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Now honestly, How come AP'ing is soooo hard?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I love love love they way I parent and would never change it for the world but why is it so darn hard????? It seems I'm getting really jealous of mainstreamers way too often nowadays. Maybe I'm just having a bad day. But I'm just flat out exhausted with my 20 month old daughter having to nurse to sleep every time she's tired, getting up every fews hours in the night with her wanting to eat, not getting a night out worrying if she will wake and scream her head off, and getting pushed off the bed by my 4 year old who wants to snuggle real close all night while my daugther nurses. The foot of the bed is just not so cozy anymore!!!!

I also feel like I'm overreacting when I go running to my kids whenever they cry, maybe thats why they are always crying.

The sling was fun while it lasted but my daughter is way too busy for it anymore, now she wants to walk everywhere because I never *trained* her to a stroller. Not to mention I put my neck out wearing it too much.

Washing diapers every other day, ackkk, we won't go there. There are wet poopy diapers in every bathroom that I can't seem to get down to the laundry room. Its real fun when she's sick too, as I'm sure you all know.

Worrying about my unvaxed kids everyday, know that's a tough one. I wish I didn't know so much from both sides of the fence.

Ok, lay it on me, am I just a whiner or does any other lonely sole out there come even remotely close to these feelings???????? Now is it just my kids who are so high maintenaince or is it AP'ing? Those mainstream momma's who don't have to deal with their kids are looking mighting tempting.

post #2 of 24
I often think the same thing!! Although I didn't consider it hard until my VERY mainstream colleague told me it's only harder for me because of my choices. Perhaps that's true. I always wondered if it was because of my AP choices that my kids want me all the time, etc. or if it is just their personalities. Or maybe a combination too...
post #3 of 24
I think that if you follow AP'ing blindly and do everything because you "HAVE TO" its very hard. I had to pick the things that were right for me and my family.

For me, I felt it was important to BF, but realized that I would need to supplement once a day with a bottle of expressed milk, in order to be able to do this and not go crazy.

I knew I was just too damn lazy to use cloth diapers given that I did not feel strongly that there was a huge downside to disposables.

I felt that GD is the only moral way to raise a child, even if other methods might be easier.

I researched Vax'ing and decided that was right for my family.

I wanted my kids to learn to sleep on their own because I felt that this would be best for them in the long run (because of importance of sleep, not because of "independance")

So, becuase I made choice I felt were best for my kids and for me and DH, I do not find what I do hard. IMHO, anything that makes a loving parent absolutely miserable is unlikely to be good for a child because a child deserves a parent who is not miserable.

Maybe you should think about what part of AP'ing are really so important you are willing to sacrafice (and I think parents do need to make some sacrafices.) and what parts are not so important and where your happiness should prevail.
post #4 of 24
I don't think that it is AP that is hard - I think it is AP in our isolated culture. We are not meant to be mothering alone all day, 5 days a week. We are meant to be surrounded by other moms and kids and family members for support and backup. The rare times that I have had a day with another AP mom and babe, and we just hung out and watched the kids and fixed meals and picked up and nursed and ran errands, it was not only easy, but fun! But it is soooo hard being by myself all day every day. Ds is a dream, but it is demanding being so on all the time. I too am sometimes jealous of moms whose babies just sit in the stroller all day, sleep all night, never ask to nurse, etc. But it is shortlived. I would still do what I am doing all over again, without a doubt. I just wish I had more of a mom network around me. Not just playdates, but day to day pals - shopping, cooking, cleaning, playing, etc. It makes such a huge difference.
post #5 of 24
Originally posted by oceanbaby
I don't think that it is AP that is hard - I think it is AP in our isolated culture. We are not meant to be mothering alone all day, 5 days a week. We are meant to be surrounded by other moms and kids and family members for support and backup.
AMEN, Oceanbaby!!! You put my thoughts into words!
post #6 of 24
Actually, I think AP is easy and what first attracted me to it was pure laziness, lol.

