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I have just been looking at some blogs and it seems a lot of women are very angry at the whole idea of attachment parenting. I do agree with some of the things and others are a bit funny but seems to turn into a rant.
What do you think?

http://stinkerpants.com/weblog/post/is-attachment-theory-bad-for-women

http://www.salon.com/2012/01/16/attachment_parenting_dropout/

and a nice positive one
http://freeyourparenting.com/2011/11/21/breastfeeding-attachment-parenting/

Wandermob
SAHM to Tillie 21/09/2007 and Ivy 31/08/2009.

The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think - rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.  ~Bill Beattie

It strikes me that both women seem to be taking on full childcare responsibility - which may explain why they feel so completely run ragged. It is called Attachment *Parenting* not Attachment Mothering - it’s perfectly possible for dads to wear babies, bath with them, co-sleep with them etc. I don’t think that Attachment Parenting is particularly bad for women, but in honesty (as the last writer seemed to suggest), I do think it is best practised in community - preferably more than just the family unit, but at the very least split between two parents. I’m not suggesting that single parents *can’t* attachment parent at all BTW - I know some amazing single AP parents, but that in an ideal world that kind of intense parenting experience is best shared so that no one person feels completely burned out by it.

Angie

http://www.etsy.com/shop/WashedUpFamily Sea Glass Jewellery from the beautiful South Coast[/color]

http://washedupfamily.blogspot.co.uk/

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http://bournemouthattachmentparents.blogspot.com/

Interesting reading wandermob. Personally I really hate the term ‘attachment parent’, as if anything that doesnt tick the AP box means you are not attached to your child. Like that very annoying comment from one of the mothers on that programme recently saying c-sec babies couldnt have the same emotional attachment to their mothers as natural birth babies. Honestly people do spout rubbish. IMO its a matter of balance, and we dont need to be perfect, good enough is fine. I really dislike judgement about parenting, I think we all do it to some extent. The first article talks about AP’s entertaining their kids constantly and doing IQ boosting activities with babies, so I dont know, but it feels like shes mixing up parent types to me.
I have met many parents like ‘Milos mum’ in the second article. They are such a bore, always looking down their noses and judging constantly. I really cant be arsed with people like that tbh. Equally Ive met plenty on the other end of the spectrum, the so called mainstream parents who I also wouldnt feel comfortable with. It goes without saying Ive met both types, AP and mainstream who are just lovely aswell. I hate the way parenting is so competitive. Really im over all of it…I just do what feels right for me and my family, parent by instinct and do my best green wise, and Im past caring what people think. I probably am quite opinionated about certain things. I feel v passionate about education for example (not just HE but education as a broader issue), but Im carefull not to offend people.
I likethe 3rd article, it all sounds very sensible and Id agree about the mis-match between nature and culture. I think ‘AP’ is natural and is the way forward, but it is hard to sustain some of it in our society, so I dont think we should beat ourselves up if we dont manage it all. Youve got to find what feels right for your little family, its not all about the child IMO, its about the family unit.

To dare is to lose ones footing temporarily, to not dare is to lose oneself.

LETS number 137

https://wildheartseducation.wordpress.com/

AP is intense an experience, I recognise that.  And I really re-evaluated my stance on the extremeness of it all after a woman I knew who was hyper-super-vigilante-AP ended up having a nervous breakdown and ran off leaving her dh and 3 kids.  So yeah, I think it can place a huge strain on a woman.  As Angie said, its not a style of parenting best suited to being alone, and yet the women I know who do it (bar none) all have dh’s who work away from home and they are indeed the absolute main caretaker.  Attachment Mothering is so much more accurate a term.  It certainly has been for me.  I have found those early years demanding.  But rewarding.  I still think there is no other way I could/or would choose to parent.  It’s the sort of parenting you do without thinking when you are half asleep, and it’s the sort of parenting you wish you’d had as a child yourself.  It’s hard, but then often that’s the most rewarding sort of life to lead - a hard one.

bluebellfinn - totally agree, the more you slide into your role as a parent the more relaxed you become.  I don’t hold with ‘theories’ any longer.  I hold with practice, and I practice all day long, in any way that suits all of us.  Finding a common preference in any given situation is my aim rather than sticking to an ideal.

