I don’t always have to like you…

My mother used to tell me that she would always love me, but that she didn’t like me very much right then. As a kid, this was a fairly upsetting thing to hear, so I swore, with childlike passion, that I would never utter the same sentiment. I have kept that promise. I have never told my eldest that I didn’t like her. However, I really understand what my mother meant.

I will always love my children, more deeply than I could ever imagine. Parental love in my world, is mandatory. It turns out that liking them all the time is optional.

My daughter is very stubborn. She refuses to give an inch when she is sure she is in the right. I know this character trait is admirable, and it will hold her in good stead down the road. However, it comes with a lot of behaviors I don’t like. I don’t like it when she refuses to clean her room, or put her dishes in the sink, or do her homework before the morning it is due. These behaviors I don’t like.

There is a difference between not liking someone and not liking their actions. My husband constantly reminds me of this, and I believe him. However, it’s hard to remind myself of that fine line when my daughter’s back is sullenly turned to me when I am trying to explain my feelings about her behavior. She doesn’t always treat me with respect, and it’s hard to like someone who clearly feels nothing you have to say is important.

I am discovering that love, even the boundless love I feel for my children, doesn’t equal admiration, or liking. My hardest parenting moment was the moment I realized I was feeling actual dislike for my child, the child I love so fiercely. It just never occurred to me that I could not like my kids, even for a moment.

It doesn’t seem to fit in the AP ideal, the reality that this person you grew and birthed will act in ways that make you dislike them. It certainly isn’t in the guidelines anywhere. I believe it is one of the things no one wants to talk about, because how could good parents not like their kids? I think it should be talked about, and I think AP principles will help me reach out to my children and let them know I love them, even when I don’t like them.

For example, I try to treat my daughter with respect, even when she doesn’t treat me respectfully. I try to listen to her arguments, and explain that I heard them, but have to proceed with the plan despite them. I try to explain my parenting actions, and not rely too much on “because I said so.” If I fail in remaining calm and rational, I try to apologize for losing my cool and yelling, because it’s the respectful thing to do.

I try to make sure that I tell my daughter I love her, even when her actions are making it hard for me to like her. I try my best to hug her after we have argued, and after a consequence has been given, even if all I want to do is go into the other room and bang my head against the wall until I pass out.

I try to let her know, even when her behavior is such that I have trouble liking her, that my love for her is boundless and eternal.

Misty Ewegen writes about motherhood, the environment, politics, law, and photography at Law and Motherhood.

I don’t always have to like you…

My mother used to tell me that she would always love me, but that she didn’t like me very much right then. As a kid, this was a fairly upsetting thing to hear, so I swore, with childlike passion, that I would never utter the same sentiment. I have kept that promise. I have never told my eldest that I didn’t like her. However, I really understand what my mother meant.

I will always love my children, more deeply than I could ever imagine. Parental love in my world, is mandatory. It turns out that liking them all the time is optional.

My daughter is very stubborn. She refuses to give an inch when she is sure she is in the right. I know this character trait is admirable, and it will hold her in good stead down the road. However, it comes with a lot of behaviors I don’t like. I don’t like it when she refuses to clean her room, or put her dishes in the sink, or do her homework before the morning it is due. These behaviors I don’t like.

There is a difference between not liking someone and not liking their actions. My husband constantly reminds me of this, and I believe him. However, it’s hard to remind myself of that fine line when my daughter’s back is sullenly turned to me when I am trying to explain my feelings about her behavior. She doesn’t always treat me with respect, and it’s hard to like someone who clearly feels nothing you have to say is important.

I am discovering that love, even the boundless love I feel for my children, doesn’t equal admiration, or liking. My hardest parenting moment was the moment I realized I was feeling actual dislike for my child, the child I love so fiercely. It just never occurred to me that I could not like my kids, even for a moment.

It doesn’t seem to fit in the AP ideal, the reality that this person you grew and birthed will act in ways that make you dislike them. It certainly isn’t in the guidelines anywhere. I believe it is one of the things no one wants to talk about, because how could good parents not like their kids? I think it should be talked about, and I think AP principles will help me reach out to my children and let them know I love them, even when I don’t like them.

For example, I try to treat my daughter with respect, even when she doesn’t treat me respectfully. I try to listen to her arguments, and explain that I heard them, but have to proceed with the plan despite them. I try to explain my parenting actions, and not rely too much on “because I said so.” If I fail in remaining calm and rational, I try to apologize for losing my cool and yelling, because it’s the respectful thing to do.

I try to make sure that I tell my daughter I love her, even when her actions are making it hard for me to like her. I try my best to hug her after we have argued, and after a consequence has been given, even if all I want to do is go into the other room and bang my head against the wall until I pass out.

I try to let her know, even when her behavior is such that I have trouble liking her, that my love for her is boundless and eternal.

Misty Ewegen writes about motherhood, the environment, politics, law, and photography at Law and Motherhood.

