Friday, December 10, 2010

One of "those" parents!

Some people are blessed to know from the start what kind of parent they want to be.  But for most of us, we’re learning as we go.  We love our kids and try to do what we think it right for them.  We try to teach them right from wrong and instill qualities in them that will help them become successful and well-balanced adults later in life.  Every parent has their own ideas and methods on how to do this, but some of us are shocked to find ourselves grow and change as a parent as quickly as our little ones do.

Lucky parents know from the start that they will never lay their hand on their child in anger.  They understand that babies need to trust their parents to keep them safe and that leaving them to cry alone only destroys this trust.  They know they will let their child be who they are and give their child room to explore this world they live in.  But for some of us, these are things we’ve never even thought about.  For some of us, “attachment parenting” sounds like a dirt word, something unhealthy parents do to their kids to encourage them to be needy.  We don’t understand the principles of attachment parenting and confuse it with the clingy, coddled children we see that are too insecure to let mommy walk away from them for one second.  I knew I would never be one of those parents!

I always wanted kids and was so excited when it was finally our time to have a baby.  With the exception of a few things, I was very mainstream.  I knew I wanted to stay home to raise my kids, have a natural childbirth, breastfeed my baby for the first year, carry my baby in one of those backpack things, and use one of those neat cradle like dividers I saw in the store that let the baby sleep in the bed with you.  But I also knew that I would use spanking and time outs with my kids and that my kid would never behave like that in a restaurant!

Then I became a mother.  All of a sudden, things were so different now that it was my baby.  I looked at this tiny person who I was responsible for and knew I had to protect him from harm.  As time went on, my baby grew and so did I.  Over time, certain accepted and expected mainstream ideals no longer seemed as harmless as they once had.  Many of my definitions of harm changed as I changed.  Some sooner than others, but many only after lots of pain and regret.

Things seemed easier in the beginning.  I parented from the gut.  If it felt wrong, I didn’t do it.  But things got more complicated as my baby grew and started to “misbehave”.  After trying the more traditional methods, I decide that it just didn’t work for us and started trying to find other options.  I started hearing more and more about “attachment parenting” and started finding myself moving in that direction.    

Now, a mother of two, I proudly consider myself one of those parents!  My kids are sometimes loud in restaurants, they scream and fight with each other often, and I still struggle to grow as a parent on my journey to being AP.  But I know I can never go back to mainstream parenting.  I am amazed at how much I have changed and grown over the years.  My kids have been both my student and teacher as we learn from together what our family is going to look like.

I wish I had been one of the lucky parents that didn’t have to go through the tears and heartbreak to get to this point.  And sometimes I feel overwhelmed by how far I still need to go.  But I will never stop trying and am so grateful for the infinite patience and ability for forgiveness my children have with me.  And I urge every parent to follow to their gut in finding something that feels right for their family.  Don’t worry if you’re not one of those lucky ones, it’s never too late to start the journey!


  1. I stumbled here based on the car seat poncho pattern. I'm below novice level at sewing but will give it a shot. Or make my mother in law do it when she gets here in a week!

    Sounds like you are doing an excellent job. Parenting is such a learning experience and so much about where you set (and adjust) your expectations. And being able to laugh through the bumps and suffer gracefully and honestly through any boulders.

    I just had our second and can relate to this on so many points. Minor exceptions is with my first I totally wanted an epi because I didn't consider myself natural childbirth material. One of "those" women. Things led to me not able to get one and I ended up grateful and planned and had 100% natural with my second. I didn't plan on spanking and I don't.

    I planned to breastfeed year and got a bjorn and a sling to use the first few months. Ended up tossing the Bjorn and wearing a three year old seven months into pregnancy. Got the crib, stroller, disposable diapers and bottles for pumped milk. This time no bottles or anything non breast for at least 40 days and we bed share and do EC with cloth diapers. I didn't think AP as a dirty word because I didn't know it existed.

    But I don't see how AP = inappropriate outside behavior. That is just not something I ever connected with AP. My little spirited child is well behaved, friendly and non-disruptive (unless friendliness is considered disruptive) 90% of the time. When she isn't I don't spank, I don't scream or lose my temper we just calmly leave after attempts to calm her.

  2. Thanks for your wonderful comments and support Marissa! I too don't think that AP = inappropriate behavior, although age appropriate behavior does frequently occure! Haha! But I do think people believe that sometimes. They think that your kids are going to be out of control if they are not spanked or punished. But I find the opposite to be true. I see the time and effort put into disciple instead of punishment leading to much better overall behavior. Kids are kids. Sometimes they are going to be loud or get crabby. But punishing them doesn't teach them what I want them to learn.

    Thanks again for your support! Connecting with moms like you is what this blog is all about. It's nice to know we're not alone!