Cosleeping rocks. I can't imagine being woken up by the cries of a baby coming from a crib, dragging myself out of a warm bed...my cosleeping daugther barely even grunts at night when she wants to nurse, and I wake only enough to roll over and offer my breast, then I'm back to sleep. I sleep great and my DD sleeps about 12 hours every night. Nightnursing is a total nonissue.

And don't even get me started on bottles and formula. If my kid had to rely on me getting THAT act together she'd starve, lol. BFing is by far the easiest most convenient part of parenting ever, lol!

I have never done CIO and always either nursed her or rocked her to sleep. As a newborn, it could take a while but as she got older it was less and less difficult. Now getting her to nap is almost always an easy task. I've never done anything to "help" her, she just developed that ability on her own. She falls asleep in the car, in the stroller, or just lying in my lap nursing (like right now, lol).

Slinging a baby was always easier to me than lugging a stroller around everywhere we went, navigating through narrow shop aisles, or having to find the elevator. We finally got a stroller when she was 8 months old, and she LOVES it. She squeals with delight, rocking back and forth ("faster, faster!") and waving her arms in the air. People crack up when they see her. So the idea that you have to "train" a kid to get used to a stroller is bizarre to me. Chances are your kid woulda hated it any time.

I never ever let my DD cry alone, without hugs, even if I can't help her stop crying, she knows I'm there. She rarely cries, so there goes the theory that you can make a kid a "crybaby" by always responding to their cries. Chances are your kid is just that sort of personality and needs the attention more. Imagine what damage would be done if you *didn't*. Think it's easier? Sure maybe now, but what about the years of therapy they'll pay for later!

Getting angry when your kid frustrates you is a waste of energy, so I really try not to go there (not that it's an issue when DD is only 10 mos old). Gentle discipline helps me every day to discover things about myself and to become a better person. How could that not be a good thing?

There is only one time that I sometimes sigh, and that's if DD is goign through a fussy phase (i.e teething, sick) and I want to put her down for a nap, I will sometimes lie next to her and nurse until she unlatches, and on those days it can take up to 10 minutes, which really is NOTHING, but it seems alot. And I think "wow, if I had a pacifier I'd be outta here already". But I don't want to use paci's and this forces me to relax for 10 minutes and breathe and just watch DD's beautiful face. So it's a Good Thing too!

[we need a cheerleader smilie, could I BE more perky? lol!]
post #7 of 24
I'm with Piglet - I was drawn to AP out of laziness.

Plus, my parents and DH's parents were AP more or less.

But I think the issue is that when we AP, the idea is that we do what comes naturally. If it seems un-natural to you, consider changing your actions.

For example, DH and I do NOT go running every time the kids cry or fall or whatever. We try not to react. We have learned that kids pick up an impressive amount of emotion off of adults, and if we act all shocked and scared when they trip, they will invariably start wailing; chances are if we smile and help them up (or wait for them to help themselves up) they'll go right on playing. Of course, if they do get upset we'll come; but just by letting them decide on their own whether to be upset or not, we eliminate a LOT of crying for them and effort for us.

I can't even imagine CIO or formula; way too much work. Why bother when we can just nurse to sleep? Why stay awake listening to cries when I can nurse him for a couple of minutes, never really waking up myself?

If AP was harder, I'm not entirely sure I'd do what I'm doing.

Oh, and one of the reasons we cloth diaper is because I'm too distracted to keep a supply of disposables around. I mean, that is LAZY. We even have a diaper pail exactly the same size as the washing machine, so that when I can't jam another diaper in there I know to dump the diapers in the washer. (Little tip: keep small bags in the bathrooms, then collect when wash-time is near)

I am an extraordinarily busy person and one of the largest problems that I have is impatience. I am very impatient. I have found that it helps to be engaged in something. That means being an active participant in my childrens' playing, or when nursing, to stave off impatience and frustration I read a book. If you let yourself be involved, and let yourself forget about things you "have" to do (not-a-one of them as important as your kids), it is a lot easier to be caring towards your kids.

