Everything touches your family. Even people and activities that seem to have nothing to do with you will in some way touch your family. Sometimes it is good to have another person's perspective about what is happening around us. This is that place.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Are You Mom Enough? Part III
was the purpose of "Are You Mom Enough?" article in the Times May 21, 2012, issue? We have talked about the implications of the
cover and the surrounding arguments (excuse me, discussions) it spurred, but we
have not actually talked about the real topic of the article: attachment parenting. What is attachment
parenting? That buzz word has been
around since the 1970's, but I did not take notice of that wording until this
article popped up. I suppose if I had
heard that label and what it meant I probably automatically considered it not
worth remembering, because–by the way it touches my family—it just means being a mom.
the proponents of attachment parenting summarize it as a parenting technique
which concentrates on a physical and emotional connection between parents and
their children. The most common
components of attachment parenting are breastfeeding on demand (not a preset
schedule), children sleeping with parents (or in a bassinet adjacent to the
parental bed), and "wearing" children (rather than parking them in
baby seats, etc.). Many people also
include not letting a child cry-it-out and a "gentle" approach to
discipline. The number of sites trying
to tell you how to practice this style abound.
attachment parenting something new or something old? Both.
The techniques and practices have naturally occurred on one level or
another since there have been moms, but the label attachment parenting is fairly new.
(New under this middle-aged
woman's definition) Despite the public
outcry against labels, Americans crave labels.
Labels provide direction, organize thoughts, give comfort/security, and
require people to think less. Please do
not consider the "think less" part as a derogatory mark. When you go into the grocery store, do look
for the "labels" of meat, produce, baking needs, cereal, etc.? Wouldn't it be nearly impossible to find what
you wanted at the store if it was not organized and labeled? People do the
same thing in their homes, offices, and anywhere else they want to have
order—including in their minds and daily habits. So, when a woman needs a quick
to way describe how she parents, a label—such as attachment parenting—can be
the easiest way to do it.
photo courtesy of www.morelikehome.net
original Times article centered on
the guidance of Dr. William Sears. His
website Ask Dr. Sears calls the
" 7 Attachment Tools" the "Baby B's":
1. Birth bonding
3. Baby wearing
4. Bedding close to baby
5. Belief in the language value of your baby's
6. Beware of baby trainers
simple doesn't it. Basically, it
is. Then why the big fuss? In Part II of this series, I mentioned that a
few decades ago that during the beginning of the
"science-is-the-answer-for-everything" age some women were made to
feel inferior if they breastfed. About
this time, too, some "experts" insisted moms not hold their children and to "let them cry it
out." Despite the agony these
practices caused young mothers, they either did it anyway attempting to do the
best for their children or they quietly followed their instincts instead and
did not tell anyone else. Giving the
label attachment parenting to what many mothers wanted to do provided those
mothers encouragement and enabled them to resist the extreme of seeing children
as something to be monitored, studied, or managed.
attachment parenting brought confidence and reassurance to one set of parents, the
behaviors of those who practiced extreme attachment parenting brought
intimidation to another set of parents.
Do those who practice attachment parenting to the extreme (the
definition of extreme is to be decided by the reader) need to apologize? No, but also those who don't do not have to
apologize either. If you want to wear
your baby in a sling while grocery shopping, go ahead. If you want to click your baby's car seat
onto your cart, go ahead. If you want to
leave junior home with dad while you run to get groceries, go ahead.
The main idea is to just love your baby. Remember "sacrifice" and being
willing to make changes for the sake of your children are parts of being a
loving parent. Are you doing that? Teaching your children as they grow that the
world does not revolve around them and that they should think of others before
themselves (hopefully following your example) is another part of being a loving
parent. Are you on your way to doing
that? Then you are probably doing o.k.
recently saw on Elizabeth Foss's website a quote from Mother Teresa when she
won the Noble Peace Prize and was asked, "What can we do to promote world
peace?" She answered "Go home
and love your family."
the media hype. Do not worry about labels
or parenting fads. Listening to advice
does not mean you have to follow it. God
put you in charge of your children, not the "experts," not the
government, and not your best friend.
You get to decide what habits or practices touch your family. Are you mom enough for the job? I think so.