The Internet as our “Village”


Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


This month’s theme in the Carnival of Natural Parenting is “Parenting Essentials: I cannot imagine parenting without __________.” For me, the answer was at my fingertips.

Everything I know about being a mom I learned from the Internet.  Almost.

When I felt my very first pregnancy symptoms, I raced to Dr. Google. When it came time to prepare for baby’s arrival, I consulted baby message boards. As I readied myself for Jack’s birth, I packed my hospital bag while consulting a list I found on the web. After my son arrived, I consulted the Internet for every little sniffle and cry. I routinely checked out baby milestone guidelines to make sure that he was progressing on track. I will admit to typing the phrase “is green newborn poop normal?” into Google. More than once. (Although I won’t own up to making any comparisons by using a Google image search).  When 2010′s rash of baby recalls hit – everything from strollers to cribs to teething tablets – I checked the ‘net for the latest data on what products were safe and what was recalled. And if I needed a fast answer to something, a simple “Hey, parents, I have a question” post on Facebook brought all kinds of answers right to my inbox. And how else would I fall in with the crunchy, whole foods, cloth diapering, amber necklace wearing crowd that I love so dearly?  God knows my real-life crew find that nuts, but my Internet tribe is right with me.

How on Earth did people manage to have children before the Internet? I can’t imagine parenting without it, yet it wasn’t long ago that everything I’ve described here would have been classified as fanciful science fiction.

The old phrase that “it takes a village to raise a child” is certainly true. Our ancestors – heck, our parents – often had close families, friends and neighbors they could turn to when they had problems, questions, concerns or insecurities. The answers may not have been as fast as Google, but they were given with love and concern, and backed by experience. While I couldn’t tell you the first name of a single person on my block, my mom grew up knowing the names and families of every child in her whole neighborhood. We’ve lost a lot of that community closeness, that knowledge base that people before our generation relied upon so heavily.  The Internet has become the village that raises our children. In some ways, this big new world is okay: Google doesn’t mind if you ask it about how to soothe a baby at 2:30 a.m.; Aunt Edna, on the other hand, probably wouldn’t appreciate the late night call.  But the Internet can’t say, “hey mama, you are doing great but I think you need a little rest. Let me rock the boy for an hour while you get a nap.” We miss out on some very special things without that kind of a village.

The Internet also brings with it lots of bad advice, and lots of viewpoints that conflict with my own. My Google searches on sleep advice showed me that an awful lot of parents believe in letting a baby cry it out.  Some give the method fancy names, and some even back it with scientific studies, but to me it just sounds like letting my baby cry and ignoring his needs.That just doesn’t sit well with me.  The Internet is my guide, but my heart is my filter.

It’s a whole new world, and I’m so grateful for my Internet village.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things’s relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can’t imagine parenting without her husband’s sense of humor – he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can’t imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs “me time” in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter doesn’t appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn’t imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It’s More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can’t imagine parenting without her breasts; here’s why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family’s needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama’s next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn’t even know you needed (and probably don’t…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn’t survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it’s afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren’t things at all.
  • I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can’t imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it’s not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn’t easy at first, Knocked Up – Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can’t live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What “stuff” does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I’m a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship…and made life easier to boot.
  • It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can’t imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin’ Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us…
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter’s perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles – come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.


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36 Responses to The Internet as our “Village”

  1. MJ

    It is so true. I recently saw an old footage of a show on Good Morning America, I think from 1983, where they were talking about the "internet" and were trying to figure out what it was. Such a great footage, little did we know how it would change EVERYTHING. As a homeschooling mamma, it has been amazing, but at the same time it can suck me in sometimes!

  2. Dionna @ Code Name:

    I think every single mama who writes in this Carnival will find truth in your post – the Internet is an incredible tool for today's parents. I would be lost without my virtual natural community! And I love this thought: "The Internet is my guide, but my heart is my filter."

  3. Kristy

    I love my Internet "village" too, but I've been lucky enough for it to have brought many like-minded families together in real life too. While we're not all down-the-street neighbors, weekly or monthly get togethers are *life savers* for our sanity. In a community with sometime strikingly different norms than us "crunchier" folk, have a real-life safe hagn is wonderful. And if it were. For the Internet we wouldn't have been able to network and find one another!

