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My experience with attachment parenting. Not a debate on how I word things. UGH! - Page 4

post #61 of 110

I agree that none of us determine what our children are like, as Linda says, but also that we can influence who they become, as APToddlerMama says. We can't control it, but we can do our best to be positive influences. But there is no telling what we've done that made our children turn out a certain way, be it positive or negative, and no telling how our children would have turned out had we done it differently.


Because of that, it makes no sense to judge others who parent differently, especially if their children are doing fine. Non-AP parents love their kids just as much, and even AP parents can lack empathy and confidence (as is evident from comments on this thread, both ones expressing judgement and ones expressing frustration over being judged) Non-AP parents have difficulty; non-AP methods come with obstacles too.


To claim that AP, or even non-AP, produces a certain outcome is a fallacy; there's no proof a different method would not have the same results or that even that it was your parenting which made your child the lovely person he or she is. Maybe they were just born lovely. We're always so quick to applaud our parenting when our children turn out well, but when they rob convenience stores, it couldn't possibly have been our parenting because we did everything right... Obviously it's not just our parenting!

post #62 of 110
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
It is a completely unreasonable expectation to put on a child to be perfect so that other people will know that you are OK as a mother. That's just too much pressure.

Thank you for putting into words something that I think about a lot. This to me sums up one of the biggest paradoxes about parenting. You have to do what is best for your child because you think it will help them grow up successfully...BUT you also have to let go of expectations of who and what they are "supposed" to be and how that reflects on your parenting choices. It's tricky! My experience of parenting is that paradoxes and contradictions abound. Just when I think I have something figured out, things will change. Being a mom definitely forces me to soften up my ego, and I consider that a good thing.eyesroll.gif


In my experience, there are about a zillion choices and decisions that have to be made through pregnancy, birth & child rearing, and there doesn't seem to be any fool proof way to determine which path is best.


Is a parenting strategy good because it's "easy"? Seems reasonable...but sometimes there is no "easy" path. Or sometimes "easy" is just a code word for "cop out." But then again, sometimes "easy" means that things are aligning the way they should. It isn't always clear.


Is a parenting strategy good because it seems to produce the best outcome? Makes sense...certainly no one wants a bad outcome...but kids are works in progress & parenting requires constant adaptation to change. What seems like a "good" outcome at one point in time might reveal less positive consequences at another point, and vice versa.


Is a strategy good because it aligns with one's philosophical framework? Also makes sense...but a narrow fixation on ideology can kick you in the butt if reality doesn't measure up, which it often doesn't. Sometimes adherence to ideals is helpful, sometimes it's just a humbling moment waiting to happen.


Is to good because it's the only thing you can do, given your circumstances, the temperament of your child, and other factors? I would guess that many of us find ourselves in this boat at least some of the time.


The only thing that seems clear to me in this conversation is that parenting is not "one size fits all" and we can all learn a lot from each other...or at least have some good company on the journey...if we're willing to listen & stay open.

post #63 of 110
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I have teenagers and I'm around other teenagers. While I still believe that BF, GD, etc., are ideal, I also see that humans come into the world with their own head and heart, and that they have many, many experiences we do not control that effect them. Often, they go through VERY difficult periods. Of course the best we can do is the best we can do, but to believe that we can determine what sort of human being another becomes is just our ego.


Both my kids are amazing people, but I let them take the credit for that. Although I made it through the AP checklist as a mother, there are many moments I would love to be able to do-over, decisions I made that I can now with hindsight see weren't the best. I haven't been the perfect mom.


And even though they are both amazing people, they've both gone through phases where they seemed kinda screwed up. Growing up is difficult. They aren't perfect.


And all of that is OK. 


This. Well said.