My son is 17 months old and until recently, nursed to sleep EVERY time he slept (every nap, every night, etc). He was so into nursing that fall semester, I had to work my schedule around seeing him every 2-3 hours. DH and I hardly did ANYTHING because DS needed me so often. But this past semester I've had a class that ended at 12:30 and I would get home at 1, well past his usual naptime. At first he held out for me, but DH eventually started laying down with him, quietly, and looking around, talking quietly, maybe reading a book, and now DS sleeps peacefully and easily for DH. It is a beautiful thing to come home to DH napping with the kids; so peaceful (and hey, I get time to make myself lunch, too). It took a while for DH and DS to work themselves out, but now DS doesn't need to nurse to sleep every time anymore; DH and I even went out to a movie last night (a 10:00 showing) and DS fell asleep for my dad no problem and slept until we got back.

I am thinking that sleep issues seem to be a big problem for you guys. Any chance your 4yo would sleep in a bed next to yours instead, or maybe would be cuddled to sleep and then OK for most of the night on his own? I know my daughter (3yo) likes being cuddled to sleep, but after that, she's just fine on her own for the rest of the night most nights. And any chance there is someone your 20mo is attached to who might be willing to try spending some time with her and learning to get her to sleep without you? I know this was instrumental with both our kids, because it really freed DH and I up. Not that I mind nursing kids to sleep; but it is nice to go out without worrying about it every now and then.
post #8 of 24
I don't know from experience, but I believe that as your kid gets older you will reap the benefits.

for us, co-sleeping and breatsfeeding have made life so simple. and our dd is not in the slightest a big cryer and i think al the baby wearing had something to do with it.

also, I think parenting is never "easy" but the grass is often greener, if you know what I mean.
post #9 of 24
I just have to throw in my two cents, and I just remember that 20 month time frame as being rather difficult and I was pulling my hair out some days. By the time she was about 2.5, things were much better.

I understand that CDing isn't an official tenet of AP, but I did use cloth diapers for about two years, and I enjoyed it, but there were times when we used disposables for convenience, and then I ended up switching to disposables after all the electricity concerns in So CA, and my husband's constant nagging. Although tonight my daughter wore cloth to bed for her nighttime diaper because we are out of disposables. I agree with Nikirj about it being a pain to remember to buy disposables and it seemed like every time we turned around it was time to buy another pack.

As far as the actual attachment goes, that was where I had the harder time. It was hard explaining to people why I couldn't leave her, and sometimes that caused stress in my life. Plus I would see these happy children who went to daycare, and then my rather fussy child who spent all her time with me and I'd start to second guess myself. I felt like I was spending all this time with her, but I didn't feel like we were actually bonding, and I was worried that I just wasn't doing things right. I remember feeling that she only wanted me for the boob, and when we'd lie down to nurse, she'd grab strongly at the breast while kicking as far away from me as possible. I'd tell her, "Sorry, mom is attached to the breasts, if I could take it off and let you have it, I would." :LOL

But it is cool now that she is 4 even though there are different kinds of tantrums starting up. I hear moms talking about all their kids learn in preschool, and I realize that wow, my child knows a lot of this stuff without me consciously teaching her. And today she told me that wanted me to hold her, and sometimes when I want to get a little distance between us, she'll tell me she wants to be near me, "Because I like you!" It is so cool that she really likes me and wants to spend time with me because for awhile I felt like we were going through the motions and there was some of that familiarity breeds contempt thing going on. When she was younger, she had to be constantly near me and didn't even like to stay alone with dad much, but it was hard just to sit and cuddle her because she didn't want that. Now she is fine with me leaving her for periods, and will even ask for her "friend" (the babysitter) to come and stay with her and "you and daddy go to a movie" but when I am with her she actually seems to like me.

Oops, sorry to ramble on.
post #10 of 24
I think AP is harder in our *culture* because our culture is rather hostile against many AP concepts.

I think that AP is actually easier in the end. (many mainstream things that *seem* easier are actually quick fixes that will reap negative consequences later on.)

Nursing (easier than bottlefeeding in the end but you need to learn how to breastfeed and many babies need to learn how to nurse)

Cosleeping (easier for me but you might feel trapped having a toddler in bed with you I don't mind a cosleeping toddler.)