  4. Starr at Taking Time

    I do long for a real village even though I too have been blessed to find a beautiful group of mamas that I can see in 'real life' but yes…. the internet is such a wonderful tool and I turn to it for many, many questions!


  5. I Thought I Knew Mam

    "The Internet is my guide, but my heart is my filter." I LOVE this line and I couldn't agree more!

    I'm now following you on GFC and Twitter :-)

  6. Pingback: The Minimalist Parent | living peacefully with children

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  8. Isil

    I definitely feel the same.being away from family and friends Internet has been crucial in my thankful to my online mummy friends.

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  10. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Internet as our “Village” | Monkey Butt Junction --

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  12. The ArtsyMama

    Me too! I found my village also through technology. I never would have been as happy with my parenting choices if I wasn't educated on all the possibilities out there. I spent the last two months of my pregnancy on bed rest and on the internet trying to stay sane. Then I spent the first 5 months of Little Man's life basically on my own so I again turned to the internet for support. It is such a great tool. But you are right and to quote Spider-Man, "With great power, comes great responsibility." Just because we read it on here doesn't make it right and it shouldn't excuse parents from the weight of their decisions just because other parents are doing it too. So here is to using our hearts as our filters!

  13. Pingback: The Gift of Shared Time |

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  15. Pingback: » Hobo Mama: February Carnival of Natural Parenting: My parenting …

  16. Pingback: Stopping to Listen « Knocked Up – Knocked Over

  17. Pingback: The Essence of Parenting

  18. Pingback: Why I’m a Babywearer « Becoming Mamas

  19. Write About Birth

    What a great post! It's funny to notice many posts this month talk about the village… and everyone had their own points of view. I'm also grateful for google.

  20. Pingback: Unimaginable without him Hey Red {365} : Hey Red {365}

  21. Pingback: Eco-Mama Online! - Child of the Nature Isle

  22. Pingback: It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!

  23. Pingback: Crunchy Chewy Mama » Blog Archive » I’m no one with out my sling

  24. Mrs Green @ littlegr

    I love this – you are the third person I think to talk about technology and the internet as part of their parenting toolkit and I so agree! It was the internet that gave me all the info I needed to find out about home birth and natural remedies and it's the internet that allows me to share with others.

  25. Pingback: » My Parenting Must-Have: Support

  26. Pingback: Relationships » Blog Archive » February Carnival of Natural Parenting | Love What Is

  27. Claire

    I agree that the internet has helped me so much in finding answers about parenting. I also definitely feel that love-hate relationship because of all of the bad advice out there. That's why I blog! Hopefully my (what I consider to be) good advice stands out and sets some people straight!

  28. Lauren @ Hobo Mama

    It's so true! I was trying to remember every single way my life changed as a result of the internet. It really is so all-encompassing. And the way it's affected my parenting is that I can parent the way I do and not feel so isolated. Thanks for the reminder that real-life connections are needed, too, and about the filter — that's crucial!

  29. Pingback: My Parenting Necessity « The Adventures of Lactating Girl

  30. Terri

    Oh I love this post – my entry for the Carnival was on the same theme ( Really what did parents do without the Internet?! I love how you call it Dr Google – for real I can't imagine not being able to look up symptoms online and at least get a rough indication of what is going on. With Internet I realised I had mastitis and was not coming down with flu when my milk ducts got blocked, found out about 'cluster feedings' when my newborn insisted on being on the breast from 5pm – 10pm each night and was able to get informed enough to ignore my ob/gyns requests to be induced after my waters had been broken for 8 hours and have my natural birth exactly as I planned it. Dr Google indeed!

    But you got it just right when you said 'The Internet is my guide, but my heart is my filter' – perfect! Real nice to 'meet' you online Mama!

  31. Pingback: Ode to the Loo | Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma

  32. Darcel @ The Mahogan

    I so agree with you. I found and still find such useful information online. I love being able to ask a question, or search for a specific topic.

    I am very thankful for my AP group here in town as well.

  33. Pingback: Loves Books, Loves People « The Practical Dilettante

  34. Pingback: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without… | Diary of a First Child

  35. facebook layouts

    thnx bro

  36. Pingback: CNP: I cannot imagine parenting without ________. | The Artful Mama

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