I think ds1 is an amazing young man, and I've heard the same from many other people in my life. When he was little, I felt like a fabulous mom. Looking back...not so much. I wasn't terrible, but I really was (and am) just another mom fumbling my way through and trying to figure out what worked/works. Many things that were beneficial to ds1 didn't work with dd1. DS2 is yet another different ballgame. DD2 is seriously attention intensive (although sweeter than sweet and just incredibly cute), and would have done better with the younger, more patient me. They're all different. Personally, I think they're all amazing, but there's very little likelihood that dd1 or ds2 will ever be anything like ds1. They're just totally different people...and his social gifts, self-confidence, etc. weren't because of how he was parented, as much I'd like to believe they were. (I do still sometimes pat myself on the back for navigating the breakdown of my marriage to his dad with as little fallout for him as possible....but even that ties a lot into his own innate temperament and personality.) One of the most wonderful young men I know had really quite crappy parenting, but he's still turning out to be a sweetheart.


It's actually all a little depressing sometimes, but it's the opposite at other times...

post #64 of 110

Oh...also wanted to mention that AP is easier for me than the alternative, too. Sitting outside my child's door and listening them CIO would be brutal. Watching dh's friend go through it made me want to cry for her. She was doing it, because she believed it was right, not because it was easy. (That boy is now...seven, I believe, and he seems quite happy and well-adjusted and all that.)


And, I once babysat my oldest nephew, who was formula fed. OMG - I'd rather go through all the hassles of being tied down to a nursing baby, cracked infected nipples, muscle aches from holding one position, etc. etc. than the hassle of having to fix even one bottle of formula while a hungry baby screams in my ear. What a nightmare! After that, I really, really feel for women who have to go the formula route, because it's a huge PITA.

post #65 of 110

Lol! I have to agree about the formula! I babysat a little boy who used formula and there's nothing worse than listening to a hungry baby scream while you fix up a bottle! I had so much sympathy for this Mama!

post #66 of 110

Honestly...I have always felt much more judged by fellow AP parents for not being AP enough....

post #67 of 110

Why are so many upset with the OP?  She was saying that SHE felt attacked by the person with the 3 month old.  She wasn't attacking someone else's parenting to their face!


As mothers, of course we are going to have opinions about the best way to parent our children.  It's okay to have a different opinion.  It's okay to think that another parent is doing something wrong. 


I think that the trouble comes in when we feel the need to point out other mama's wrongs to the mamas themselves in a superior way.  Or when we talk to like minded people in our community about how horribly so and so is parenting.


But having opinions/judgements about parenting techniques?  How can we discuss these ideas with different types of folks without attacking or getting offended?  

post #68 of 110

I was offended by her insistance that she felt superior to this other mum b/c that mums kid was only 3 months old and her kids was over 17 months old.


Do you not feel that it is disengenious to say "I feel judged by a mum whom I have superior parenting expereince to.?"


I gave her a bit of advice. Dont bother feeling superior. You have alot of parenting left to do.

post #69 of 110
Originally Posted by dovey View Post

Why are so many upset with the OP?  She was saying that SHE felt attacked by the person with the 3 month old.  She wasn't attacking someone else's parenting to their face!


Did you read the thread? She wasn't attacked. She felt judged when another parent stated they did things differently. She sent emails explaining why her way is best.


None of that is appropriate.




post #70 of 110

The OP made several comments indicating that she felt superior to other parents, the very same ones she felt had judged her [who, as it turns out, were only explaining how and why they do it differently, rather than actually attacking her]. She felt judged and attacked by people who seemingly were doing no such thing, then turned around and judged/attacked them behind their backs here and in emails to them.


I agree: inappropriate.


If she had just stated how she felt, rather than repeatedly expressing a sense of superiority, I think the collective response would have been gentler.


I, too, have been judged as much, if not more, by AP moms than by non-AP moms.

post #71 of 110

nm. I was way late on this thread.

Edited by AttunedMama - 6/4/11 at 7:02pm
post #72 of 110


Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
It is a completely unreasonable expectation to put on a child to be perfect so that other people will know that you are OK as a mother. That's just too much pressure.