I too have met the sort of mother that sounds like Milo’s mum.  I doubt I would have suffered her company for a second time though. 

I hate the black and white view points from both these articles, they imply that not only can you not be a part time using AP mama, babe duo when it suits you both, but that if you do you can not feel comfortable with it.  And that’s just balls. 

I think they are both first time mothers, because that is how it can all be the first time round.  It’s all new and you get all fired up.  Then you have more and more kids and the years/decades pass by and you just chill the hell out and do your own label-less thing.  Without judging others on their own little/enormous journeys either.

I too think it’s all about balance.  Even Dr Sears’ Attachment Parenting book reaffirms the need for a happy, healthy balanced mum.

Mama to our little pirate, Aug 2011

http://www.nappiesinthenorth.co.uk
Nappy Guru to Kirklees, Calderdale, Bradford and Burnley

LETS number 141

I think they are both first time mothers, because that is how it can all be the first time round.  It’s all new and you get all fired up.  Then you have more and more kids and the years/decades pass by and you just chill the hell out and do your own label-less thing.  Without judging others on their own little/enormous journeys either.

I think youre probably right mamauk, they prob are first time mothers. There is something one of them says about having a baby and it breaking down the woman you are into tiny pieces and then you are re-built as a mother. I actually think thats very insightful and rings true for me. That process never really ends of course, but in the beginning, when youre in those tiny pieces, you do analyse all the details and compare yourself to other parents and try to see where you fit. I think at that stage its easy to not to see the bigger picture. Several years down the line, you really begin to know the kind of mother you are & your confidence grows & you shrug off those labels you may have clung to for dear life not so long ago! Its a time & confidence thing I guess. None of it has been ‘bad’ for me. Ive found this process very humbling and very empowering.

To dare is to lose ones footing temporarily, to not dare is to lose oneself.

LETS number 137

https://wildheartseducation.wordpress.com/

When I had Leo I was exhausting myself and making myself feel like a bad mother by trying to follow all the conventional advice. I felt guilty when I had Leo in my bed and when I breast-fed him to sleep etc etc. When he was a few months old I read the Sears book and was finally able to relax that the things I was doing weren’t ‘wrong’.

I guess if you try to bring a baby up following a set of ‘rules’ rather than following what is best for you and your baby you’re always going to struggle.

Charlotte x

Home-Edding, BFing, Co-sleeping, Carrying & Cloth-nappying Gentle Mama to Lovely Leo (Apr 07) and Beautiful Ella (Mar 12)

I don’t have time right now to read the links, but will go back to them.  I detest the AP label, it seems to have become like an extreme political party at times, and I am usually very put off from AP groups by what seems like the obligatory *sargeant major* (usually a group leader) who seems to feel the need to belittle everyone else and their parenting style.  I have often found those who are quite extreme AP’ers to have quite a victimization complex; the world is sooooo against them because they BF/co-sleep/cloth napy etc.  I just get fed up listening to that.  Also comparing their wonderfully-well-behaved-because-they’re-AP’ed-kids to *conventially* raised children, who are apparently sooooo damaged.

It’s a shame that AP has become a technique, as opposed to just a way of parenting that is natural.  This type of parenting is normally usual in larger community/tribal systems, where the child is attached and has it’s needs met, but not necessarily by the mother.  I remember reading CC and found it interesting when Jean Leidloff stated that babies often spent the whole day away from their mothers (who were busy doing work) and were almost solely looked after by other children/young adults and were only brought back to the mother to be BF.  In this type of setting parenting closely I would imagine is much less stressful.

