Wednesday, February 10, 2010

attachment - oh boy, and too many exclamations...

thanks to athena, i have been given a job and I am SO ready to fulfill my task. Although, as I lay in bed thinking about it last night I have realized that there are many things to say and maybe if I worked hard, I could condense it to one post, but then realized I didn't really want to work hard and maybe I could just work half-assed and that would work too.

And there, in a nutshell, is why I could never honestly buy into the attachment parenting thing as it plays out in parenting.

In theory, it is a no-brainer. OF COURSE!! nurturing touch?!! The Attachment Parenting International group has 8 principles which makes one a groupie... here...
preparing for pregnancy and birth!! OF COURSE!! providing consistent and loving care!! healthy feeding!! positive discipline!! safe sleeping!! balance!! responding with sensitivity!!

okay. is there anyone out there who disagrees with any of that?! of course not. duh.

on the playgrounds, it plays out in a different way... and I think there is something real and valid to be said for the nuanced challenges of having more than one child in the attachment parenting paradigm, or siblings close in age, etc.

I am SO an attached parent. I love my kids, and i'm really going to prove it here. just wait. I tend to respond to them when they are most hilarious, loud and/or annoying, or not arbitrating their own disputes well. My hope is that they are going to learn to arbitrate their own disputes once I give them a few pointers. They will not fight with real swords on top of the glass coffee table, for instance. (yeah, no, i don't own one of those, i'm just for instancing) I am SOO attached to their developing that skill. I carried them around ad nauseum when they were hip-friendly. I hated slings but that's my own deal with not knowing how to fiddleslingthesling. I nursed, both boys, but the second one for twice as long. I co-sleep, family bed style, although not by choice anymore. I cloth diapered one of them until he hit real food and real poop and then that was over. The first one was completely Pamper-d because I had to do laundry at a laundromat and screw that. You say, but wait... what does pampers-ing have to do with attachment parenting? oh yes! right, the manner in which attachment parenting has morphed into an overwhelming mother-presence, mother-load and eco-friendly yet condemning way of approaching child-rearing is what makes us wierd guilt-enemies on the playground.

SO, the problem with attachment parenting is none. Its the problem with people who believe that there is only one way to do this insane job of raising the best people we can. That somehow, instinct is something that must be given a set of rules. Or that if a mom chooses to bottle feed formula, she is somehow ruining her kid's life, or setting the planet aflame. Somehow, she loves her kid less? really? Or the problem is in the new mom who believes she can't put her baby down so she never sleeps, ever, for the first nine months of the kids life. Is she a good mom? Is she even human anymore? poor thing. Sometimes my kids get spanked. That pulls me right out of the group and even makes me a pariah. oh well, now that I'm accepting of my sort of attachment, it doesn't bother me so much... but it will next time I meet up with so and so on the playground... and keep that part of my mothering a secret... along with all the ignoring and grimacing I do sometimes.
Let us all just say, we are mostly all attached parents, sometimes the best love we can give our kids is to acknowledge the distance, to enable our kids to withstand separations... knowing that rejoinings are a part therein... we're all just winging it, because all of our kids are different, our needs are different, our families are different, our lives have been different... all that.


Amanda said...

*sigh* I have never been able to put it into words like you. That post just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, like someone actually understands th truth about AP...which is not the truth as you will find it on the back of a Dr Sears book. I need to go force feed twinkies to my kids so they can feel all warm and fuzzy too.

Athena said...

that was a great read -- everything I dreamed of hearing you say and more

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

I couldn't agree more. The only thing that I have found consistent with the people who identify themselves as attachement parents is that they are judgemental and often only have one child. Yeah, it's great to hold your kid all the time until you have another and then what the heck happens?!

Jen said...

oh my goodness. The joy, the haha, the I've been wanting to say this forEVER. Check my post regarding a Valentine collection box. I let my kids eat Doritos. I drink the diet Sprite with Seagrams 7 (ahhthankyou.) What happened to parenting with common sense? PWCS? Just do it. And stop bragging about it. Thank you and thank you. Love what you say. And thank you for commenting on my blog. My self esteem is dwindling, you hold me up! :)

Sarah said...

Have I said I <3 your blog?
I think it gets tricky because mom's judge themselves the hardest. So the mom that sees another kid in cloth diapers, for example, thinks: oh his/her mom probably thinks less of me (or worse!) because my kid is in pampers when really the cloth diapering mom just chose what works for her family and knows the pamper-clad baby's family chose what works for them.
Just as an example...
I think it takes time (maybe after you have a second kid?) but eventually the AP parent realizes (hopefully) that AP isn't a checklist- it's figuring out what works for you and going with it, even if it isn't what the person next door chose to do.
So feel annoyed that you're still cosleeping, pamper your kid, and spank your kid and be comfortable with it all... even at the park. You are a smart informed parent and only YOU can make the best decisions for your family - even if the mom that you pass raises an eyebrow.

urban craft said...

I agree. ANd I do those things of attachment parenting. Nursing, co-sleeping, not anymore cause that boy tosses too much during the night. Organic food. The boy never has had a bottle or baby food that I didn't puree myself. Doesn't that show how much I love and attached I am to my kid? When he tries to throw a fit and I ignore him other moms look at me like I am not nurturing him enough. Although they leave their kid with grandma or a sitter all the time and went straight back to beers after they had their kid. I quit my job and am quite frankly am very pissed that a glass of wine can now knock me out. This coming from the girl that drank all night then showered and went to work in the morning.
Oh, the good old days. Wait, does that mean I am old? Is there ever a way to win?