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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i've been reading "the vital touch," which i saw recommended somewhere on MDC. great book. very enlightening. also a bit depressing.

depressing b/c it recounts how *most of the world* has societies where mothers raise their children together with other mothers. babies are held nearly constantly (there's always someone there to hold your baby when you need a break), and the women not only work at child rearing, but also work at other jobs, such as harvesting the fields, etc. in other words, there is variety and companionship in their lives.

i have two kids, a daughter who is almost 4 years old and a son who is almost 6 months old. i also have a husband who is more "traditional" minded than most young men are today (my husband is older than me by 18 years).

i am not a "housekeeper" type. i struggle to get the motivation to do household chores. i *am* a natural mom. i put 85-90 percent of my daily efforts into being there for my kids in every way. out of necessity, i probably give 10 percent effort or so into household tasks that really need done: laundry, cooking, dishwasher, sometimes vacuuming, etc. a lot of more time consuming tasks (i.e., going through clothes to give away, organizing, etc.) have fallen by the wayside since the new baby arrived. i get my maybe 5 percent of "me time" when everyone else goes to sleep for the night... but by then i am too tired to do much more than sit in the recliner with my feet up, have something to eat, watch a little TV and look at the computer.

in reading "the vital touch" i can see how babies come into the world expecting to be held, and also how important it is to physically connect with all of your kids. to this end, i try to minimize the amount of time my son is in his swing or bouncy seat. maybe an hour a day at most. the times when i need two hands and the moby wrap isn't convenient. cooking dinner, unloading the dishwasher... those things go much much faster sans baby.

HOW DO OTHER PEOPLE DO IT? how do attachment parents do it?? i can see how some other what they call "mainstream moms" do it-- they leave their babies in the bucket car seat almost all day. how do AP parents of more than one get anything done while holding a baby all day?

and finally, where do you draw the line between trying to do the very best for your chlidren (often on your own as a SAHM in our U.S. society), and making daily choices to put other things first... crying baby but need to finish making dinner for husband...
 

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Well, for me, being AP was really a priority. I'm not much into labels, but after reading Dr. Sears, I felt that seemed like a natural way to parent.

Before I had a baby, I was really career oriented, but not in a "I never want children" sort of way, if there even is such a thing. It was more a "I'll build this career because I like the job, the benefits, the money, the independence, and the activity of working in a field I think is important" but then I'll have kids and I'll be in a different season of life for a while.

So, anyway, I had a job where long hours, travel, and meetings at night were sort of the package. And I knew all along - years before having a baby - that AP and particularly breastfeeding probably wouldn't work so well with the type of job/career I had. Maybe some women could do it, but I knew my limits.

So, I saved, saved, saved for years, years, years, years. It was my "I'm going to extend breastfeed and wear my baby" fund.


And that is what I did. Despite DH's protests, and questions, he sort of went along with it. He never really agreed or disagreed. He just feels that he doesn't want to be the family's breadwinner ever and that I have to work (for many reasons, some fair, some unfair). Anyway, DH sort of agreed that if I saved up I could take off a few years. He refused to discuss it beyond that and he would never put an amount of time on it. Deep down, he hoped I'd return to work after my maternity leave. DH even went so far as to say he wasn't breastfed when he was a baby by his own mom so it wasn't like it was life or death.

So, that's my story. I stayed home for the lenth of time I breastfed.
And that was for 2.5 years, something I'm very proud of.

I wore my baby a lot. I did use a swing and an exersaucer, but I held my baby most of the time, co-slept for the first year, basically, and sometimes after that, and I used a sling and other carriers pretty much the first two years.

I feel internal conflict still to this day with an older child, but I think it has more to do with different parenting goals and life goals than DH, and also because I lack a village (family) to help raise my child in a loving environment. But I'm doing the best I can and I do think my child benefits now economically and in other ways because I work.

But for the breastfeeding and NINO (nine in, nine out) period, I felt it was vitally important to be an attached parent.

And for the record, politically, that is what I support: increasing national paternity / maternity leave allowances for 12 months so that breastfeeding and attached parenting can be supported to the utmost. I feel every parent should have job protection for 12 months (not the measeley 3 we now have) after having a baby or adopting.
 

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Well, I think if the baby is happy in his bouncy seat it's ok for him to be there. I get stuff done during naps or when my 2 are playing happily (DD3.5 and DD1.5) I don't get a lot done but it's enough. In a situation where the baby is crying and you're making your DH's dinner, I'd give either the baby or the dinner prep to DH. If I have a big job to do I do it when DH is around so he can look after the kids.