I just read over this today and was struck once again by how profound this statement is. I feel that others judge me as a mother based on my child, and I am guilty of doing this to myself as well. I am going to put this up on my refridgerator to remind me that my child is the wrong measuring stick for my worth as a mother, both for his sake and for mine.

post #73 of 110
Originally Posted by moonfirefaery View Post


I just read over this today and was struck once again by how profound this statement is. I feel that others judge me as a mother based on my child, and I am guilty of doing this to myself as well. I am going to put this up on my refridgerator to remind me that my child is the wrong measuring stick for my worth as a mother, both for his sake and for mine.

Yes. This. A thousand times.


post #74 of 110
In response to the OP's original question: when friends, family, or other lovely people care to critique the way I parent, I usually go for ome of the following choices: I'm too lazy, I'm weird, or I'm a masochist.

Example: "Shouldn't you wean her already?". "Too much effort. It's easier to just carry on like we are."

"Arn't cloth diapers a PITA?". "I hate shopping more than I hate washing out poop."

"If you just let her cry a few times at night, she will learn to sleep by herself.". "I'm an insomniac anyway. I like the company. Besides, sleep is overrated."

If that fails, I go for humor.

"You should try CIO, it worked great for us.". "Well, I did once. She cried for 10 minutes, but I cried for three hours. Made me look like Night of the Living Dead the next day to boot. Just not worth it for us."

"Doesn't co-sleeping, you know, ruin your sex life?" "Nah, I can't lay down for ten minutes without falling asleep, so any living we do must be done standing up."

I guess I am sort of weird in that I don't know or care if AP is the best way to parent. All I know is it is the best way for me to parent. If my good friend has a different way of doing things that works for her, so be it. As a teacher I can tell you that the vast majority of kids raised with love turn out great, no matter what "method" was used by their families. So there are no "superior" parents or ways of raising kids. Each family has to find a way that works for them so that kids can live, love, grow and learn.
post #75 of 110

Well, rule number one is knowing what you can discuss with whom.  I don't complain about lack of sleep or discuss ways to continue to have a sex life while bedsharing with the baby with those who believe babies belong in their own bedroom in a crib.  ;)  I ask how to de-stink my diapers with other people who CD rather than even mention it to anyone who does not--unless they're interested. Similarly, I don't post much about my AP ways on FB or other places not AP friendly....unless someone's asking and it's a relevant answer. 

I have friends--close friends--who do not know I've had two out of hospital births.  I do not lie.  They're not in town and I just didn't bring it up.

It took me a bit to learn this---I actually learned it on the subject of buying Gerber jars versus baby-led weaning/solids.


Rule number two is I don't argue/debate.  I know why I do what I do and I'm confident I'm doing what's right for us....leads to the ability to easily respond to the school secretary's concern for my unvaccinated children with  "well, it all depends on how you look at it"  (she felt they were in danger from NOT being vaccinated, I'm opposite, and I can tell who's actually interested in more info and who's not.  I choose to expend energy on those who actually want to be informed.)


Rule 3 is....see rule 2.  Know why you do what you do.  Develop the confidence that YOU know what is right for YOUR family.  :)


yeah....at baby #4, this is an easy post.  Back at baby #2 I was right there with you.  :)

post #76 of 110

I finally caught back up with this thread! I hadn't been getting notifications, but just happened to notice that there've been many more responses since I last posted.


Reading through it, I suddenly realized what a positive, healing impact that social worker visit (mentioned in my first post) has had upon my personality -- namely my tendency to judge others and to love, love, love having opportunities to wax eloquent on my parenting and educational philosophies.


I am much less of a bore now. :) Just recently we were at the dentist and the lady who was cleaning dd2's teeth was full of questions once she realized we homeschool (she found out about this due to her own question about school). She has two sons who are the same ages as my two daughters and she just kept asking and asking and asking about whether the girls are tested and yada yada.


I found myself just keeping replies to a polite minimum. Rather than wanting to draw attention or alarm, I felt much more inclined to make no waves and just tell her whatever she wanted to hear. Ditto with the questions I got from our children's minister this past Sunday about whether we use a curriculum and so on.