I don’t always have to like you…

My mother used to tell me that she would always love me, but that she didn’t like me very much right then. As a kid, this was a fairly upsetting thing to hear, so I swore, with childlike passion, that I would never utter the same sentiment. I have kept that promise. I have never told my eldest that I didn’t like her. However, I really understand what my mother meant.

I will always love my children, more deeply than I could ever imagine. Parental love in my world, is mandatory. It turns out that liking them all the time is optional.

My daughter is very stubborn. She refuses to give an inch when she is sure she is in the right. I know this character trait is admirable, and it will hold her in good stead down the road. However, it comes with a lot of behaviors I don’t like. I don’t like it when she refuses to clean her room, or put her dishes in the sink, or do her homework before the morning it is due. These behaviors I don’t like.

There is a difference between not liking someone and not liking their actions. My husband constantly reminds me of this, and I believe him. However, it’s hard to remind myself of that fine line when my daughter’s back is sullenly turned to me when I am trying to explain my feelings about her behavior. She doesn’t always treat me with respect, and it’s hard to like someone who clearly feels nothing you have to say is important.

I am discovering that love, even the boundless love I feel for my children, doesn’t equal admiration, or liking. My hardest parenting moment was the moment I realized I was feeling actual dislike for my child, the child I love so fiercely. It just never occurred to me that I could not like my kids, even for a moment.

It doesn’t seem to fit in the AP ideal, the reality that this person you grew and birthed will act in ways that make you dislike them. It certainly isn’t in the guidelines anywhere. I believe it is one of the things no one wants to talk about, because how could good parents not like their kids? I think it should be talked about, and I think AP principles will help me reach out to my children and let them know I love them, even when I don’t like them.

For example, I try to treat my daughter with respect, even when she doesn’t treat me respectfully. I try to listen to her arguments, and explain that I heard them, but have to proceed with the plan despite them. I try to explain my parenting actions, and not rely too much on “because I said so.” If I fail in remaining calm and rational, I try to apologize for losing my cool and yelling, because it’s the respectful thing to do.

I try to make sure that I tell my daughter I love her, even when her actions are making it hard for me to like her. I try my best to hug her after we have argued, and after a consequence has been given, even if all I want to do is go into the other room and bang my head against the wall until I pass out.

I try to let her know, even when her behavior is such that I have trouble liking her, that my love for her is boundless and eternal.

Misty Ewegen writes about motherhood, the environment, politics, law, and photography at Law and Motherhood.

Keeping a-breast…

It began when you were very small,

No other source of food at all,

every hour, sometimes less,

you would suckle at my breast.

Everywhere we went they’d smile

supportive of us all the while,

You were young and cute and small

of course I breastfed, after all.

Strangers told me they were proud

in voices strident, voices loud,

that I chose to bare my breast.

They told me it was for the best.

Now that you walk, and run, and play,

our nursing support has become dismay!

Though you are still a babe to me

a big kid and breasts is all they see.

Despite the heads that shake away

We still nurse all night and day!

You are still my little one,

we will nurse until you’re done.

(Support breastfeeding, celebrate World Breastfeeding Week!)

Nuzzle closer dear…

As my children get older I find myself longing for more attachment, my arms aching for more snuggles, more closeness. When my kids were tiny babies, it was easy to lose my sense of wonder in their overwhelming needs. I often got frustrated that they needed so very much of me, so very much of the time.

Now my son is 15 months, and he is off exploring, crawling down off my lap more often than he is crawling into it, and I am missing the level of closeness he and I shared when he was completely dependent on me for everything.

My daughter, now 7, is even more difficult to catch and cuddle. She is all energy and independence, too busy for long snuggles with mom. If I capture her attention with a movie or a story I can get her to snuggle into me for a few moments before she wiggles free, but otherwise she is simply busy living her own life.

It is the way things are supposed to be. The baby time is gone so quickly. The magic synergistic relationship between mother and child fades as children develop their own identities. The eyes that once gazed at you in complete trust begin to wonder if you know anything at all, because “Seriously Mom, you just don’t get it.”

I am hopeful that the closeness we developed through co-sleeping, nursing, and other AP principles will help us stay connected as the kids continue to grow. I hope that early connection will keep us together when they hit the teen years, and will allow us to maintain our family closeness when they are trying to break out and develop their own peer groups. It’s hard to let go of the little babies I can still see in my ever growing children.

I know I can’t keep them in my arms forever, I get that they have to break free and do their own thing. I just hope they will take me along every now and then, and let me into the new worlds they create along the way. It is my hope that raising them with love and respect, closeness and touch will make it easier for them to include me in their new lives, instead of pushing me out.

Nurse until you cry.

I thought I would share some important information I discovered about nursing. Finding it changed my life.

The other day I popped over to Pumproom Confessions and saw a button on the sidebar that said “Breastfeeding shouldn’t be a downer.” As I am ever interested in the world of nursing, and an advocate for breastfeeding, I clicked on it. It led me to a website for Dysphroic Milk Ejection Reflex. Suddenly I was reading account after account from women who experienced the same thing I do when nursing.

