There are days when I think to myself, “I shouldn’t call what I do attachment parenting – because quite honestly, today was anything but.”
I never thought of attachment parenting with any interest until about a year ago, right after Bella was born. Before that, I just knew I didn’t want to spank or hit, and wanted to treat my child with respect and dignity. I fell in love with babywearing along the way, and extended breastfeeding happened because it became a joy after the horrible months of reflux and colic in her infancy.
I began to find myself drawn into the attachment line of thinking once I knew I was going to be able to be a stay at home mom. I have always had a passion for working with children, from being a nanny to teaching – I would read constantly about how to be a better caregiver and educator. So it was only natural to start to think of motherhood in that way, and to decide what kind of a mother I wanted to be on a daily/hourly basis.
As I read, learn, and blog on attachment parenting, I fall deeper in love with the meaning I see behind it all: “A person’s a person no matter how small.” – Dr. Seuss. Every child deserves respect, unconditional love, and a happy childhood. My goal as a mother is to provide that for my child. I see attachment parenting working for me to do just that.
But there are days when I feel as of I’m simply posing as an attached parent. I’ll lose my cool in the store after Bella has yet another meltdown about not being able to give the raw chicken a hug. I’ll miss a moment from being busy that I regret later on. I snatch something out of her hand she isn’t supposed to have, and see her confused face look up at me.
These are all parts of being a parent though. They aren’t things I am proud of, but I am learning to slowly let go of my guilt of not being “perfect” and realizing that parenting is an art form. It requires a lifetime of learning, sacrifice, and mistakes to get closer to what you strive to be.
I believe each day brings a new opportunity for me to become a better mother. A chance to learn something new about parenting and to apply it – from slowing down and seeing a situation through my child’s eyes, to remembering that positive reinforcement works best. I try to make a conscious effort to change a natural instinct of anger into empathy. I remember that it’s ok to love on Bella when she falls down. I remind myself that it doesn’t matter what people think of me breastfeeding her still – because it’s special for us.
I can say what I do is attachment parenting not because I’m already perfect at it, but because I practice at it. And every day I try to get a little closer to what it should look like in its perfection.