I'm An Attachment Parent & These 8 Stereotypes Are *Totally* True
My kids are older now, but when they were babies I found myself naturally gravitating toward what I eventually learned was attachment parenting. Based on the idea that parents should be physically and emotionally responsive to all their baby's needs via near-constant proximity, attachment parenting is the subject of a lot of spilled ink —people either love it or hate it. I loved it. It's definitely not for everyone, but it worked for me and my family. And, I'll be honest, some attachment parent stereotypes are totally true. Or, you know, they can be.
It could be very easy to fight any of these stereotypes, because for as many stereotypes that resonated there was an aspect of them that didn't. I don't think I personally ever entered "cartoon character" level of attachment parent. But, then again, there were definitely times when I thought to myself, "OK, this is pretty typical and I'm going to be a sport and laugh at myself." I think all of us, at some point or another, will teeter into the land of some kind of stereotype. Because while no one is solely a stereotype — we're fully-formed by a life experiences and unique personalities and have nuance and depth — they're stereotypes for a reason, right? And, hey, that's OK. Use it as a way to assert your beliefs or have a sense of humor or bond with other people who find themselves in the same boat.
So with that in mind, here are some of the attachment parent stereotypes I've found to be rather accurate.
We're Really Into Breastfeeding
Not all attachment parents breastfeed, but most do and I'm going to go out on a limb and say just about all probably make an attempt at some point. Lots of us breastfeed for longer than average. Many of us like it, some of us love it, and all of us believe in it in some capacity, either the benefits of breast milk or the act of nursing. And, certainly, there are non-attachment parents who enjoy and believe in breastfeeding, but it's definitely a hallmark of the whole lifestyle.
We're Always Looking For "Alternatives"
Which isn't to say we always go with them, but we always look into them. Alternative sleeping arrangements, baby conveyance devices, ways to introduce solids, and even vaccine schedules. (I get the impulse, by the way, but the evidence is overwhelming in favor of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's schedule.) Because our whole thing is basically being like, "OK, but is there another way that maybe people aren't considering because it's not 'mainstream'?"
Mostly, this is very much a "make as informed a decision as possible, because the status quo isn't always looking out for your best interests" type of thing. But also, I'm not going to lie, a lot of us (not all, but a lot) like doing things differently. It appeals to us. Even if two things are equal we'll go with the "outside of the box" choice, just because.
Babywearing Becomes A Dorky Obsession
You know how people get really into classic cars, craft beers, Beanie Babies, or anime? Yeah, you wouldn't think that different cloth structures to keep your child attached to your body could grow into fanaticism but, giiiiiirl.
Seriously, there are entire social media groups dedicated entirely to different methods of babywearing. People start collections. People connect with other attachment parents IRL to help them out (which is super nice, by the way). But here's the thing: babywearing can be so damn convenient I feel like it's easy to get into it. (Also there are so many cute patterns, OMG, you guys, you have no idea!)
We Can Absolutely Get Overzealous
This is true of any new parent, but when you have "a philosophy" behind you, motivating a lot of your actions (with the best intentions possible, incidentally) it's easy to fall into fanaticism. And it's not all attachment parents and it's not even some of the parents all of the time, but sometimes we can come across as smug or paranoid (or both). Certainly this isn't limited to attachment parents, either, but we have our own unique brand of occasionally insufferable. (Think Maggie Gyllenhaal's character from Away We Go.)
Just please remember, when we dip into "kooky," shall we say, that we're doing this parenting thing sleep deprived and hormonal and full of worry and love for our little ones and it's hard. People cling on to the things that give them direction and comfort, and attachment parenting gives a lot of both.
We're Kinda Hippies
I'm just saying there's a ton of overlap between people who have owned a patchwork skirt at some point in their lives and people who become attachment parents.
We Spend A Lot Of Time Online
Attachment parenting thrives within internet communities. Often that's because a lot of people who opt for this method find that, unless they live someplace like Brooklyn, Portland, or Austin, their parenting style and philosophies are not mainstream in their physical community. Enter the internet: connecting like-minded people, for better and for worse, since 1990!
We Think About *Everything*
Someone attracted to a style of parenting that encourages you to question the status quo is likely going to be someone who, by definition, questions everything. This can result in a lot of back and forth in your brain, as well as a lot of research and Googling. It's not always a bad thing, either! One can be well served looking more deeply into things, but there's a limit and it can be easy to fall down a rabbit hole.
I'm not saying attachment parents live lives void of any kind of disadvantage or hardship, but I am saying that if one is even in a position to consider attachment parenting in any capacity they're operating on some level of privilege. There are a whole bunch of different varieties of attachment parenting, but it's often (not always) based on the idea of a stay-at-home caregiver (usually a mom), which is a choice many, many people are not in a position to entertain. Even if you're a working parent who subscribes to attachment parenting (I was!), a lot of the other tenets (breastfeeding, for example, or the idea that you have community to support you) require good fortune.
For all the good-natured stereotyping, remember that all moms are first and foremost just moms who are trying to get through parenthood and do what's best for their children. Remember that doing both of those things at once can sometimes feel impossible.