I recently posted on Mothering about a mama considering going away on a trip with girlfriends, leaving her nursing 22 month old daughter with her papa.
You all jumped in on both the Mothering and Mama Renew facebook pages with a plethora of thoughts and experiences. Some of you were clear that you would never have been ready to leave a nursing child at that age, while others shared having done so with great success and spoke out on the importance of shedding guilt.
I was struck by the diversity in comments and experiences, and found myself especially intrigued by the unique adaptations and understandings of diverse families practicing elements of attachment parenting.
I came across this great quote years ago from a blog post on judgment by Meagan Francis on AustinMama:
“I made little attempt to resist the rating system that set itself up in my brain: my potential friend-o-meter. Does she breastfeed? 10 pts. Past a year? 20. Well, she works part time, but only while her husband is home with the kids, so we’ll only knock off five points for that. Ugh, is that a pacifier? 10 more points off!”
Even with the best of intentions, we all have that judge voice inside of us, especially when we encounter someone making a parenting choice that is different from what we would do. A practice I learned in my training as a childbirth mentor with Birthing from Within was to always, Always begin a dialogue by assuming positive intent. We all want the best for our children, and a strong and healthy attachment is at the very core of it all – and we each have our own way of fostering this core bond.
Over my years supporting families, I have been so impressed by the diversity of ways families bring attachment parenting to life. From countless variations on cosleeping and the family bed, to creative adaptations made by families with breastfeeding challenges, we all have our childrens’ best interests at heart.
In honour of Attachment Parenting Month, I invite each of you to notice the next time your inner judge is activated – by a mom at the playground, a friend making different choices than you, or a sister you couldn’t be more different from… Take that big first step and assume positive intent, trusting that she is making her best possible choices for her child. You will find that when you begin dialogue from this shared ground, there is much room for growth – for all of us!
What is the core of attachment parenting for you? How have you adapted attachment principles to work for your family?
About Sarah Juliusson
Sarah Juliusson, founder of Mama Renew, is a gifted facilitator and writer on the journey of birth & motherhood. She brings two decades of experience supporting families through pregnancy, birth and motherhood to her work. Sarah is mother to two growing boys, a playful crafter with cloth & wool, student of traditional food preservation, and a diva at heart. Join the conversation on http://www.mamarenew.ca & on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mamarenew