We have also had a cleaner in the past--it's fabulous, all you have to do is keep the place tidy and the cleaner does all the scrubby stuff.
 

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My kids all had tummy time on a quilt on the floor, or in the play yard. They also had swing time, and exersaucer time.

No, they were not there ALL day long. They were in there at different times during the day. I only had a sling with #3 and I did use it, but not all day.

There is no way I would have been able to cope with holding a child all day long and all night long. I believe that while it is the right thing to do to hold and love on your child, that it is okay to put the child down so you can use the restroom, wash up, or eat a meal, or even get a little housework or laundry done.

I believe in a lot of the priniciples of AP, but I also believe that Mom needs to care for herself too, and that a child will not die if they cry for a few minutes while Mom tends to her needs. Eating, showering, and using the restroom are needs. Even doing some housework can be a need, if things are really dirty and and dishes are piling up. That draws bugs and is just nasty. However, a little clutter is not always a bad thing.
 

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Part of it is that I have low standards.


I laugh, but I'm sorta serious, too. If my house is vacuumed once a week, that's considered "really clean." Likewise, we use towels for a whole week, I don't dust until I can *see* that it needs dusting, and my house will never be in a magazine.

My kids are very good sleepers, which really helps. They have both slept through the night by 11 months old (mostly). They take naps. My 3.5 year old still takes naps 5 days a week. This gives me some natural down time in my day. They go to bed between 7 and 7:30, as well. They just need a lot of sleep.

I get up before them, to give myself some quiet time to think. This makes a *huge* difference in my day.

Also, I really like to cook. In a "it's very relaxing and soothing" sort of way. When I don't have helpers. LOL. So, during naptime or when my dh is home or after bedtime, I go in the kitchen, and the stress of the day just melts as I chop and stir and mix and pour. It's like magic. So, for me, it's really helpful that I have a hobby that is relaxing, and yet, it fills a need of the day, too. That's not to say I don't have days when I hate the kitchen and we eat take-out. I do, of course. But, for the most part, I enjoy cooking.

And, I have "quitting time". For me, it's 8:00. My kids are in bed by 7:30, so that gives me time to finish a chore (usually cleaning the kitchen). And, then, I'm done. No other chores. I just sit and talk to dh and watch TV or read or whatever. It's nice to know that I'm off (except for little people needs, of course), but mostly, I'm off.
 

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Part of it is that I have low standards.


I laugh, but I'm sorta serious, too. If my house is vacuumed once a week, that's considered "really clean." Likewise, we use towels for a whole week, I don't dust until I can *see* that it needs dusting, and my house will never be in a magazine.

QUOTE]

Wow, once a week, I am impressed! Maybe once a month here, lol!
 

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I don't have time to write much right now, but I can say that with both my kids I've felt the same way until I could put them on my back. Once I could wear them on my back, life got a lot easier. DS2 (7 mos) spends a good part of his day on my back, and when he's content to lie on the floor and play with toys he does. Trying to get things done with a baby on your front is not easy.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ElliesMomma View Post
depressing b/c it recounts how *most of the world* has societies where mothers raise their children together with other mothers. babies are held nearly constantly (there's always someone there to hold your baby when you need a break), and the women not only work at child rearing, but also work at other jobs, such as harvesting the fields, etc. in other words, there is variety and companionship in their lives.

What societies does the book reference that live this way? In the past, when societies were more agrarian, I could see this. But now? Where in the world do societies function like this? It might be the ideal to some, but I suspect it is the reality for very few people today.

I mention it only because I think fruitless to set an unrealistic circumstance as an ideal for motherhood.

As for what I do to make it work... well, the pp comment about low expectations pertains to my housecleaning. Even if I put the effort in to keep things picked up, the kids as they play drag most of it out again. When I first started staying home, I planned a schedule of chores I'd do while the kids rested. Little did I know that I would need a rest, too!

I meal plan so I know what's for supper. I try to start supper before the dreaded "witching hour", when everyone's gone grumpy. I have school type activities that the twins are accustomed to doing while I work on supper.

As for infants, my secrets are sling or swaddle. Swaddling helped mine sleep better and longer, and one can accomplish much while a baby is in a sling.
 

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I love to wear my babies. Love it. But.. But they, at some point, need to recognize that Mom and Dad are separate people w/ needs & desires, too. A lot of babies truly do not mind sitting in the bouncy or swing, esp if they are sitting there watching you do a chore or watching the other child(ren) play. Obviously, not all day, but I really do think it is good for them to have some alone time, even if it is just 5 - 15 minutes per day. Time where they are calm & can do stuff like watch themselves wiggle their fingers, look around slowly, study a mobile, and just relax.

