I would suggest another line instead of "pass the bean dip" - that would be "This works for us and our child right now." That's not judgmental, and it's the truth.
I will admit that it's really hard for me not to be judgmental when I hear someone describing something I would never do. I was listening to someone describe on Sunday how she was so excited to go care for her niece and nephew from Tuesday to Friday while her sister/BIL went to see the finals of American Idol (or was it Dancing with the Stars??). I thought that was really cool until she said that her nephew was 4 months old. It took me a minute to get my head around that. I shared a glance with a crunchy mom friend and bit my tongue. My gut reaction was: How can she leave such a tiny infant for so long? How is he going to eat? But while it wouldn't be my choice to leave a 4 month old infant, she's not abandoning him to the wolves -- she's leaving him in the loving care of his aunt.
As your child grows, you will need to change how you do things. As your family grows, things will need to change. When you add a 2nd child (or a 3rd, or a 4th) someone's going to have to wait a little longer for your attention. Our dd has been sick for the last couple of days (the last in the family to get the evil stomach virus). Because of that, I've been spending a lot of time sitting next to her on the bed. She's an extrovert and wants company in her misery. But that means that our son has had less attention from me. It's going to be a few days before I can remedy this because it's also his sister's birthday tomorrow. Luckily, ds is 10 able to handle it. It was harder when he was 3.
And your children might well end up with very different needs. Our ds was the 'anti-AP' baby. He hated to be worn. He slept best in a crib. In fact, he slept in that crib until he was 5. He loved the enclosed, safe feeling it gave him. When we gave him a chance to move to a loft bed with a similar type of feel, he jumped at it. Dd didn't even have a crib set up until she was 9 months. And even then, she didn't really sleep in it much. She needed to sleep with us - both for contact and for food. (She reverse cycled while I was at work, so got most of her nutrition at night.)
I can't feel superior that dd coslept because ds didn't. And really dd coslept with us out of desperation, not philosophy (though I was philosophically in favor of it). When ds was a baby, dh and I would trade off getting up when he woke (if he needed to eat, it was my turn, if he needed comfort it was dh's). So, ds never cried on his own, but it took a lot of getting out of bed for us. I couldn't ask dh to get up with dd, because I needed him to be awake enough to get up with ds in the mornings. The only way all of us were going to get sleep was by cosleeping with dd.
Originally Posted by alittlesandy
My DH once made the comment that a lot of AP parents seem to wear their beliefs like a hair shirt.
Yes, I think it's unfortunate. AP is the natural way to parent and I do wish more parents would honor their instincts when parenting. But it's hard to embrace a philosophy that seems to have such strict adherants. The 'holier than thou' attitude is off-putting to many. I don't think it's intentional on most parents' part, but again, it's the implied message.
Originally Posted by tillymonster
I have been an attached mama since my DD was born, before I even knew what it was. I just think it's the most amazing thing, I find it fascinating and can't imagine parenting my child ANY other way.
Sadly, it's been a major struggle to cope with how different the world around me, parents their children. And while I try my hardest NOT to judge, I am judged, in a major way, on a regular basis. Consisting of everything from "Wow, you sit in the back seat with your child, I feel SO sorry for you" to "I feel that some parents take this kind of parenting to the extreme. I don't see what's wrong with letting my 3mo son cry on the way to the store, he needs to learn. I wont let a baby change my life."
I was very open about my parenting. So much so I would send emails to said offenders trying to explain my views with various articles on Dr. Sears' website. Boy, was that a mistake. Now I am mostly likely the gossip of my family and friends and considered to have "weird and strange" ideas about parenting.
Two thoughts here: Evangelists of all sorts -- whether it be religious or parenting -- tend to get people's backs up. It sounds to me like you were being a bit of an unintetional evangelist. When you're doing that, the hidden message you're sending is "Your parenting isn't good enough". I know that's not what you intended, but that's often the message people receive. It's hard, when you feel passionate about things, to recognize the implications of some of the things that you're saying. that's why I find "Well, this is working for us right now" to be a great line. You're not backing down on your beliefs, you're not leaving much room for discussion, and you're not saying anything about their parenting.
As for the most likely being the gossip of riends and family: My philosophy here is "if they don't talk to me about it, I don't know about it". I perfected that line while being president of the parent-teacher organization at our kids' school. I just can't spend time and emotional energy worrying about other people's potential gossip. It's amazing how much of the drama disappeared from my life (and the PTO) when I adopted that attitude.
In the end, we do AP because it's right for us. I don't try to justify what we do, or really even explain it unless directly asked. Right now, OP, you're in the 'hard years' because so many people have ideas about how babies and toddlers should be treated and disciplined. As your child grows, she'll develop more and you'll not have to justify what you're doing so much. Some day, you'll have a child who can tie her own shoes, buckle her own seat belt, and wipe her own bottom and fall asleep by herself. And you'll know that you helped her get there the best way you knew how.