I am sitting in an RV. Again. This is a very common scene. I am surrounded by the sounds of a music festival gearing up. Our community is the grounds crew, as we have been for the past six years. While we are “on the road” my jobs include communications and music, as well as all the various mom-jobs. This can be a challenging way to AP.
Since the beginning my husband and I have made an effort to make our child, and therefore our little family, the center of what we do. We believe firmly in a child changing our life fully, in us becoming different people through the experience of a new person joining our lives. That, for us, has taken the form of home birth, co-sleeping, exclusively breastfeeding, child-led weaning and much more.
Living in an intentional co-housing community poses unique challenges because we travel so much. One of these challenges is making sure we keep our little world revolving around the needs of our family, no matter where we are or what we are doing. Remembering that we, as parents, must take time for ourselves in order to remain firmly attached to one another allows us to represent a united front that our young son can in turn be firmly attached to.
It would be fairly easy in a community situation to “pawn off” our child in many ways. Family surrounds us: aunts, uncles, and grandparents, as well as trusted friends. We all feel safe, and we are! That is the beauty of living the way we do. But safe and comfortable do not make up for the wonderful attachment and bonding that must occur between parents and child(ren).
While on the road it is especially important to be attached and attuned to what is going on with our little family, our child, and then the community as a whole. We have to be able to feel when he (our child) has had enough. Since we are not in normal circumstances, he does not feel or act tired, instead he becomes more energetic. We have to understand when he is uncomfortable with strangers, friends, or acquaintances that we may have to remove him from the situation when it has become too taxing, whether or not we fee like ending the conversation or leaving at that point.
This has built in our child a dependence that many would say is not healthy. I have been told time and again that he needs to be “independent” at the ripe old age of 14 ½ months.
I see parenting as an inverted triangle (this analogy was handed down to me from my mother), when children are small they are to be kept close, in a healthy, safe and fairly limited environment and then as they grow they are released in to more and more freedom. So many times I have seen the reverse, where young children are left to their “independence” and as they get older and parents realize that they are no longer in touch with the children or have “lost control” and then they try to reign them back in.
Parenting is an organic thing. Living and breathing. A life of it’s own. It has changed, and I hope will continue to change me. It has connected/attached me to others, not just my child, in a way I did not even know was possible.
Every day as I open my eyes to the inside of our camper and go through the mental “to do” list for the day I remind myself who holds me anchored with his strong attachment.