9 Ways You Don't Realize You're Angering Moms Who Attachment Parent
I'd like to consider myself a pretty level-headed individual; one who doesn't upset very easily or lose her cool over small, relatively unimportant things. However, being a mom has made me protective of myself, my choices and my family, to the point that I'm willing to stand up for myself and speak up for myself a little more than I usually would have. So, there are probably ways you don't realize you're angering moms who attachment parent; ways that you might not even be vindictively doing; ways that cause these moms distress because, like I said, we're protective mama bears, now.
Of course, that's not to say that every mom has become hypersensitive and, as a result, takes things "too personally" or gets upset for things that really shouldn't bother her (although, that's also relative and I'm of the notion that we shouldn't be trying to police people's emotions, regardless). I think, if anything, motherhood makes you stronger and more resilient to constant judgment and scrutiny. After all, everyone seems to have an opinion about our choices and/or what we think is best for our babies. Still, we're protective of our decisions because, in the end, those decisions affect our little ones and that responsibility isn't taken lightly. So, when a mom is told that co-sleeping, co-bathing, extended and/or on-demand breastfeeding and babywearing and any other aspect of attachment parenting is actually hurting her baby, she's not going to be all that happy. Can you really blame her?
While I'm all over talking about parenting and why I've made the decisions I've made, it sure would make those conversations much easier if people just avoided the following. I get that attachment parenting is somewhat misunderstood, but do your research, avoid these comments and, well, we'll all reach a better understanding.
Assuming They're Not Feminist...
I can't stand this assumption and while I understand the fight for equality has furthered women's rights in a number of wonderful ways (and even though there's still some work to do) the pendulum has also swung in the opposite direction to the point that certain decisions women make are considered "anti-feminist." Make no mistake; you're not a "bad feminist" if you become a mother, choose to be a stay-at-home mom or, you guessed it, attachment parent.
The point of feminism is to fight for the equality of all genders, and to empower women to make their own choices. If a woman chooses something that she knows is best for her (and, by proxy, her family) she is doing something that is, by definition, feminist.
...And They're Putting Their Needs Absolutely Last
Even though attachment parenting, for me, meant co-sleeping, co-bathing, breastfeeding on demand and babywearing; it didn't mean that my needs no longer mattered or that I didn't find a way to spend time by myself, away from my kid, so that I could take care of my physical and mental health.
Maybe I spent more time around my son, skin-to-skin, than other parents who didn't choose to attachment parent, but I did spend some time by myself, too. In fact, attachment parenting made me realize that my son feeds off my energy and how I act and feel, has a direct impact on how my son acts and feels. So, I made it a priority to take care of myself first, frequently and without apology.
Suggesting They're "Spoiling" Their Kid
You can't "spoil" a baby. Seriously, it's not a thing. A newborn needs constant love, attention and care, and providing those things to my son whenever and wherever he needed them wasn't "spoiling him." It was simply me being a parent and my baby being, you know, a baby.
Saying Their Kid Is "Calling The Shots"
While I could see how this comment would upset some parents, it never really pissed me off because, well, it was true. I have no problems saying that I followed my son's lead, especially when it came to routines and schedules. I didn't force him to eat at certain times and I didn't force him to sleep for certain periods of time or in a place that he felt uncomfortable. I let him "call the shots" and made a schedule that revolved around what his body naturally decided he needed. I'm OK with that.
Of course, now that he's a toddler I am establishing more a routine that I know won't hurt him in any way, or put him in an uncomfortable situation. I'm still the parent people. Trust me.
Thinking They're Attachment Parenting Because They're Selfish...
I have never understood this comment. I mean, what in the world could possibly be selfish about using your breasts to feed your kid whenever they want; sharing your bed with a tiny little human that hits and kicks and pees the bed; co-bathing so you can't turn the water up as hot as you would normally like.
I sacrificed plenty of my day-to-day routines because I choose to attachment parent. Now, I didn't do that so that I could brag on some mommy blog or an online forum. I did it because that's what worked best for my baby, and myself.
...Or Need Validation
I didn't have a baby for personal validation, so the choices I make because I had a baby aren't made in need of validation, either. It's honestly that simple.
Blindly Assuming They'll Choose Certain Parenting Tactics Or Techniques
If I'm being honest, I'd be the most happy if we just rid ourselves of all these "mom labels" in the first place. There's no reason to categorize parents into these little pockets of people that, in the end, only encourage animosity and self-doubt and competition.
Plus, people tend to pull from all of these parenting "groups," and use multiple parenting techniques simultaneously. For example, while my partner and I co-slept, co-bathed and made other "alternative" parenting choices, we also vaccinated our son (and will continue to do so). While I breastfed exclusively and on demand, my son has also had some microwavable foods that aren't, um, "organic." We do what we think is best and depending on the situation just like, you know, everyone else.
Using The Word "Hippie" As A Bad Thing
I've never been upset is someone called me a "hippie" because, honestly, I don't think it's a bad thing. If someone uses that term in an attempt to shame you for your parenting, clearly they're the one stuck with some preconcieved, fictitious notion of what it means to be a hippie mom.
Judging Without Asking Questions Or Really Learning About Attachment Parenting
Any mother could honestly say this about absolutely any choice she makes, so it's no surprise that it holds true for moms who attachment parent. Please, don't make assumptions or turn up your nose when you don't really know what you're talking about or what you're even "upset" about. If there are certain aspects of attachment parenting that you don't necessarily understand or can't seem to wrap your mind around; ask. It's that simple. I guarantee you, for the most part, a mom who is attachment parenting would be happy to let you know what that means for her.