The Practice of Attachment Parenting

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.

Author: Diana Stone

Diana is a SAHM to Bella, and has been married for 9+ years to her Army husband Sam. She is a babywearing, cloth diapering, homeschooling AP'er who loves to cook, knit, write, and travel. She blogs about realistic parenting, the loss of their twin boys, and trying to adopt at Hormonal Imbalances. She's on Twitter @lifeasaSAHM and Facebook.

12 thoughts on “The Practice of Attachment Parenting”

  1. I wish I’d better educated about attachment parenting when my children were small. I didn’t know how to breastfeed past introducing solids, therefore all my children stopped the minute I began feeding them cereal. I think AP is also about following your instincts more and being better educated as a mom. Wonderful post, Diana!

  2. Great post! And so perfectly true. We all have moments when we are out of patience and understanding, but then we take a breath and regroup and try again. It’s the trying again and the doing it better next time that counts.

  3. What a lovely post – thank you so much for sharing! There are times I feel so out of place as an AP mom. Everyone seems to calm and together in this community. But this is a great reminder that we all have these days, regardless of how we parent.

    And yur blog is so funny!

  4. I used to think of attachment parenting as a hippie sort of thing to do. As mothers at the library would talk about how they always had their babies with them, never spanked, nursed to extended ages than the norm, and co-slept with their toddlers still, i would sit off to the side with my baby in a sling, nursing, thinking, “What a bunch of nuts!”
    Then it hit me one day as my one year old tried to pull my shirt up from the confines of the wrap i was wearing him in to nurse, that I was one of those moms. I was STILL nursing on demand, he had yet to sleep at night in his crib or out of our bed, and I wouldn’t even think of spanking him. I even let him choose what he wanted at meal times, which was normally whatever was on my plate. I was an attachment parenting mom, and my husband was even more of an attachment parenting dad. (He would mow the lawn with our son in a shaded hiking back pack, just to have him close, and would hold him through his naps on days off from work.) My family has thought that i spoiled my son, and that i had issues with “sharing” him. Four years later, out of ten grandkids, he is the only one that is not spanked and is parented in this style. He is also the most compassionate and gentle one. As far as whiny-ness, he seems to be right on par with the other two four year olds in the family, his spells just don’t last as long and he never yells, “I don’t want a spank.” He doesn’t sleep in our room all night any more. His top bunk is way more cool than mommy and daddy’s bed, but he does find his way into bed with us or on the floor next to us after a nightmare or when he isn’t feeling well. He and daddy have camp-outs once or twice a month in the living room too. No girls allowed. 🙂
    We are expecting our second baby in five weeks-ish, and have really gone over board! We didn’t buy a crib. My husband built a side car co-sleeper bed that fits a crib/toddler mattress. We didn’t buy a stroller, we ordered a baby carrier online. Instead of an infant car seat with a base, we are buying the convertible kind that stays in the car. (I have seen more infants in my extended family and friends’ network spend more time in a carry car seat than in their mothers’ arms), and I have been saving and buying some nice nursing tanks and shirts for the long haul.
    This time around, my family is prepared for my “off the wall” mothering and supporting me in it. My sister has even begun to adapt some of her mothering styles after attachment parenting styles with her youngest out of 6. Like most, i didn’t plan on being an attachment mom. It just happened naturally as i learned to listen and follow my natural instincts!

  5. I think that attachment parenting is just a way that has become my parenting style. I try to make the best choices for my daughter. In the beginning I did not even really know what AP was per say. Then I started reading and I was like yep, I try to fall with those view. I think as parents we all make mistakes, but we learn, we learn how to be a better parent, we learn how we want to change and if we did not do this then we would not being trying. Diana, you know I value your opinion, GREAT write up!

  6. I love this post. This describes me to a T! I think of our parenting as a work in progress. We are doing our very best every single day and I think we’re getting better at it as each day passes.

  7. Thanks for both posts today out of all days I needed something in there to help me through…. SAHM of two beautiful children

  8. I really needed to read something like this today. I had one of those less than perfectr days with my 17 month old daughter. It was one thing after another and I lost my cool. I would never dream of spanking her, but there were a few harsh words spoken. I logged on to the AP blog after she went to sleep and found this perfect post. Thank you for reminding me that we are all a work in progress and that the fact that we are even striving to live an AP life is a good thing. Sometimes we slip up, but we know how to make the next day better. Thank you!

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