I totally agree that babies evolved to expect to be held all the time b/c historically, they could be. Times have changed now, though, & even if we wish we could go back to that type of communal living, most of us do not live that way. Trying to make your current family and societal situation fit a mold that no longer exists is illogical. Yes, we try and replicate it as much as we can, but there is only so much we can do given the structural limitations of our current society. We do the very very best that we can while also recognizing that we live in a different world than what existed 500 years ago.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Red Pajama View Post
What societies does the book reference that live this way? In the past, when societies were more agrarian, I could see this. But now? Where in the world do societies function like this? It might be the ideal to some, but I suspect it is the reality for very few people today.

I mention it only because I think fruitless to set an unrealistic circumstance as an ideal for motherhood.
I agree with this. Half of the world's population live in urban areas these days.

You should read Mothers and Others by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. It's all about how cooperative childrearing being the evolutionary norm. I think it's in there that I read a quote about !Kung ("bushmen") women only being with their babies for 40% of the day - the rest of the time the babies are looked after by what Hrdy terms "allomothers". Cross nursing! We all need communities of lactating women to share childrearing with!
 

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Honestly, when my babies were little, I did hire cleaning help. But my DH works out of town most of the time, and my mom lives 6 hours away, so I didn't have anyone to really help me. I have lots of friends who do step up and help me, but I prefer not to ask them...

Anyway, yes, I get what you're saying. Have you read the Continuum Concept? The author theorizes that humans have evolved in such a way to expect the conditions your describe. Mothers and babies are not meant to be alone together all day long doing kid stuff. On the contrary, children have a longing to see their mothers (and fathers too) doing their normal adult stuff so that they have an idea of what being an adult is all about.

If we were a sane society, kids would be welcome almost anywhere including and especially workplaces.
 

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Don't kick me off MDC
but I don't think babies need to be held constantly in order to be "attached". Maybe it's the Montessorian in me (follows the child's lead, which includes some independence and freedom in movement, even at a young age), but I have four kids, and all were easy going, chill babies who didn't want to be held all the time. Don't get me wrong, I love babywearing and have owned over a dozen carriers, but my little ones enjoy lots of floor time - and as a result, they each crawled around 5 mos. and walked at 10 mos.

So, while I do think physical contact is important (especially during the newborn/symbiotic period), one can be AP and not hold their baby all day, every day. It doesn't mean the kid is stuck in a container all the time, either.

I have been a SAHM for 9 years now, and for sure I haven't always been a fabulous housekeeper... But for me, it has honestly been harder to get things done as the kids get older. Babies were easy, and actually take naps - my kids are super busy and it takes me an hour to clean an area that they can mess up again in 5 minutes.
 

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I like your style Drummers Wife. I had a baby that actually liked to be put down & watch me. I did a lot of holding her too- she was a cuddly breastfed baby, but then she would want down.

There was a time I realized what her personality was when she was very new. She would cry & cry while I was holding her, bouncing her, rocking her - all trying to calm her down. My husband said to me "Why don't you just set her down?" A fair question. So I set her in her bouncy seat with blankets tucked around her & she was happy as can be.
 

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I have to say, I love to hold my baby, but he is heavy! Even in a carrier. Some times I just need a physical break. He seems happy in his swing or sitting on the floor with toys for now, and I think the change of pace is ok.

But I certainly understand the loss of the communal mothering. Being a SAHM can be very isolating, especially when you don't subscribe to mainstream views. But if you can find a group of like minded mothers IRL, it really does make things so much easier. And the days that I spend with those mommy friends seem easier on everyone. The kids get to socialize and interact (usually with a fun activity or park day) and the mothers have the burden of watching children eased off their sole shoulders.

Oh, and the crockpot is my best friend. Solved the 6 pm crying baby, hungry husband problem swimmingly.
 

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Honestly, I don't think you can compare a SAHM in the US to a society where the children have to worn all day while the parents work, because if both parents don't work, the family may not make it. And you can't compare the US to a communal society. We don't have a communal society. We live isolated lives in the US and are expected to be on our own. I'm not celebrating that. I think it's pretty awful and it creates a lot of personal anxiety on my part, but I understand enough about history and culture (it's what I teach) to know that this is how it is in this country.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ElliesMomma View Post
and finally, where do you draw the line between trying to do the very best for your chlidren (often on your own as a SAHM in our U.S. society), and making daily choices to put other things first... crying baby but need to finish making dinner for husband...
There was no difficulty with this. One of the two could get his own meal in the kitchen. The other could not. Period. In fact, for quite awhile, DH was a far better cook than I was, and he had ample opportunity to show that skill off! Even now sometimes I'm just tired or lazy when he gets home, and he'll whip up some eggs without complaint, even though he was out in the real world for 8 hours plus commute time etc.

