If I were asked to define myself in one word, I would respond without hesitation that I am a mother. I am of course so much more. As a woman I fill many simultaneous roles. Each and every one of us lead busy lives and are called to coordinate our schedules to meet and accommodate the needs of the many different roles we fill.
Despite the fact that I would not define myself as only a mother, I certainly do consider my role as a mother to be one of the most important roles I play at this point in my life. My daughter is seventeen months old. She relies on me for everything. When she is hungry I feed her. When she is tired, I sing her to sleep. When she is upset, I cuddle and console her.
I have the great privilege, thanks to my hard working husband, to be a stay at home mom. I am able to be here for my daughter every second of every day.
In addition to being a mother, I am a mother who practices Attachment Parenting. I nursed my daughter until she decided she was ready for more freedom. My husband and I practiced safe co-sleeping while my daughter was an infant. She still ends up in our bed for part of the night.
I still have a hip sling for my daughter has never liked the stroller, always preferring a baby carrier or sling. She has always been a child who craves constant closeness. And who can blame her? It is the most basic of human desires to be close to those you love, and to those who love you. The bond between parent and child is unlike any other. It is concrete, it is solid, it is unending. It is only natural for a child to crave the closeness they experienced while in the womb.
My husband and I have only left our daughter a handful of times since her birth, always with a family member, never for more than a few hours, and usually while she is sleeping. We have been met with both criticism and praise for our parenting choices. Regardless of the opinions of others, whether positive or negative, we feel that our parenting style has enhanced the bond we have with our daughter. She is a happy, loving, confident child.
Recently I was called to testify in a custody hearing for a friend. The courthouse was two hours away and I was not about to leave my daughter. The attorney informed me that children would not be allowed in the courtroom. I responded that should he wish to have me testify, then my daughter would be with me. The attorney informed the judge that I practice “some weird style of parenting.”
Much to the judge’s dismay, I testified while my daughter played quietly at my feet. I was not about to leave her in the hall with a bailiff. She is a child who needs her mother and I am a mother who adores her child.
The bottom line is, we are all entitled to our own style of parenting. One style is no better than another; whatever works for you and your children is what is right. Calling something weird and degrading those who practice something different than you is not okay. Condescending people and making them feel inferior is not okay.
I love my child. My child loves me. I am proud to be an Attachment Parent, criticism and all.