When I first heard about attachment parenting, I thought it sounded amazing. I liked the idea of bonding closely with my baby, then treating them with respect, love, and kindness as they grew to adulthood. I imagined days full of snuggles, breastfeeding, wearing my baby everywhere, and raising independent, loving kids. Then I became a parent and realized that being a mom was not at all like I'd imagined. Now that I've been a parent for a while, I truly think people need to stop romanticizing attachment parenting. Of course and always, there's more than one way to be a good parent, and attachment parenting doesn't work for all (or probably even most) families.
The basics of attachment parenting are pretty straight forward. According to guru Dr. William Sears, if you want to bond with your babies you need to practice the following Baby B's: birth bonding, breastfeeding, babywearing, bed-sharing, belief in your baby’s cries, beware of baby trainers, and balance. If you do, you will enjoy what is called the Childhood C's: caring kids, compassionate kids, connected kids, careful kids, confident kids, and confident parents. If this all sounds pretty good to you, I don't blame you. I totally bought into this lifestyle hook, line, and sinker. I was going to be an attachment parent, even if it meant sacrificing myself in the process. So, I tried so hard to do all of these things and the results were pretty catastrophic — postpartum depression and anxiety, sleep deprivation, guilt, shame, and feeling like I failed.
I quickly realized that I didn't have the physical ability, time, money, energy, or honest desire to do all of these things all of the time. It was so exhausting. Unfortunately, by then, I was so indoctrinated into the lifestyle that I thought that stopping meant I was going to seriously screw up my kids. It took me a long time, some soul-searching, finding like-minded parent friends, and watching my babies grow into caring kids to discover that raising awesome humans is not dependent on a rigid set of guidelines (that are actually pretty sexist, ableist, and classist when you think about it). All you need is love to bond with your kids, and I love them way more now that I'm not trying too hard to be someone I'm not. For these, and a few other reasons, I think we have got to stop romanticizing attachment parenting.