12 Sep Five Things I Know About Being A Parent In The Northwest
I am delighted to share this guest blog post written by an area mother and fellow Doula, Emilie Jenkins! Emilie, take it away…
I grew up in Montana and my husband is a seventh generation North Carolinian.
I know how to survive an avalanche and what to do if a moose attacks. Jeff knows things like how to catch a rat snake and what liver mush is useful for. (Hint: Absolutely nothing.)
And though it was a culture shock in the beginning, I now love living in the PNW and being a Bellingham area Doula and parent. Here are five things I know about parenting in the Northwest:
1) Get ready for mud.
It rains here. A lot. The rain starts in September and stays ‘till May or June.
We bought a pair of “splashing shoes” for my eldest when he was two. I told him that as long as he had splashing shoes on, he could splash wherever he wanted. And he’s been splashing ever since.
I’ve learned that buying new boots turns out better than buying used because we use them so much! There’s a Swedish saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” We try to live by that and dress for the occasion.
2) Find indoor fun.
Pinterest has endless indoor activities if you’re the crafty sort, which has led us to assemble an art bin that is full of rainy day activities. One example is the roll of butcher paper that I bought at a restaurant supply store three years ago… it is still going strong as we use it for all sorts of art projects!
3) Join a mom’s group.
When I became a mother in the Pacific Northwest, no one prepared me for the isolation I might feel.
How is it possible to feel so alone when you’re never alone?
Someone pointed me to PEPS and I found other women just like me, struggling through the challenges of early parenthood. I’m still close with those women and have found that the bonds you forge over pregnancy, birth, and dirty diapers are like no other.
4) Pick your battles.
(ok this one’s not just about Northwest Parenting, it’s parenting everywhere…mea culpa.)
We in the PNW tend to think of ourselves as pretty open minded. And we are, but if an outsider can offer a humble opinion, we are a region of choices and the mommy wars are alive and well here too.
There’s a book about every possible way you could navigate your pregnancy, labor, and postpartum recovery as well as how to raise your kids. Cloth vs. disposable, breast vs. bottle, scheduled parenting vs. attachment parenting…it’s endless.
Each school of thought claims to make your baby ready to win a Nobel Peace Prize and if you don’t do it their way get ready to support your unemployed couch potato kid for the rest of your life.
Here’s what I know: Read as many books as you want. Pick a style (or three) and embrace it. You’ve got to work pretty hard to spoil your kid. Follow your intuition. If in doubt, ask your doula -he/she will give you unbiased information and support you in your unique choices.
5) We live in a Rainforest!
How cool is that!?
Grab a baby carrier and go for a walk.
Find leaves, rocks, crabs, seaweed and make a nature book. Look up your found treasures and learn about how they fit into the web of PNW life we call home. Not only will you and your kids get some exercise, you’ll learn to appreciate the beauty that is all around us.
Emilie Jenkins is a beekeeper-baker-cellist in Bellingham, WA where she lives with her husband and two rambunctious boys. In her off time she enjoys reading, sipping tea, working in her
garden, and tending her urban homestead. Emilie is a pre-certified Birth and Postpartum Doula, and as the owner of Nesting Birth Doula Services, she loves seeing women be empowered in their individual birthing experiences.
Co-authored by Kristyn Blocher & Emilie Jenkins