I get into Continuum Concept, but I am also a lazy housekeeper who is a hermit.
So DS would be in the podegi on my back (though that got HOT, b/c MIL got it from her sisters in Korea and it's not a nice light one made in America...podegi means "blanket", and it's quilted, goes down past my knees, and made me sweat!) while I vacuumed, or did some laundry... DS would sit in the Fisher Price babysan chair (the one "baby gear" thing other than a carseat I asked for) watching me take a shower (we just had the clear curtain so he could see that I was in there). etc.
 

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Quote:
and the women not only work at child rearing, but also work at other jobs, such as harvesting the fields, etc. in other words, there is variety and companionship in their lives.
But remember, in many of these societies, siblings often care for babies, and these mothers probably would be *thrilled* not to *have* to work in the field or walk 6 hours to get water. It's easy to idealize.

I do think that the community and lifestyle make for a lot closer physical relationships between moms and kids. My boys and I while studying Ethiopia ran across some video from one of the southern tribes that people would still call "primitive". We did see siblings caring for babies, and also things like a mama grinding grain with her little toddler clinging to his back (on his own strength, no baby carrier). Looked like he was geting a fun ride.
Co-sleeping is a necessity for safety reasons (dangers like fire pits, and rats). Nursing on cue is a necessity because there simply is no other option. OTOH, I have also seen babies and toddlers propped up somewhere near where mama is working, playing alone, or watching the world go by.

Personally, I don't believe every baby needs holding 24/7. But when they do need to be held, and I have to continue on with life, I've found a good, comfy baby carrier to be heaven-sent. I lowered my expectations about the house, and worked on good time management (a particular struggle of mine).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
thanks for the perspectives. unfortunately i have an "old fashioned" husband who wants a hot meal ready for him, and he gets home at 8 pm, and then needs to get up for work again at 3:30 am. we were focused on early bedtimes for the kids for awhile, and that was working. i will have to get back to that, and just downscale my expectations for what i can get done during the day.

i ordered the continuum concept from the library. look forward to reading it. any more book suggestions, i'm all ears (or eyes!) thanks!!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
But remember, in many of these societies, siblings often care for babies, and these mothers probably would be *thrilled* not to *have* to work in the field or walk 6 hours to get water. It's easy to idealize.
Right. That seems like an overly idealized, glorified view. Many of these cultures are dealing with hardships we do not face in life in the U.S.

But I think there is a certain biology to breastfeeding and babywearing. I always saw babywearing as more practical for the mom than bonding for the baby. My baby actually didn't really like being in the sling all that much after a certain age, but, hey, things had to get done and I needed my hands free at points during the day.

When my little one was an infant, the sling worked fine for maintaining body heat, though.


But I don't idealize mothers who wear babies in order to work in the fields, gather food, or carry water. Those mothers deserve a less harsh life and one day, hopefully, will have that without losing the aspects of their culture they want to keep.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ElliesMomma View Post
HOW DO OTHER PEOPLE DO IT? how do attachment parents do it?? i can see how some other what they call "mainstream moms" do it-- they leave their babies in the bucket car seat almost all day. how do AP parents of more than one get anything done while holding a baby all day?
I have been thinking about this. I'm a SAHM as of 2 months ago when Elliot was born and still working on finding a good routine for my family.

First of all, I agree with PP that babies do not need to be held *all* day (at least not mine
) My kids have both been pretty chill, no colic/high needs here. So they get floor time and a little bit of swing or bassinet time thrown in with lots of sling time.

Would love to live in a community where chores are done together as a social activity, but not an option at the moment so I've recruited my 3yo. I'm trying to implement a routine where we plan the day together in the morning and then cross things off the list as we do them. I put in a couple chores every day and she picks our afternoon activity.

The other thing I find with household management is to plan, plan, plan and then it's not a big problem to get dinner together. I always know what I'm making for dinner in the morning and most of my meals are really quick or I pre-chop or pre-marinade so I have to do as little as possible when I'm against the 'deadline.'

I keep the house fairly clean and stay on top of it since maintenance is easier than letting things slide and then trying to dig yourself out. I always see the advice to 'lower your standards' but either it doesn't work for me or my standards are already low enough
.
 
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