I now feel very comfortable in my own parenting skin, i do what feels right for us because it feels right and it works, not because i’ve read that it’s better for my child in a book.  I really don’t feel the need to justify my parenting to anyone now, like someone above said *good enough* is fine, I don’t belive anyone is a perfect parent so there’s no point burning the wick at both ends, lol.

My last three children were all c/section, bottle fed (for medical reasons) and pushed in a (forward face) buggy, but i consider myself to be a very attached parent.

Muslim mum of four, home educating, environmental hypocrite (but doing my best) hodge podging through this life…..

I think that the problem is that we have an economic system that does not see staying at home with kids or spending a a lot of time with them and looking after them as a legitimate choice. The vast majority of APers seem to have partners working not only out of the home but long hours, often with a commute. This is basically the reality of single income living in most parts of the country, and attatchment parenting does lend itself very easily to single income living. Little things like it being so much harder to get time off for fathers, or in the type of jobs that tend to be held by men, meaning that if a woman wants to go to work, any time that she is not with the kids needs to be made up in childcare rather than their father taking them. Also the simple fact that on a single income it becomes very hard to afford childcare especially if, like us, you are in an area which gives you no choice over where you use your free childcare vouchers. So the partner who stays at home does then do long hours, and furthermore, because there aren’t that many people nowadays staying at home, do often end up relatively socially isolated. I think this is mainly where the stress comes from, but also from the constant knowledge that most people in society don’t think what you are doing is especially worthwhile or interesting which is going to knock you a bit, I guess.

What I think is really sad is that so much of AP stuff seems to be based on fear not positives. I tend towards AP because I think that its a good way to treat my kids. I try to treat my partner and my friends in the same respectful way. I don’t actually believe it will make them nicer, more compassionate, better people-that’s just the hippie corrolory of those get your infant into oxford flashcards. I treat them like this because its the right thing to do and I hope one way they will also treat their kids with as much respect as they can muster (sometimes not so much). Reading the magazine that I shall not name, it is all about the irreversible neurological damage you can expect from letting your child watch an hour of tv, or look at a muffin and on top of that seems to promote the idea that to want a break makes you a lesser being who does not really love their kids, or at least does not care about the intense neurological damage created by watching tv for half an hour while you have your first solo bath in a month: I totally see how that could seriously screw with your mental health.

Ok just to add that I read the links, and I have to admit that I was in kinks of laughter…...  especially at Milo Flynne’s Mom, who for me is just the stereotypical AP group leader (I’m sure there are lovely ones too, but I have yet to see them!)

I would say hats off to these women for being honest, as Dr Sears says in his books; “if it doesn’t work for you, then change it”.  AP isn’t supposed to be martyrdom, I can’t see how there can be a good attachment between mother/carer and baby when there is resentment involved (regardless of the parenting type).

I think in the last few years I have stepped out of my AP box and realized that nature also plays a huge part; children who are carried, BF, co-sleeping don’t always turn out to be the wonderfully- confident- well behaved- caring- sensitive beings that are *supposed* to be.  Infact one of the families i know that the children DO have all of these qualities were left to do a fair bit of crying, albeit in a loving way, although I know that sort of is an oxymoron.  She BF on demand, let baby co-sleep when they wanted, but if she was busy doing something and baby cried, she wouldn’t immediately pick him/her up from bouncy chair etc, she would say in a nice voice “I’m sorry I am busy now, but if you hang on a minute I’ll pick you up then”.  This was obviously when she knew baby wasn’t hungry/in pain, but just when baby wanted to be held. 

To hell with the lot of them, do what feels right for you!

Muslim mum of four, home educating, environmental hypocrite (but doing my best) hodge podging through this life…..

to be completely, brutally, honest, most of the nicest, well adjusted, non-whingy kids I know were not AP’d. And most of the really, uh, hard work kids I know have/had intensely AP parents. not 100%, but enough that, tbh, if I were doing it all again I think I’d be a bit less hardline.