Cloth diapers (harder!!! but back in the day everyone washed diapers, think of them like you would the dishes. What if it was more the standard for people to use paper plates everyday. Using and washing dishes would be more tedious. If you have the $$$ you might want to check out those all in one diapers or use a *service*)

vax (you worry if you do you worry if you don't but you will worry nontheless.)

Carrying. If the toddler was in a stroller likely he'd be learning how to escape the stroller. It's a real tossup the stroller-toddler just *looks* easier.

Every once in awhile you and your child move through a particularly difficult time, they are usually mercifully short-lived.

Debra Baker
post #11 of 24
Another lazy parent here.

Breastfeeding and co-sleeping are just so easy. Sure it would have been nice if they'd learned to fall asleep on their own earlier, but it would have been work to get them to that place. And they do eventually wean, even if you let them do it on their own. My daughters are 4 and 6, and my nursing days are over.

I think parenting can be hard for everyone, no matter what methods one uses, and some children are harder to parent than others.

I do recommend reading the book The Continuum Concept . It really helped me to become more relaxed about my children and also helped us to become family-centered as opposed to child-centered.
post #12 of 24
Oh, I just wanted to add that it seemed like my friends who used disposables were always running out at inopportune times and having to make mad dashes to the store before they closed.

I always liked knowing my diapers were in my house and only a wash away. I think it really helped that I used only prefolds and had a very simple storage system (I basically pulled them out of the dryer into the basket I stored them in).
post #13 of 24
I don't think AP is always the easiest way to parent, but I have a feeling it can be a lot more rewarding.

Piglet, with all due respect, nightime parenting has been VERY difficult for me w/ ds#2. There are nights when a bottle or two seems ever so appealing to me.

I don't think that it is AP that is hard - I think it is AP in our isolated culture
ITA oceanbaby.

When I tell a family member or a friend how worn out I am from nightime parenting, they think I am crazy for the behaviors that I "put up with". I just don't bother telling anyone about it anymore.

I find gentle discipline the most challenging aspect of mothering right now. It's hard to spend the time working on a situation with ds#1 when ds#2 is trying to figure out how he can climb the furniture.:
post #14 of 24
Hmmm. Perhaps the word "hard" is too subjective. I think it *is* hard. Of course it's easier to roll over and nurse. I personally have never suffered from lack of sleep because I nurse and co-sleep. (And although nursing is "natural," I'd be willing to bet that a lot of mamas didn't find it an easy road.)

For me it's hard because it's very physically demanding. I carry, I respond, I get no "me" time, my dh gets even less "me" time . It's hard to avoid sugar at other kids' homes (OK, this may not be totally AP, but is part of my overall parenting practice.). It's hard for me to not turn on a video or the TV for my preschooler when I need to feed the baby-- but I *choose* not to. Therefore I have to think of ways to keep her occupied.

Seems like you can find examples of "laziness" on both AP and mainstream sides (for example, CIO is probably easier for some folks than nurturing a child for however long it takes).

I also think it's hard because I think about my parenting choices. Many mainstream parents just do what everyone else-- or the TV-- tells them to do. THAT'S easy. Concentrating on making as many good choices as possible takes energy. My colleague who says I make it hard on myself has it right. Yes, I do in some ways. And I choose to.

Let's face it... parenting isn't easy in general!!!!
post #15 of 24
I agree that many "AP" things seem easier to me and that it would be eaiser if we had more support.

I also wanted to point you to these two threadsnot a poster child for ap
Is it our fault as parents...

Because most of all I parent like this- hard or easy- because it is the way I can go to sleep with myself at night (with the added benefit that I really do think it will pay off in the long run.)
post #16 of 24
It may seem hard now (and I do think that each parent's experience is different, so while AP might seem like a breeze to some, others may find it exhausting), but keep in mind that mainstream parents are worn out by their toddlers, too. I don't know if it's really AP - toddlers are tough!

