out the feedings during the first few months, but he was still more than able to bond with both by reading to them, cleaning them, taking them out, cuddling with them, and now by taking the time to play with them often. There is certainly no lack of bonding in this house.

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Blog carnivals for moms

Did you know there is a blog carnival for stay at home moms? Twice monthly you can read blog posts from other moms who have something to share. Stories, tips, advice, humor, and anything else that would make a stay at home mom happy. You can read the latest edition here over at Wired For Noise. Then you can go to the submission page and add your own post to the next edition, which will be up June 25th right here at Mommy Babble!

There is also a blog carnival for housewives started by the Zen Housewife. You can read the first edition here. If you’ve got something you need to get off your chest there is the blog carnival for Confessions of a Housewife. You can read the latest edition here then submit your own confession for the next edition.

Want to share posts about your life in general? Then you’ll enjoy the Carnival of Family Life where you can talk about everything and anythign happening with your family. Is money one of the biggest issues with your family right now? Then check out the Carnival of Frugality and see if there are any tips you could use.

There are so many great blog carnivals out there! I wish there were more hours in the day to read them all. Did I miss any great ones? If so leave me a comment and let me know.

Summer time fun

Home Mom reminded me that Summer is Coming. Not that I really needed a reminder, we are already sweating through the day. And the beautiful sounds of the ice cream truck are making their way through the streets. Not to mention that my once peaceful neighborhood is now buzzing with the sounds of kids out on vacation.

Summer vacation. What comes to mind when you hear those words? Swimming pools? Ice cream? Long car trips with the family? I always remember the summer that my best friend Becky and I painted rocks we found on the road with fingernail polish. We then set up a stand and sold the rocks as “good luck charms”. We made a total of $15, though I’m sure most of it was pity money, I mean, what kind of kids sell painted rocks on the side of the road and call them good luck charms?

Luckily there are still some bright kids left in the world. Kids who sell sensible things, like lemonade. Jen of Pancakes and Pinesol has some of those smart kids, and cute too! Check out her post Strawberries and Lemonade to see for yourself! Mmmmm, strawberries and lemonade. that actually sounds like a winning combination.

So what signs are you seeing that summer is coming? I’d love to hear what reminds you that the hot season is upon us. Blog your own summer-time post and let me know so I can come over and enjoy it.

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Talking to (someone else’s) kids

When you’re face to face with a child having a conversation things can be tricky. Oh sure, with my own sons I’m an expert. I can gracefully move between the “kid talk” and the “adult talk” depending on the subject and the mood. I can easily read my own kid’s cues and I know their strengths and weaknesses. However, when I’m talking to other people’s kids I sound like a moron.

At least I know that I’m not alone. It can be tricky for some people talking to other kids, especially kids that you are not that familiar with. Sometimes you don’t know what to say, or how to say it. You don’t know if you should mention the new movie coming out this summer, or stick with the basic Saturday morning cartoons. And when you’re talking to kids older than you’re own you have to be carefull not to end up talking down to them. Especially if they are not a part of the typical children’s things that you are familiar with.

But then you have the other side of the coin. While you don’t want to talk down to them, you also don’t want to talk too far above them. Remember that that they are kids, not little adults. That can be pretty tricky to manuever. Where is the line between talking to them below their level and above it? I mean, sure there is plenty of advice online about how to talk to your own kids, like 25 WAYS TO TALK SO YOUR CHILDREN WILL LISTEN, but nothing on how to talk to the neighbor kids without sounding like condesending.

I’ll end this by saying “Sorry!” to all of my friend’s older children who have probably stifled laughter and eyerolls until after i leave. Next time, just tell me I’m being a dork and we can get this whole things behind us.

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Books, books, books

Most of us have at least one, probably more than that. Books on parenting, motherhood, siblings, and more. I admit that I am a complete book-aholic and have several bookcases full, with at least 1/3 of them being parenting books. With all the parenting books out there it can be hard to know what is worth reading and what isn’t.

I thought I would share my top 5 list of parenting books. Remember, these are just the books that I have found work for me. That does not always mean they will work for you. There are already plenty of reasons to be suspicious of parenting book authors who seem to know their stuff and don’t. And not every one’s list of good parenting books is going to match mine.Still, here is the lsit of my favorites (links go to to make it easier for you to read more about them). I only listed 5, but there are many more great books that I love as well. Please share your favorite “must-read” parenting books!

  1. The Successful Child: What Parents Can Do to Help Kids Turn Out Well (Sears, William, Sears Parenting Library.)
  2. Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
  3. Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves: Transforming Parent-child Relationships from Reaction And Struggle to Freedom, Power And Joy
  4. Raising Children Compassionately: Parenting the Nonviolent Communication Way (Nonviolent Communication Guides)
  5. Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids: Practical Ways to Create a Calm and Happy Home

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Lets get it started!

I can’t wait to get this blog up and running. I really am excited to be able to talk about motherhood and all the crazy, quirky things that comes from it. From celebs breastfeeding in public, being gentle without being permissive, to toys, toys, toys.

I’m putting a weekly poll on the side for anyone to vote in. I will try to change it out every Sunday. Feel free to vote and leave a comment. Be opinionated, just be polite.

I’m also looking for some super-awesome mommy blogs to add to the blog roll. If you know of any that you think no would should be without, or your write one that you think everyone would love drop me a line and let me know!


Hello all!

I am the new writer for Mommy Babble. I’m very excited to be here and hopefully you’ll be excited to have me here as well.

My name is Summer, I’m a stay at home mom of two little boys that keep me on my toes. I love being a mom and sharing this great experience with others. I love writing, and I love to blog. But most importantly I love talking to mothers and about motherhood. I’ve written several articles on the web on several aspects of motherhood, and I keep a homeschooling blog at

Some of my articles include things like Research Shows Relaxed Nursing Positions Could Be Best, Helping Children Find Magic in the Mundane, Homeschooling with Young Children, Artificial Food Additives Linked to Agressive Behavior in Children, Is 4 too old to be breastfed?, Teaching children how to resist peer pressure, How to change your toddler’s clothes without a tantrum, Benefits of an online parenting community and many more.

I’m going to spend the weekend tidying up things around here. So don’t forget to come back and see what Mommy Babbling I’ve got to do! Don’t forget to subscribe to the feed to keep up with the updates!

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