So maybe this was what it took for me to realize that silence is golden. :)


Another positive effect is that I don't have any really, really close friendships anymore. I'm not sure if it's just because of the visit or because of other changes I've been going through...but I've realized how much time I used to spend with my so-called friends talking badly about other people. My current relationships are not that close and the conversations are therefore more positive and pleasant. Which, I'm discovering, leaves me in a much more pleasant frame of mind.


It's been very interesting to me realize that my prior extreme openness about what I thought and whatever we were doing has led to my current situation, which is actually very positive. So I honestly don't see any reason to regret saying too much to the "wrong" person. What I said has now freed me from that whole complexly icky relationship!


 At this point, my only close relationships are with my husband and girls. I have so much more energy for them now, and I honestly don't care who agrees or disagrees with our lifestyle...or who "would" agree or disagree if they were close enough to see into it.

post #77 of 110

The older my kids get, the less I feel like attachment parenting defines who I am as a parent. The more I feel like all of us parents are in this together, just fumbling along the best we can.

post #78 of 110

I am so glad you posted this, and that there are so many thoughtful responses. I am first-time mama who practices AP, and have felt like I had to defend myself just because my dh and I are doing things different from what the majority of our family and friends did. I'm nervous because we're going back home (Midwest) in a few days, and I know there will be judgement, which I try to block out, but sometimes it is frustrating. We didn't go into parenting thinking "We will practice AP", but rather, a friend recommended Dr. Sears' book, and upon reading, found that his ideas totally encompassed what seemed best and most natural to us. It felt good to have an "expert" outline suggestions that aligned with our beliefs.


The biggest critique I get is from co-sleeping. I told a friend the other day, whose daughter is around my daughter's age and has been sleeping in her own room in a crib since 4 weeks, that our daughter (8 months) has always slept with us, and never in a crib. To which I got no response. I'm sure she is dumbfounded, and probably attributing it to the fact that we live in California (ha! us crazy hippie liberals :) The other one is CIO. For us, it just isn't something we want to do, and I wish people would respect that.


In all honesty, I know what we are doing is best for our daughter and works for us. But if I hear "She needs to learn to sleep on her own in a crib" one more time, I might lose my cool...



post #79 of 110

I'm at work so didn't read all the replies but just wanted to say I have gained a TON of perspective on this through some reading about how our culture judges mothers and motherhood.  A lot of it was specific to working moms but a more general one that I remember is Perfect Madness.  Once you start to dissect exactly how unreasonable the expectations are on parents in general and especially mothers, you don't feel so bad for not being super-mom.  I've also started to realize just how randomly judgmental people are about parenting... I've gotten unsolicited parenting advice from cashiers at the grocery store, bus drivers, a bottle picker hanging around the recycling depot, etc.  Everyone's a critic.


I am very blessed though that my own mom was pretty AP back in the 80s when it wasn't cool and she totally respects what we are doing.  My in-laws have needed a little convincing at times and I don't think they agree with what we're doing but they're laid back about staying out of our business.  I do advocate AP when I have the opportunity but I also understand that my personal choices may not be for everybody.

post #80 of 110

Calicara, back when we used to get together with my extended family for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I got a call after coming home from one such get-together. My mom let me know that they'd all been talking, because they were concerned that my then 9 1/2 month old baby had been so content to sit leaning against me on the floor the whole time. They'd determined that the "problem" was the fact that we did not use a crib or playpen.


Their consensus was that babies "needed" the discomfort of being stuck in a place that they wanted to get out of in order to be sufficiently motivated to learn to crawl, pull up on stuff, and eventually walk.


Never mind the fact that we'd raised, and were/are still raising, dd1 in the same attached way that we were/are raising dd2, and dd1 was taking her first independent steps at 9 1/2 months! No one seemed to remember that!


Well, needless to say, we didn't start sticking dd2 into undersirable locations in order to make her "mad" enough to develop. We simply didn't see her uniqueness as a problem!


We just kept lovin' her and responding to her communications, and she was walking independently by around 14 1/2 months.


Though I was really irritated by my relatives' comments at the time, I'm now able to laugh at the silly reasoning that some folks will use to try to get you to do whatever they want you to do!

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