Originally Posted by meemee
i donot hate labels, but i do dislike them.
Originally Posted by anj_rn
I definitely feel the same way. I do not like the labels. We did what works for our family, not because of a label, but because of how we felt on different issues and what worked for each child. Our parenting style evolved over the years, and will continue to change. When asked about it, I say we did _______, because that is what worked best for us. You have to find what works best for you.
Yes, I think this may be part of it for me too.
Originally Posted by tanyato
This is me all the way. I remember being really young and getting Harry Potter for my birthday - NO ONE had heard of it, the second book wasn't even out yet. Anyways, I read it, loved it. A couple years later, it became HUGELY popular and I immediately lost interest. Even though I really enjoyed the books. I'm sure that's quite normal behavior, but it makes me laugh that I was so adamantly opposed to liking something popular. Fast forward several years and I'm pregnant with my first child. I find a Mothering magazine at he library, read it, loved it. It totally resonated with me. My last month or so of pregnancy I perused this website often and heard the term AP being used. Immediately after DS was born, I could tell that my natural parenting style was fairly AP. BUT, I REFUSE to read Dr. Sears book(s) because I truly wanted to mother the way my heart told me too. Also, I could then feign ignorance if someone questioned me about the way I parent (have you read such and such? Do you follow this method? Etc.). Wouldn't want people to think I'm doing something just because it's popular now would I? Haha. Anyways, I'm rambling...basically what I'm trying to say is that I can relate.
Ha, ha, ha!! I'm actually the opposite of you, Peggy and a few others in this respect. I really like to fit in. Although I feel like "AP" (or whatever we want to call it) is becoming more popular, it's still almost always presented to me as fairly alternative -- and often proudly so. Which is good, I guess...but I don't like to be perceived as this radical person. But like you, I also don't really read Dr. Sears. His books haven't resonated all that well with me. But I do like parenting books quite a lot. I feel like the good ones are a sort of philosophical journey.
Originally Posted by rubidoux
Even now, when I bring it up in mixed company, there's always someone who "admits" to it like it's something to be ashamed of.
YES!! I'm not sure if I said this upthread or not but this has been very eye opening for me. I feel like many "mainstream" parents are closet "AP"ers. In other words, we're all the same if we could just take away the labels.
Originally Posted by Peggy O'Mara
I wonder where these labels really come from. Attachment Parenting started as an organization to teach about the importance of the first three to five years of life. The media picked up the term and is mostly the place where it becomes divisive. We parents use it sometimes to introduce ourselves to others, but it's gotten to be such a charged term. And, I'll bet that most parents are like us and find themselves attracted to these things because they work not because they are popular or cool.
I wonder too! I'm going to do a little research on the origin of the term. Agreed that most parents are doing these things because they work, and because they feel right, and because their babies love it. ....and, yea, that there are probably a lot out there doing this things who have never heard of "AP". I actually know quite a few of these parents. :-)
Originally Posted by queenjane
I'm going to be the lone voice of dissent here i guess.
I think labels serve a purpose. The building where my sons go to preschool has a parenting group each week....an API (attachment parenting international) group. I *immediately* from that label knew the "flavor" or focus of the group and the types of moms i'd LIKELY find there. When you're a mom looking for a group to meet certain needs of yours, it HELPS to know what you're getting into. While AP might seem maintream now, when my first was a baby (he'll be 16 in October) it wasnt as popular (though by no means rare)....if you're an AP parent, you might not want to sit through several playgroups hearing other moms telling you really mainstream stuff (early solids, or let them cry, or punitive discipline) before finding "your people"...you are more LIKELY to find what you're looking for in a group that has a pretty specific purpose (that is, supporting attachment parenting.) Its kind of like...sure moms of multiples can have friends who only have singletons but the reason they often go to MoMs groups is because they can immediately gel over twin issues with other moms who really KNOW...does that mean every single thing will be in common?? No of course not. But its nice not to have to constantly defend your choices and be surrounded by moms who "get it" and who will support you in what you're trying to do.
That being said, of course AP moms can also have a great time with moms who dont necessarily share their ideals. And you wont always get "crap" at regular playgroups. It just depends. It also depends on your area...in some areas a more "natural living" or "mindful parenting" bent is the NORM (for example cry it out or formula feeding or spanking might be rare)...in other places, not so much. A mom might really NEED that support.
I get not wanting to label yourself, but i think NOT labeling yourself to prove a point is also kind of silly in a way. How is it any different to say you're into "natural family living" or "mindful parenting"? Those are labels too (or "descriptions" if thats more palatable)...in fact when my oldest was a baby, i would NOT describe myself as NFL...we only cloth diapered briefly, werent really into natural/whole foods, didnt recyle or be really that environmentally aware, etc. I was happy to buy him plastic toys and let him watch tv. And as he got older i didnt feel AP really applied and felt more comfortable with mindful parenting a term used a lot in our Radical Unschooling circles. Now, with my three other kids, i dont feel like any of that, even though i bottlenursed (they were adopted) and coslept etc etc. Parenting can change over time. But if i meet someone and she starts talking about AP i kinda know where she is coming from. Not 100 percent but there is a good chance she wont be shocked at a one yr old nursing or tsk tsk about a toddler in a parents bed.
At this point in my life though, i really dont care what other people think of my parenting so meeting parents who share most of my views isnt that important. I have my adoption mom friends i talk to online to help with those issues, and other than that dont really feel the need to commune with other parents or seek support for other parenting issues.
Yes, all good points. For the record, I didn't post to complain about how others use the term -- it's more about how from time to time I feel I should/could/"need" to use it and I don't like doing it. Because it's not a term I personally love, yk? So, if I were to be inclined to join and "AP" group because I want to find link-minded mamas, I feel a bit of a fraud.
