Confessions of an (Almost) Attachment Parent

I’m going to start this off by saying the only book by Dr. William Sears that I’ve ever read was The Baby Book.  I’ve never really thought about Attachment Parenting before, or any other “type” of parenting, for that matter. I’m just not all that big on labels, or boxes… or anything that smacks of effort for that matter.  So when that Time cover hit and the Internet exploded, I wanted to know what all the hub-bub was all about.

 I started with the articles about the Time cover, or more importantly, the comments people were making about the Time cover.  There was the usual (and distasteful) mommy-judgment brigade and the usual cries of anti-feminist!  All par for the course when it comes to the online world of parenting.  What I wasn’t getting was a clear idea of what, exactly, Attachment Parenting is supposed to be.  Is it all breastfeeding and strapping your baby to your chest and/or back for the first 5 years?  Baby-centric (and toddler, AND preschooler) families keeping moms chained up like prisoners?  Is this really that popular?  Then I found API’s website, which promised to give me an overview of the basic principles behind Attachment Parenting.   So I looked it over and realized that these people sort of sound like me.

I’m a breastfeeder!  I’m not one of those people who will shame you for feeding your baby formula.  You do what you do; it’s all good by me.  Truth be told, I am cheap and lazy (I know, I really sound like I need to be having another baby, don’t I?), and boobs are free!  I have two, and I’m prepared to use them.  Neither of my children were breastfed into their preschool years, but they were breastfed pretty long by some people’s standards (18 months and 2 years, respectively).  They seem to have turned out alright as far as I can tell, and neither of them remembers it, so I don’t think I’ve ruined them for life or anything.

I co-sleep.  I know, I know, people get even more worked up about this than the boob thing.  My son hated his crib.  He despised it.  And I am weak.  I can only listen to my infant scream his displeasure at me for so long.  Besides, you know what’s scary?  Sitting up in bed breastfeeding one minute then waking up several hours later with your newborn in your lap, mouth open with milk dribbling out of it.  I mean, he was fine, but once that happens, you figure out another way to do things pretty quickly.  So making the bed safer and having him in it on purpose worked for us.

I  ordered a wrap for my next baby.  I don’t plan on strapping her to me constantly or anything like that, but I loved my sling for taking my son out for walks, and I wanted something similar this time around.  I can feed her without anyone knowing!  I can get on a bus or a train without having to try to fold up a huge pushchair while holding a newborn and wrangling a 4 year old. Heck yeah, I want one of those!  It sounds better than a second set of hands because I can take it off and not look like a circus freak!  Double score.

Yes, I’m a stay at home mom.  I will, and have, (at times) taken on a part-time job to help out financially, but I do not have the kind of skills that allow me to pull in the kind of money that pays for day care.  Not that I’d rather have a full-time job.  I enjoy being at home with my kids, so it’s worked out well for me.  My husband has a huge family who live nearby as well, so we have Nan and Granddad and lots of aunties to watch our little ones when we need a break.  We manage plenty of alone time while still managing to provide pretty “consistent loving care” for our kid.  It’s not part of some grand philosophy, though; it’s just how we roll.

From what I can tell, this whole Attachment Parenting thing is pretty open to interpretation.  Every philosophy is going to have its extremists, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the whole thing is worthless.  Every child is different, and nobody out there really has it all figured out.  So let’s try to cut all the moms out there trying their best a break, okay?

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Comments

  1. raybob31 says:

    nicely done as always shannon!!! very true!!

  2. Amen to all that.

    I am pretty much in the same boat as you – or was until my kids outgrew all that stuff. I did all the things: homebirth, cosleeping, nursing toddlers, slings – because it felt right for our family and good at the time. If I have another someday, I might do it all differently. Who’s to say? And whose business is it except my child’s, my partner’s, and mine? NO ONE!!

    All this mommy wars stuff is just so much media BS. I hate the media! Why am I a writer, again? Evil!

    Oh and to all those people who have wondered how “those kids” turn out when they get older? Mine are 6 and 10 and they are AMAZING. Secure, smart, funny – completely NORMAL.

  3. Awesome – thanks!

    • shannonhumphreys says:

      Not a problem!
      Sarah, I didn’t see that one! The post I saw was some rando congratulating another commenter who said she breastfed her son until he was 3 on causing him to be sexually impotent when he grows up. TRUE FACTS! My eyes rolled so hard I thought they were going to pop out of my head and roll away. Apparently some people missed the point completely.

  4. It was the same for me. I learned that everything I was doing with my son instinctively, was attachment parenting.

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