We are happy to announce our first Instinctual Mama Blogger of the Month.
Charise from: I thought I knew Mama
We asked her some fun questions and here is her interview.. enjoy!
1. What subject do you feel most passionate about?
My family. There is nothing I feel more passionate about than my husband and son. They are my little corner of the world filled with love and happiness and comfort and fun, and I would do anything to keep that corner intact.
2. Before you were a mom, did you suspect you would be doing the things you do in regards to parenting?
In some ways, yes, but in most ways, no. I did a ton of reading and research on parenting while I was trying to conceive and during pregnancy, but I feel like that wasn’t what made me parent the way that I do. All of my parenting choices come from following my gut and natural instinct. I had no idea that I would feel my way through parenting choices in such a strong way. The one major decision I made before Jac was born was to breastfeed, but I had no concept of what it would really be like. I remember when my husband and I attended a breastfeeding class during pregnancy, and we watched a video showing all of these very large breasted women breastfeeding their babies. It seemed so foreign to me. I told my husband after class that I would breastfeed our baby because I knew it would be best, but that based on watching the video, I can’t imagine enjoying it or wanting to do it for a long time. Little did I know how much I would love breastfeeding and how strongly I would feel about it!
3. What is your favorite Hobby.
Blogging/writing is by far my new favorite hobby. I get so much fulfillment from it. It encompasses my love of writing and education, as well as my former work experience in sales and marketing in the magazine industry. Now, I get to publish my own online magazine every day, and it’s about my favorite topic: my son! Outside of blogging, I have always been an avid reader, and I love to dance, hike, snowboard, travel, and be outdoors.
4. Name something you understood about your parents once you became one yourself.
I understand everything about them so much more now. I think parents must love to become grandparents because not only do they get to spoil and love a new grandchild, but they also get the satisfaction of knowing that their own child will finally understand the depth of their love, the extent of their worry, the sacrifices they would make, the fear, the hope, and the impossibility of ever finding a way to truly convey their love for their children. I wrote about this in part of the poem that inspired my blog: http://www.ithoughtiknewmama.com/about/why-are-you-called-i-thought-i-knew-mama/
5. If someone gave you money to start a charity, what cause would you pick and why.
I would love to start an organization that gave financial support to women who wanted to be stay at home moms, or work part time, during the years before their children attended school. I was laid off from a job that I loved (Special Ed English teacher at an inner city middle school) when I was 8.5 months pregnant, and that is the only reason that I’ve had this opportunity to be a stay at home mom. I had no idea how deeply passionate I would feel about wanting to be the primary caregiver for my son. The thought of not being with him every day just makes me ill. I know other women who have felt the same way and who have wanted to be home with their babies so badly, but could not financially swing it. I know it is certainly not the choice of all moms to be at home. I have friends who know they are much better parents because they can also pursue the careers they love, but for those women who do want to be home, I would love to provide them with a way to make it happen.
1. How to you become an Instinctual Mama, was it something you researched and planned or did it just happen along the way?
I did - and still do - a lot of research, but ultimately my decisions are made based on following the expert on my baby that I trust most: me. I know no one else can possibly know what’s best for my baby.
2. Describe your parenting style in 10 words or less
I asked my husband to answer this one for me. He said: Instinctive, natural, loving, attached, affectionate, encouraging, patient, dedicated. (Don’t I have an amazing husband? :-)
3. If you were forced give up one of your Instinctual Mama ways and replace it with a more Mainstream ideal what would it be and why? (ie replace cloth diapers with sposies or breastmilk with formula)
This is a really difficult question. At this point, maybe the easiest thing to replace would be my use of homeopathic remedies on Jac because it’s the area that I am the least experienced in, so theoretically, I guess I’m the least tied to it. I’ve been experimenting with the Hyland’s products since Jac was born and I’ve been really impressed with the things I’ve tried so far. That said, Jac has been so healthy for his 8.5 months of life that I haven’t gotten to use too many of their products yet.
4. What has been the hardest Mama lesson you have learned to date?
I think the hardest Mama lesson I have learned to date would have to be that no matter how hard you try to make the best choices possible for your child, you can only do so much. But, I’ve also realized that one choice or one experience that doesn’t go as you planned doesn’t have to define everything. For instance, I really, really wanted to have a natural birth. I chose midwives over traditional doctors during my pregnancy, and was very dedicated to my home Hypnobabies course from the end of my first trimester all the way up to Jac’s birth. The problem was that Jac was breech - in pretty much the same exact position for almost all of second and third trimester - and the only option I was given for delivery was C-section. This was really hard for me to accept at the time, but once Jac was born, I was so elated to see him that I really didn’t care how he got there at that point. I only cared that he was finally here, and it made me more resolved to make other natural parenting choices in situations where I actually had more control.
5. What is 1 thing you wish more people understood about your parenting style?
I think the only thing people need to know about my parenting style is that I make all choices with love and I would never choose to do anything for my son without his best interest in mind.
1.What is the ideal size for your family, small ? large? in between..
Well, right now, we are three plus two furry friends, and it feels like the most perfect unit in the entire world. That said, I used to want three kids. At this point, I am so in love with our family as it is, that it is difficult for me to imagine even having a second child. My husband and I discuss this pretty regularly because I am so shocked that I am not immediately wanting more children as I anticipated. I know it’s ridiculous, but I just love our family so much now, and it’s hard to picture changing it.
2. What is your favorite meal to cook for your family.
I don’t really enjoy cooking very much, so my favorite family meals are usually the ones my husband cooks for us like whole wheat pizzas, guacamole, and spicy pasta dishes. (Once again, I’ve got an amazing husband, right?) When I cook, I like making up vegetarian “concoctions”. I don’t like following recipes and usually cook by making a game of trying to make something delicious from a few random ingredients. I don’t like to plan in advance, and this becomes a fun challenge. Here is an example: http://www.ithoughtiknewmama.com/2011/01/i-thought-i-knew-concoction-recipes/
1. When did you start blogging?
I launched my blog on January 3, 2011.
2. What possessed you to start a blog? And where does inspiration come from?
My husband had been encouraging me to start a blog for a couple of months because he knows how much I love writing and doing anything related to Jac, so I made it one of my New Years resolutions and I Thought I Knew Mama was born two days later. I can’t believe it’s only been two months because it is such a big part of my life now. The inspiration initially came from the poem I wrote for my son (referenced in the post I included above).
3. Can you explain the purpose of your blog?
From my “About Me” page:
I am a first time mom in my early 30s who has taken on the adventure of being a stay at home mom to my son, born in June 2010. I’m a driven, task oriented, former business world professional… and more recently special education teacher… who was laid off at the end of my pregnancy. Though it seemed frightening at the time, getting laid off has illuminated itself as a major blessing in disguise as I am now finding my way through what has turned out to be the ultimate career for me: being Baby’s mom. Financially, I’m not sure how long this stay at home mom opportunity will last, so I’m dedicating this blog to examining the experience of being a full time mom, my attempts to incorporate natural parenting, and a frugal and healthy lifestyle into our days, and to exploring this stay at home world with my son… a world that I thought I knew and understood, but now realize is a layered, fascinating, and blurred experience which I wade through in this new life of mine.
4. In a battle between Darth Vader and a Romulan army who would win? I asked my husband to answer this question for me too, and all he said was: “Luke, I am your father.”
5. Are unicorns covered in glitter for the win or should they back off the shine?