What I kind of didn’t realise when I was reading AP books the first time round is that everyone, pretty much, believes their kids are great, but that, additionally, AP parents may possibly dare I say it believe this slightly more evangelically than others. Hence their writing can be a bit skewed, a bit, “do exactly what I did else your kid will not be great like mine and if they are not great like mine there is nothing but drug addiction and vacant eyed gaming left”

I kind of don’t see how it can be otherwise. I think if you tell anyone, child or adult, that their needs come first above everyone else’s then you will create a brat. If you believe your child has a supreme right to inflict pain or be mean to others because, basically, they are your child, then you will create a brat. If you believe your child should not have to apologise because their right to legitimate self expression and meaningful growth trumps the right of the kid with the bleeding nose to hear a “sorry, how can I make it better” then how can you not create a brat who thinks the world is theirs?

I think what I dislike most in those first two articles are the sweeping generalisations about we ‘hardline’ AP parents. Some people are gits regardless of how they parent, plenty of hardline APers feel prickly and defensive due to being constantly questioned, perhaps criticized by health visitors and/or family, which can cause them to appear gittish to others.

I dont dislike the term Attachment Parent (although I identify more with Radical Unschooling, the way we parent our babies looks just like AP) and we’re happy with and confident in our decisions. I also dont see that AP means putting a child’s needs above everyone else’s. For me, keeping Miri held constantly meets her need to be held, my need to keep her close and helps me to meet Len and Fliss’ needs because a sling keeps my hands free and I’m not spending lots of time trying to settle her in a Moses basket that would be better spent playing…one example, but for me AP makes my life a lot easier and makes it easier for me to meet the needs of my whole family.

As Angie said, any kind of parenting can seem bad for women if it is the woman who shoulders all of the childcare and housework in a relationship. Regardless of parenting style, parenting is a lot of work.

Clare xxx

Hippy-anarchist-feminist-eco-crafty Mama of

Helena July 06
Felicity March 09
Miranda December 11

http://theanarchistmama.blogspot.co.uk

http://rosehowey.org.uk - home!

I agree, Claire, I’ve never seen Leo’s needs as above mine or anyone elses but I have seen them as just as important. As others said it comes down to balance. I’ve never labeled myself as ‘AP’ ( I don’t know exactly what makes you AP) but the reason I’ve co-slept, breast-fed, used sling is because it met Leo’s needs and met my need for making things easier. For me personally NOT doing those things makes it more hard work and I think that’s especially true if you’re doing most of the work yourself.  Bottle -feeding might be easier if it means some of the time someone else feeds baby but if you’re doing it yourself it seems easier to me to BF.

And I agree, Edith that if you tell a child they are more important than anyone else you will create a ‘brat’ but I have never linked BF, co-sleeping etc with communicating to Leo that he is more important than anyone else.

Charlotte x

Home-Edding, BFing, Co-sleeping, Carrying & Cloth-nappying Gentle Mama to Lovely Leo (Apr 07) and Beautiful Ella (Mar 12)

The leader at the group I go to is one of the loveliest, gentlest, least judgemental people I’ve ever met! Which is probably why the group is so respectful and ‘hardline’ proponents of ANY aspect of childcare are not in a position to criticise others or make them feel insecure. It’s very funny - most of the group said at their first meeting that they’d been putting off coming because they don’t like these groups and thought it’d be clique-y or preachy but that now they wish they’d come sooner as it’s such a warm, friendly and respectful place. We’re all different and we all do things differently - I do lots of things that are within AP labels, slings, breastfeeding etc, but I don’t breastfeed full-term, for example, because I decided that a rational mother was better for my children than one who dreaded and resented each feed. I shout a lot more than I’d like, I let my children watch TV when they’re ill and sometimes when they’re not just because I need a few minutes to think straight without anyone demanding anything…

I agree with most of the comments above, but I do feel that the AP principles aren’t fairly represented - flashcards are nothing to do with AP, it’s about supporting your child at their pace, not hothousing at all! Also, it’s not about putting the child’s needs above everyone else in the world. I can’t find Dr Sears saying that anywhere. It’s about a healthy, respectful relationship between parents, parent and child and siblings.