Of course, if you were the type of parent to plop the kid in front of the tv for two hours, confine her to a stroller so you can have a leisurely afternoon at the mall, etc., it might seem easier, but the truth is, it really pays off when the child gets older. Trust me. My dd is 4 1/2 and even though she is challenging in her own ways, it is very easy to be her parent because she is secure, comfortable, well-behaved child. I can bring her anywhere and she will have a good time, and I believe this is because she is so secure in her attachment to me and her dad that she has no fear of new situations.. She gets along beautifully with people of all ages, because she has been treated kindly and respectfully by us. When she does things that are wrong, she truly feels badly about it and learns from the experience, because we have always reasoned with her rather than punishing or chastising her.

Hang in there...you'll be very, very proud and pleased in a year or two!
post #17 of 24
I find that for myself, the degree if difficulty in my parenting style is directly related to the amount of sleep I have gotten and how long I have been home alone with DD!!

I am so blessed to have a great AP group here in my town, and we have play group twice a week, plus there are several homeschooling mom's who are happy to have adult company during the day, so when I get stressed I can go somewhere to talk to other mom's who share my experiences.

And yes, nursing all night is tough, and being kicked in the head while doing it is even tougher. Not leaving DD to CIO, when all I want to do is cry too is hard sometimes. Not being able to go out with DH alone is hard sometimes. But I just keep reminding myself, she's only little for a little while. And when she's bigger, it will be worth it!
post #18 of 24
After reading Piglet's post, my thought is that "hard" vs. "easy" has much more to do with the child and his/her temperment than with AP. Nightwaking has been a huge issue for us--ds (co-sleeping) is finally down to waking only once or not at all during the night, but man, it's been a long journey to get there. There have been moments when I've thought how easy it would be to be able to leave him in a crib and shut the door. Yet I agree with the poster who said that what might seem "easy" now will reap negative consequences down the road, so I've stuck to my determination to never CIO despite the jeers of other people.

(Oh, and Piglet--to make you feel better--just because they take a binky doesn't mean they'll let you leave!)

My ds is just a litle more intense, and despite AP, he cries (and now tantrums). I thought AP'd babies were supposed to cry less? But I've realized that it's not AP making him "clingy" or "demanding"--it's just his personality. He needs more. He cries while rocking in my arms every night going to sleep and there are nights that it's really hard. But it's not AP--it's him, and I'm trying to honor his strong emotions.

Now the one thing I will say about AP is that bf makes everything easier. I am no longer able to bf him after trying to induce lactation (he's adopted), and every single day I wonder how on earth people could possible consider bottlefeeding to be convenient. I am convinced that life would be so much easier if I could just nurse him whenever and wherever! Alot of our nightwaking woes would be solved. No matter how fast you can fix a bottle, crying escalates during that time.

I also think that every parent has their own tolerance level for certain things, and our own perceptions affect whether we view something as easy or hard. And I also agree with whoever said that easy and rewarding aren't necessarily the same thing. My sil could never understand why I "put up" with everything I did trying to get ds to nurse, but I couldn't understand how she could bear to miss out on all those sweet moments. It was all a matter of perspective. She saw a big hassle, and I saw beauty and tenderness.
post #19 of 24
I just realized that in my "enthusiasm" for AP, I may have seemed a bit dismissive of parents who don't have it so easy. I absolutely agree that the child's inborn temperament has alot to do with it. My DD is "easy" and perhaps would have taken to CIO and cribsleeping, etc without much outward fuss, but I believe that it would have quashed her natural spirit. For those with high needs children, it can seem that AP is really tough work compared to parenting practices you might not be comfortable with. But I just try to imagine the damage to the spirit of a high needs child that is possible with neglectful parenting and I think these are the children who need AP the most. I have nothing but respect for you mamas who perservere when it is truly difficult for you.

Hugs to the OP, too!
post #20 of 24
I agree with the poster who said that twenty months is a difficult age. APing a toddler isn't as obvious as APing an infant. What constitutes CIO? Is tantruming normal? Is nightweaning an option? Should a toddler (and, in your case) a preschooler learn some bed manners? Does the way we parent change anything other than our relationship with our children? Is it all innate temperament?

Dodo, whose sweet, easygoing baby grew into an intense, manic tot
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