Carolina King was born in Costa Rica. It was a beautiful place to grow up; with a temperate climate, she spent copious amounts of time in nature not only during what Americans would generally consider to be warmer seasons, but throughout the entire year.
It wasn’t just the weather that was different, though. King remembers the culture being more relaxed. People were warmer, loved harder, and enjoyed life to the fullest. There were friends and family living nearby, all helping each other along this journey we call life.
“My childhood is filled with fun memories,” says King. “Going to the beach frequently — and each beach was breathtaking — running around freely in nature, having limited access to things which [actually] sparked my creativity, being raised by family and friends who were always so loving and kind. It’s no coincidence that Costa Rica is rated as one of the happiest countries in the world!”
King left her home behind when she was 27, but she returns every year to recharge, reconnect with family and friends, and reconnect with herself. These early experiences, combined with her parents’ parenting style and a deep interest in personal development and spirituality in adolescence, would inform the way she molded her own children’s world: One of natural living and individuated parenting practices.
King does everything she can to raise her children in a healthy, non-toxic environment. This includes DIY cleaners, DIY beauty products, and conscious shopping and eating. If following in these footsteps sounds intimidating to you, don’t worry. King doesn’t recommend taking on all of her practices at once.
“The biggest and most important thing to remember is that trying to change everything at once is difficult. It leads to giving up,” she says. “If you want to transition to a more natural life, pick one thing you will change every month and by the end of the year you will have changed a lot of things in your life.”
King’s personal number one priority is food. It was one of the first things she changed, and can have a huge impact on your life overall. To avoid stress, she recommends sticking to a primarily organic diet 80% of the time, and the other 20% of the time — like those times you’re out with friends or at a work event — let things slide. You’ve already got it planned, so there’s no reason to panic over it.
To avoid overspending on your budget, King recommends familiarizing yourself with the dirty dozen: A list which helps you determine which foods are the highest priority when it comes to organic shopping.
Positive & Intuitive Parenting
King doesn’t just make her children’s physical environment healthy; she works hard to provide a healthy place for personal growth and development, too. To achieve this, she uses an admixture of two different parenting methods: Positive parenting and intuitive parenting.
“In essence, when you practice positive parenting you are treating your children with respect and using tools that have been proven to be more effective in raising happy and healthy children,” she says. “Intuitive parenting is when you are aware of this and use your intuition to guide you in raising your child in a way that’s the most beneficial for them.
“For me positive parenting and intuitive parenting go hand in hand. Positive parenting provides the tools, intuitive parenting helps you filter these tools and mold them to exactly what your child needs.”
Connecting with the audience
King started synthesizing all of her experience and research when her son was around five months old. Her husband joked that she should start a blog about everything she was learning and the systems she was creating.
Thankfully, she took that joke seriously and started Mama Instincts. Six years later, the site is going strong with the recent addition of a podcast. King has achieved many successes, including an invite to the White House and a newly discovered love for spreading her message across the medium that is television. But her favorite part of the journey has been her connection with the audience.
“Motherhood can be hard, and even harder if you’re parenting in a different way,” King explains. “I want moms to realize that they are not alone and that’s why most of my focus in on actually talking to these moms. I know a lot of them by name, their kids, what they like, what they don’t - we have become friends. Mama Instincts wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for them and I don’t ever take that for granted.”