This thread also raised an interesting point for me. I’ve always felt that I had an easier time adjusting to parenting than many women do because I was so young and had never had the chance to settle into a routine, do the things I liked or even discover what those things were. I went straight from being a child to being a parent and actually, I think it is far easier to just get on with it because when you don’t know any other adult life, it’s much less of a compromise of your own needs/wants. I think it must be a lot harder if you have had a career, a home of your own (that is tidy?!) and a social life, and you have to give that up/put it on hold. I’d be really interested to know if anyone else has thought that - I know several of us were teenage parents?

Claire xx

fairycakes - 20 January 2012 10:22 AM

This thread also raised an interesting point for me. I’ve always felt that I had an easier time adjusting to parenting than many women do because I was so young and had never had the chance to settle into a routine, do the things I liked or even discover what those things were. I went straight from being a child to being a parent and actually, I think it is far easier to just get on with it because when you don’t know any other adult life, it’s much less of a compromise of your own needs/wants. I think it must be a lot harder if you have had a career, a home of your own (that is tidy?!) and a social life, and you have to give that up/put it on hold. I’d be really interested to know if anyone else has thought that - I know several of us were teenage parents?

Claire xx

Claire, I didn’t have the kids early and I have been harking back to my twenties when I had ‘freedom’ in my head recently.  I have been really struggling lately with the fact that the children STILL need us to sit there until they fall asleep, so yes staying with them every night when they were young was because they needed it and staying with them now they are older is because it has become a habit.  This colours my whole day, so I just dread bedtimes, and almost tire myself out thinking about it and therefore don’t even enjoy daytimes I feel like we are on a rollercoaster and never get time to do nice things together or be nice to each other because we are too busy. I came to motherhood at 29 and although I knew in my twenties that I did want to settle down and have a family, now in my thirties when I have it, just lately it all seems such hard work, with so little reward that I feel like I can’t cope.  I know we are going through a blip and it is that cold weather blip where we are all in the house and on top of each other and just can’t seem to be nice to each other, the children get home from school and fight with each other and fight with me.  But it does make me want to live on my own, in my own little flat which I had in my twenties where I didn’t have to tidy up after anyone else or cook for anyone else or fulfil any marital obligations wink .  Everything was my choice, I could choose to go out for dinner, or come home and eat cake for dinner, wash up or not wash up.  I have been feeling like upping and running away like the AP mummy Mama4 mentioned, because the giving and giving and giving just becomes too much until I feel like an empty shell.  This all sounds way worse than it is BTW but I have been reflecting on it, partly to because of the feminism thread which makes me reflect on choices and equal opportunities.  Because actually as a mother I don’t have the equal opportunity to work because unemployment is hitting women worst, when the shit hits the fan and the economy collapses, women suffer.  I’m muddling up threads now .... ooops And equally I saw this conference advertised the other day and thought it looks great http://www.lightonparenting.com/programme/ but I do look at it and worry that I will go along and be intimidated by the speakers because they all know so much about AP’ing right, that I will feel inferior because although I try my best to parent gently or respectfully (which reflects my parenting style more than AP - don’t like labels anyway), I am still far from perfect and scream at my children and probably cause arguments, and also I think that my ability to parent in a way that is right for me, is influenced by the support I get from DH and our financial position, and also more importantky emotional resilience or self esteem and for whatever reason (how I was parented?) I am flawed.  And I see my flaws and magnify them and sometimes wonder whether thining about these things too much, about getting them right, makes me a worse parent than a better one.

Wow - what an incoherent post, completely rambled ... sorry ... better go and have more coffee

DD1 - Nov 04
DD2 - Aug 07

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