Every once in a while I hear about a mother struggling to be the perfect “attached parent” and feeling like she is failing miserably. I don’t know exactly what attachment parenting means to you, in fact, I am not sure what it means to me. But I do think that many of us feel like failures if we haven’t checked off a million things on our “perfect attached mom” list.
I hear women expressing guilt over the fact that they don’t :
-nurse two kids
-nurse past a year
or are feeling overwhelmed and not good enough because they do:
-use a stroller
-use a pacifier
-use any type of infant care device (bouncer, swing, etc)
- let a baby cry for any reason
I am in no position to give advice on parenting.I am not being modest when I say that, I really am in NO position to give advice.
You should meet my two year old.
Despite that, I am going to say something. Parenting is not about check-marks on a list. It isn’t about looking good on some parenting forum or Facebook group. But it is about balance. Finding that balance is very difficult though, isn’t it?
It makes me sad when I hear moms saying they were so overwhelmed with trying to be the perfect parent that they actually decided not to be stay at home moms anymore. I don’t think the point of all that parenting advice is to make us feel like running away because we couldn’t do it “well enough”. I think the point is to help us be the best we can be.
That isn’t exactly the same for everybody though, is it? For me that means finding the balance between giving up what I need to of MY needs so that my children can be well-rounded, good, and happy without giving up SO MUCH that I am miserable and start to negatively impact them and their development.
If part of that balance is putting a baby in a swing every day so that I can make dinner, then that is fine with me. If that means that I use my stroller everyday so that I can exercise, breathe fresh air, and feel good about my body, that is great too. If it means that co-sleeping is not working for our family, then that works for me too.
I don’t know what that balance is for you but I hope that you can find it and find peace and joy in motherhood. One thing I do think I know is this- Motherhood is meant to be a joy for us and our children. It is meant to be the most important thing we do, but not the only thing. And we don’t do crafts in my house. Because I hate them and they are messy.
This article first appeared on the Mama Birth blog.
Sarah Clark is a mother of four children 7 and under. She writes about motherhood and natural birth at her blog Mama Birth. She is also a natural birth teacher and is on the board of directors for Birth Boot Camp, a natural birth education company.