I’ve had a number of dads (and moms) ask me why I choose to use the term ‘natural fatherhood’, as opposed to just fatherhood or parenting. One of the first things I bring up is the idea of natural parenting – a parenting style that fits closely with my personal ideals.
Everyone defines it a bit differently, and because attachment parenting has a pretty defined scope, it’s not the same thing.
So I sat down and attempted to put together a credo for natural fatherhood, as defined by my personal beliefs. You may not agree with me, and that’s ok. Different strokes for different folks…
Natural Fatherhood Credo
This natural father believes:
- Homebirth is awesome. It’s been happening for thousands of years without doctors and hospitals. If you feel the pull toward homebirth, do your homework, talk to midwives and doulas, and make an informed decision.
- Unassisted homebirth is the ultimate DIY project. I highly recommend it.
- Circumcision is barbaric and cruel. Go watch one if you disagree. Please reconsider routine circumcision.
- Agreeing to vaccinate your child without fully researching the issue is irresponsible. Giving small babies multiple vaccines is so new that we don’t know the consequences. Maybe autism. Maybe SIDS.
- Co-sleeping is where it’s at.
- Wearing your child on your body, in a sling or in a soft pack (Ergo-carrier style), is as natural as birth.
- Infant Potty Training is a great way to eliminate the need for diapers early in your child’s life.
- Homeschooling works. Unschooling works even better. It’s not hard. Different, but not difficult.
- Your children are miniature people. They learn by watching you, and just because they don’t know the language doesn’t mean that they are dumb.
- Our children are also our friends.
- Kids need guidelines. Natural parenting is not permissive parenting.
- Natural foods are the basis for health in children and adults. Eating quality nutritious food will save you grief and money in the long run. It’s your health plan.
- Grow your own food organically in whatever space you have. It makes sense.
- It’s important to have “papa time” that is just for you. You have to work on yourself and listen to what your needs and wants are. Just because you are a father does not mean that your personal development is done. Quite the contrary.
- Sometimes it takes superpowers to be a dad.
- Everyday brings a new lesson, a new opportunity. Make the most of it. Be present with your children.
Natural fatherhood is not mothering for men.
It’s the role of a man fully engaged in raising his kids in a good way without the macho b.s., a man that is awake and aware and growing. A man that has a strong spiritual path will naturally pass on that tendency to his children through spiritual fathering. And when I look around me at the world, I see a big need for men that are strong fathers, spiritual fathers.
There is a lot of focus on mothers and mothering, and it would be great if we started hearing more about fathering. I say fathering instead of fatherhood: fathering is active, and fatherhood a state of being, seems to me. I’m going to use natural fathering to describe what I do, and natural fatherhood is the state I aspire to.
What would you add to this? Disagree? Leave me a comment, or write your own credo and let us know where to find it!
Image: kevinzim at Flickr