For labels that we personally prefer -- I guess I'm more inclined to use "Unconditional Parenting". Though, I do like Peggy's use of the term "Authentic Parent" (perhaps on another thread).
Originally Posted by MrsGregory
I don't have a problem with labels as such; as a previous poster said, labels kind of let you know what "flavor" of folks you're likely to find in a particular group. But I haven't found a group or label that really applies to me as of yet, and being a "joiner", I worry about this more than I should. I would prefer to have a niche in which I fit nicely.
Maybe that's sad, but it's me.
Me too! More than anything, I find I just migrate to parents that I happen to like - on a personal and instinctual level. From there any parenting differences are fairly easy to sort.
Originally Posted by MarineWife
get over it. why are so attached to resenting a label that is ultimately irrelevant to you? i can understand if it was an incorrect label that created confusion about who you are, but you say it fits you. so, why care so much what anyone else calls it?
Was this for me? You can read above to get a better idea of where I'm coming from...but this is more of a philosophical discussion between mamas...not meant to be a dig on others. Sorry if it came off that way.
Originally Posted by BubbleMa
I don't like the term "attachment parenting" either. It's just parenting.
Originally Posted by rightkindofme
I don't use the term anymore because when I tried to be involved with local "AP" groups I found that people told me off. They were hostile and judgmental and nasty. It was an incredibly unpleasant experience and these women are in the local home schooling community as well. The joy will never end. I have mental health issues. I deal with it as best I can. I avoid "AP groups" because the people there are far more likely to start grilling me to find out if the food I fed my kid is "good enough". The folks there are far more likely to tell me that they don't want to know me any more if I have a panic attack in public.
How those mamas treated you doesn't sound very gentle or "AP" to me. I can totally see why you would feel put off. Maybe that's part of it for me too... I'm pretty thick skinned and I have a good support network already (but I'm super social and can always fit in a few more mama friends!). But, I don't think "AP" should be about that. If it's a model to live by and raise our kids by, it should be one that is loving and supportive. Hugs to you too mama!!
Originally Posted by ImogenSkye
I know what you mean. For me, the attachment part has been so natural that it doesn't require effort. BUT it's the letting go that does. I had to learn strategies for relaxing, allowing, opening up, and being in the flow, which I know all falls under the AP umbrella, but for me, being in the NOW, letting go, and breathing ( a lot a lot) characterize my mothering-improvement journey more than anything else.
I doubt "Letting Go Parenting" is a better label though, lol. ;)
Ha, ha, ha!! Though I never could have admitted it a the time, I think what you're describing was me when my first was young. I was HYPER-attached! I used to feel like the using the sling too much was too unattached because one could go about their day without paying much attention to the baby. How crazy!! Fast forward a few years and my oldest is in public school and I've not a new LO at home...and it's so much easier the second go round. I can relate, mama!!
Originally Posted by queenjane
I guess. But...i dunno, its interesting to me that so many people are anti-label, when labeling is one good way to find your "tribe"...and we are all here at Mothering presumably because we feel the moms here are more like us than a more mainstream parenting site. AP *isnt* "just parenting" if you live in an area where "just parenting" usually involves lots of non-AP stuff. And that can be hard for moms who really feel they need support in their choices or who just dont want to deal with all that stuff.
Originally Posted by queenjane
Ultimately i think most parents have more in common than they do differences.
Originally Posted by rightkindofme
This is why I think of myself as a parent and not an AP person. Or whatever awkward language is supposed to go with that.
I don't have more overall in common with other extended tandem nursing moms. They think I am an offensive freak. I come to mdc because there alllllll kinds of people here. Many who do not identify as "AP" and they give level headed advice. Works for me.
Yea, this is a big point for me. I have had couple MDC meet-ups, including a pretty large one in my home. It was super fun but the spectrum of all of us MDC mamas (and pappas) and what all of this means to them was striking. We had a few for whom this meant being super intentional as a family, some for whom it meant living very far outside the cultural norms, some who needed support for a child with special needs, some who wanted to be super child-centric and, yes, some who were fairly dogmatic about what it meant to be "AP". And, I am still IRL friends with a couple of those folks!
Originally Posted by Mommel
This thread got me thinking... the only reason I don't identify with the AP label is that it conjures up an entire package of parenting tools, not all of which I subscribe to, despite fitting most of the criteria. It makes me uncomfortable to be associated with the parts of the AP picture that I judge as too (fill in your own judgy adjective here)... because I'm afraid I'll be judged as such. That's just me, I guess. The other thing is that I use the AP label to find other like-minded mamas (whether online or in person), but when I refuse to embrace it for myself (and I refuse to do so quite often) I'm denying other mamas the ability to find me. Is that fair? Probably not. I'm an introvert and I don't really want other people to find me anyway, but that's pretty selfish of me as far as I can tell. I think what I'm getting at is that my reticence to label myself an AP parent is based in my own judgment of certain things that come along with the label and my corresponding fear that I'll be judged. When I am able to let go of that judgment, I'll be better able to embrace the label of AP, as imperfect as it is to describe my parenting style... and then I'll be better able to reap the benefits of that label, such as those mentioned by PPs, namely connecting with and being a part of a really decent, supportive, and diverse community. Easier said than done, but I'm working on it.
VERY thought provoking, Mommel!!
Originally Posted by MichelleZB
Agreed! I kind of don't like doing stuff that seems like it should have a (TM) after it! Attachment Parenting (TM).
Ha!! Another thing to consider, for sure.