I know your first reaction may be, “Are you saying I’m not a good enough mom because I don’t…fill in the blank…” That is NOT what I am saying at all.
What I am saying is that attachment parenting makes ME a better parent. I’m not comparing myself to you. I am comparing to myself to what I know I would be like if I didn’t practice attachment parenting.
I am so busy with life, work, etc that my attachment parenting moments are the ones that are of most value to me and my kids.
What is attachment parenting? It is a term coined by Dr. Sears. The principles of attachment parenting are
- Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
- Feed with Love and Respect
- Respond with Sensitivity
- Use Nurturing Touch
- Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
- Provide Consistent Loving Care
- Practice Positive Discipline
- Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life
The lifestyle habits that are most commonly associated with attachment parenting are birth bonding, breastfeeding, baby wearing, bedding close to baby (co-sleeping), and believing in your baby’s cry.
So why do I believe attachment parenting makes me a better parent (not better than you, just better then me without attachment parenting)?
Having these things as a standard part of my parenting forces me to connect with my kids.
I am a very driven person. I always have been and I think that I learned some really bad habits while being an overachiever in school. “You have to get your homework done before you can go out and play.” In school you could always study more, I was a perfectionist and had to have the best grade, 100% if possible. Now, translate that to “real life.” When you work for yourself, work is never done. There is always more that can be done. I also feel an insane obligation to the people I have made commitments to; the patients in my practice, pregnant moms who need answers to questions now, my Facebook fans, and the members of my natural birth community.
With all of this it is easy to get caught up in the “have to dos” and keep putting the kids off by saying I just need to do this. Actually I realized this when my daughter started asking me, “Mama, what do you ‘just’ have to do?”
Breastfeeding allows my kids to say, mommy I need you to stop and be with me right now. I love that no one else can feed my baby and that only I can connect with them through nursing. It is a special time for them to feel connected and it forces me to give them the time I should be giving them all day.
Babywearing is so important to me. I don’t wear my baby at all times like some moms do. There is no babe in my arms as a type. I find it too easy to just put my baby down for this or hand him off to someone else for that. I find babywearing gives me so much more time holding and touching him then I ever would without. Being able to kiss and love him while grocery shopping makes a world of difference in my life. I purposely di not buy a car seat that can come out of the car or a stroller, so I would be forced to pick up and hold my baby.
Bedsharing is my bliss. After a day of too many to dos being able to snuggle with my kids brings me peace and gives them a chance to have me just be with them fully relaxed and in the moment. I adore holding them and waking up to morning smiles. I remember, when my daughter was a baby she would have the biggest smiles on her face before she opened her eyes. If she slept away from me I would have missed those golden moments that I hold so dear. I also get tonnes more sleep bedsharing and breastfeeding. I would be a zombie without.
So why do I love attachment parenting? Because it forces me to be the connected, present parent I want to be.
I am working on being more present and releasing my need to be perfect and my obligation to others. It is one of the last pieces of the attachment parenting paradigm that I need to master, “balance in personal and family life.”
In time I won’t need to force myself to be a good parent but until then I rely on attachment parenting to make me a better one.
Making these practices a rule in my life allows me to come back to my kids and really connect.