Guest Post: Nancy Massotto of Holistic Moms Network: What Does Holistic Parenting Actually Mean?

Am I a holistic mom? I was never quite sure.

I don’t co-sleep, I only nursed for six months, and I would rather push a stroller than strap a 30 pound kid to my chest.

But after getting to know Nancy Massotto and the Holistic Moms Network I felt more inclusive in the diverse “holistic” parenting community. It’s really just about awareness and the empowerment that comes from being informed and in tune with natural alternatives. And you don’t have to wash and dry your own menstrual pads to be accepted, honest.

What the Heck is Holistic Parenting?
by Nancy Massotto, Executive Director of the Holistic Moms Network

When I started the Holistic Moms Network almost 10 years ago, our chapters were often visited by local media looking for an interesting story about this “new trend” in parenting.  What surprised me most was not the coverage or novelty of our lifestyles in the eyes of the press, but in their complete surprise that our moms were so “normal.”  When someone mentions “holistic parenting” the stereotypes abound: hippies, yurts, tree huggers, and granola. And although many of our members proudly embrace some of the traditional stereotypes, most Holistic Moms (and Dads) are parents just like you.

The journey of holistic parenting can take many routes and result in a wide variety of choices, but there are some simple things that tie us together and guide us on our path to live healthier and more sustainably.   Here are six simple steps to discovering holistic parenting:

• Be Informed. Being informed in all of your parenting and health choices is a cornerstone of whole living. Investigate your options, and take the time to educate yourself on the benefits as well as the risks of your parenting, healthcare, and lifestyle choices.
• Cultivate Trust. Living holistically starts with a shift in your perspective away from fear and uncertainty and toward trust in yourself, your body, and nature’s healing power. Cultivating this trust is challenging but uncovering it is ultimately a source of empowerment.
• Tune Into Your Mother (or Father) Wisdom. Deep within yourself lies your inner wisdom and intuition, as well as your spiritual voice. What feels right to you may not be the most traveled path but often will best serve your family.
• Go Natural. The preponderance of chemicals in our food, homes, and environment is wreaking havoc on our health. We need to look for safe, non-toxic products to care for our homes, and to eliminate artificial ingredients, preservatives, GMOs, and pesticides from our food.
• Live Lightly on the Earth. Living holistically means recognizing the interconnectedness of our choices. Tread lightly by supporting industries that nurture the earth (such as organic farming), incorporating green practices into your life (such as recycling), and giving back of yourself through volunteer work.
• Find Support. Creating and interacting with others who share similar philosophies is empowering and will help you to find the tools you need to grow a healthy family. What’s more, social support itself is health creating. Recent studies show that being socially connected to others can improve your physical health and is linked to lower mortality rates.

Holistic parenting is not always an easy road to travel.  There are critics on every side looking to find fault with your choices. But holistic living is not simply a single issue. One single choice does not exclude you from being a holistic parent, nor does any one choice make you one.  Living holistically is a journey – a road with many twists and turns, opportunities to learn and to falter, and, with good company, a place where you can always find a friend and feel supported.

During October, we celebrate Holistic Living Month and I hope you’ll take the opportunity to connect with us somehow – whether you can make it to our 9th Annual Natural Living Conference in Chicago, connect with a local chapter, or join us online for one of our many events scheduled throughout the month – we’d love to meet you!

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