Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tante and the Uncles

Welcome to the May 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With or Without Extended Family
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how relatives help or hinder their parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

My husband and I work hard to be everything we can be for our children. We try to be gentle, patient, and understanding. We cook, play, clean, work, plan, educate, party, drive: whatever we can to give them full, happy lives. It is HARD WORK. Which is why I LOVE that my children are so close to to my brothers and sister. Having them there to support our parenting, by emulating our parenting choices in their interactions and being the kid of people we can trust to care for them so we can get out for a grown-up break is the best thing in the world!

My sister goes by Tante. Not only to my children, but their friends as well. Tante is Tante to all. She is fun, perky, and straight-forward with kids. She was L1's nanny when I was working full time when he joined our family. She has lived with us for most of their lives while working on her high school and college degrees simultaneously. She is quick to connect with them with hugs and understand: sometimes better than I am. And it is nice to know we have support. When bedtimes get harried, the extra hands is a plus. Live in baby sitter definitely has its benefits.

My brothers are the kind of uncles every kid wants. They love to play ball outside, wrestle, build forts, and play video games. They aren't very "sensitive" but they are good about communicating with them in a no-nonsense way to get a positive response to redirection. I am rather impressed by it. I never realized they would be amazing enough to be able to leave our boys with for periods of time.

When people lament how much their children fight and bicker, I am quick to point out that as children my siblings and I were quick to fight. And fight to hurt to win. We knew how to use violence to get the reaction we wanted. As we grew older and somewhat wiser, we were able to figure out that we didn't NEED to act against each other that way. My siblings are some of my best friends, best supporters, and I am glad we have a relationship that shows the great bond siblings can have. I hope that seeing that kind of relationship between us will be a good model for my children. I am so glad my brothers think to call just to say hi and stop by when they can. Mostly I am glad that this relationship builds a connected bond outside of just my husband and me for my children to go to and trust.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 8 with all the carnival links.)
  • Dealing With Unsupportive Grandparents — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, The Pistachio Project tells what to do when your child's grandparents are less than thrilled about your parenting choices.
  • Parenting With Extended Family — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy shares the pros and cons of parenting with extended family...
  • Parental Support for an AP Mama — Meegs at A New Day talks about the invaluable support of her parents in her journey to be an AP mama.
  • Priceless GrandparentsThat Mama Gretchen reflects on her relationship with her priceless Grammy while sharing ways to help children preserve memories of their own special grandparents.
  • Routines Are Meant To Be Broken — Olga at Around The Birthing Ball urges us to see Extended Family as a crucial and necessary link between what children are used to at home and the world at large.
  • It Helps To Have A Village – Even A Small One — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how she has flourished as a mother due to the support of her parents.
  • The Orange Week — Erika at Cinco de Mommy lets go of some rules when her family finally visits extended family in San Diego.
  • One Size Doesn't Fit All — Kellie at Our Mindful Life realizes that when it comes to family, some like it bigger and some like it smaller.
  • It Takes a Family — Alicia at What's Next can't imagine raising a child without the help of her family.
  • A new foray into family — As someone who never experienced close extended family, Lauren at Hobo Mama wrestles with how to raise her kids — and herself — to restart that type of community.
  • My Mama Rocks! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment is one lucky Mama to have the support and presence of her own awesome Mama.
  • Embracing Our Extended Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares 7 ideas for nurturing relationships with extended family members.
  • Doing Things Differently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares how parenting her children far away from extended family improved her confidence in her choices.
  • Snapshots of love — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the joys of sharing her young son's life with her own parents.
  • Parenting with Relies – A mixed bagUrsula Ciller shares some of her viewpoints on the pros and cons of parenting with relatives and extended family.
  • Tante and Uncles — How a great adult sibling relationship begets a great relationship with aunt and uncles from Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Tips for Traveling With Twins — Megan at the Boho Mama shares some tips for traveling with infant twins (or two or more babies!).
  • Parenting passed through the generations — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the incredible parenting resource that is her found family, and how she hopes to continue the trend.
  • My Family and My Kids — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders whether she distrusts her family or if she is simply a control freak.
  • Parenting with a Hero — Rachel at Lautaret Bohemiet reminisces about the relationship she shared with her younger brother, and how he now shares that closeness in a relationship with her son.
  • Text/ended Family — Kenna of A Million Tiny Things wishes her family was around for the Easter egg hunt... until she remembers what it's actually like having her family around.
  • Two Kinds of Families — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how her extended family is just as valuable to her mommying as her church family.
  • My 'high-needs' child and 'strangers' — With a 'high-needs' daughter, aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings has had to manage without the help of family or friends, adapting to her daughter's extreme shyness and allowing her to socialise on her own terms.
  • Our Summer Tribe — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a love of her family's summer reunion, her secret to getting the wisdom of the "village" even as she lives 1,000 miles away.
  • My Life Boat {Well, One of Them} — What good is a life boat if you don't get it? Grandparents are a life boat MomeeeZen loves!
  • Dear Children — In an open letter to her children, Laura at Pug in the Kitchen promises to support them as needed in her early days of parenting.
  • Yearning for Tribal Times — Ever had one of those days where everything seems to keep going wrong? Amy at Anktangle recounts one such day and how it inspired her to think about what life must've been like when we lived together in large family units.
  • I don't have a village — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wishes she had family nearby but appreciates their support and respect.
  • Trouble With MILs-- Ourselves? — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake Half Asleep explains how her arguments with her mother-in-law may have something to do with herself.
  • A Family Apart — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings writes about the challenges, and the benefits, of building a family apart from relatives.
  • First Do No Harm — Zoie at TouchstoneZ asks: How do you write about making different parenting choices than your own family experience without criticizing your parents?
  • Military Family SeparationAmy Willa shares her feelings about being separated from extended family during her military family journey.
  • Forging A Village In The Absence Of One — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about the importance of creating a support network, a village, when family isn't an option.
  • Respecting My Sister’s Parenting Decisions — Dionna at Code Name: Mama's sister is guest posting on the many roles she has as an aunt. The most important? She is the named guardian, and she takes that role seriously.
  • Multi-Generational Living: An Exercise in Love, Patience, and Co-Parenting — Boomerang Mama at The Other Baby Book shares her experience of moving back in with Mom and Dad for 7 months, and the unexpected connection that followed.
  • A Heartfelt Letter to Family: Yes, We're Weird, but Please Respect Us Anyway — Sheila of A Living Family sincerely expresses ways she would appreciate her extended family’s support for her and her children, despite their “weird” parenting choices.
  • The nuclear family is insane! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle is grateful for family support, wishes her Mum lived closer, and feels an intentional community would be the ideal way to raise her children.


  1. Oh!!! I love Tante and the Uncles!!

    This post moved me!!! Thank you for being a leader in your family allowing for and standing for love.

    Love, Christine

  2. I really love this perspective. Sometimes as AP advocates, we can get caught up in this idea that children need to be attached just to US, and it's really not true. I love that you have built-in support providers who can be relied on to stay connected with your kids. That's really lovely.

  3. Including sisters and brothers in on their important roles is really a fine point I hadn't thought about. My older sister, and twin sister (also Tanten) and her husband (Onkle), and my husbands twin brother (Uncle) absolutely adore our little one. They are all great with kids even though they havn't yet got their own, and I appreciate that at least sister lives in the same town. I agree that raising kids is super hard work (totally awesome, worthy exhaustion!!) and any help from Tante and Uncle is priceless. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Your story made me smile – I so wish that my sister (and her ex, who is about as close to our family as a brother can get) lived closer, I know we would have the same story to tell.

  5. What a wonderful model of a happy future sibling relationship you are giving to your kids. I frequently wish that my sister was more involved with the kids, but I know she does her best.

  6. I think your relationship with your siblings, and their aunt/uncle roles sound amazing. I'm not particularly close to any of my siblings (I'm the youngest of five), but I can totally picture my own kids doing this someday.