I love to nurse, the closeness is amazing, the health benefits for myself and my baby are incredible, and I believe it is the best thing for myself and my baby. I breastfed my daughter successfully and without any difficulty until she was 18 months old. Therefore, I found it a bit dismaying that each time I sat down to nurse my son I would suddenly be overcome with a deep wave of despair. It would punch me right in the stomach and sit there for a minute to two, then it would go away. I told myself it was mild post partum depression. I told myself it was a reaction to finally sitting down and not distracting myself from my grief over a departed friend. I didn’t connect it with my milk letting down. I didn’t connect it with nursing at all, even though it happened every time I sat down to do it. I just figured it was something else. I never knew it was a documented condition that afflicted other moms as well.

I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me that I am a) not alone, b) not insane c) not imagining it. I feel so much better simply knowing that there is a physical reason for those moments of despair, and that there are people researching it to see if there is something that can be done. Clearly some wire in my brain is crossed. Evolutionarily it makes sense to have pleasurable emotions released when your milk lets down, not despairing ones.

If you are a nursing mother, and you feel inexplicably sad, anxious, angry, or depressed for short intense periods while nursing, check out the website on D-MER. Breastfeeding is challenging enough without having to battle intense and nebulous emotional demons along with it. I feel so much better simply knowing more about the problem, and I would bet you will too.

If anyone reading this feels this way and wants to talk about their experience, email me at lawandmotherhood@gmail.com. There is no reason to keep silent about it anymore.

Catch me while you can.

Summer lasted forever when I was a child. School would end and the days would stretch lazily before me, full of endless possibility. I would hear my parents talk about “time flying” and how much faster it was moving than it used to. I would wonder how my summer could be so long, and theirs could be so short, without there being any difference in the actual amount of time that passed.

When my daughter was born her baby days seemed to last forever. I would think I can’t wait until she can talk, or walk, or play by herself. All of those baby stages seemed to take an eternity to get through. Now my son is over one already, and all I can think is please stay small a little longer, please.

My life has sped up so much that I could easily lose months of my kids childhood to mundane routines, responsibilities and work. This is why I am an advocate for attachment parenting. Time goes by so quickly, why lose a single second of it? I am going to seize every chance I get to hold and snuggle my baby before he gets too busy to cuddle. I am going to take every moment I can to watch fireflies with my daughter, before she gets too cool to hang with her mom. After all, these moments are what I have been working for.

I glory in being able to roll over and kiss my son’s fluffy head in the middle of the night. I can’t imagine a better to way to wake up than to feel baby hands patting my face. Co-sleeping is magical. It turns your family’s down hours into bonding time, for both parents. It provides for extra snuggling and closeness in an otherwise busy schedule.

AP principles led me to bring my daughter into the kitchen when she turned about four. I found the best way to respect her food concerns was to invite her to help prepare our meals. I love cooking with my daughter. She and I have a blast chopping veggies, cracking eggs, and mixing ingredients together. She learns how to cook healthy and tasty meals, and I get to hear about her day, her ideas, and her thoughts about the future. Best of all, she eats what we cook because she had a hand in making it.

Attachment parenting has helped me invite my children into all parts of my life. It has empowered me to slow down my routines, and include my children in my responsibilities. I am working hard to make their childhood last as long as possible. Hopefully I can stretch it out before me, filled with magic moments, instead of seeing it race past me in a blur.

Senstivity strained by boundary pushing

Responding with sensitivity. Keeping everyone’s dignity in tact. Using positive reinforcement and active listening instead of punishment and negative reaction. All of these practices are something I firmly believe in. I believe children are incentivized to behave well when their needs are met, their work praised, and their failures patiently worked through, instead of harped on. I believe in teaching my children about consequences, instead of punishing them for their actions. I am a big believer in patient parenting.

And then I met six.

Six has strained my relationship with my daughter, my role as an attachment parent, and all my fancy new fangled parenting skills. How exactly does one parent with patience during daily doses of the following:

“Mom! Can we play on the playground?”

“I’m sorry honey but not today, it’s raining.”

“Awww… but I want to! Just for a minute?”

“No dear, the playground is all wet and we need to get in out of the rain.”

“I don’t mind if I get wet. I want to play on the playground.”

“I understand that you do, but the answer is no.”

“But I never get to play on the playground!!”

“Monkey, you have played on the playground every day this week. Today it is raining. We are not playing on the playground in the rain.”

“Can I just go see if the playground is wet before we go?”

“No, clearly the playground is wet if it is raining. We are not staying, we are getting in out of the rain.”

“But I won’t play on it, I just want to look at it!”

“Monkey, you have asked me at least five times, I have answered no each time. There will not be a change in my answer. If you ask me again I will have to take away a privilege. Do you understand me?”

eyerolling “Yes” sigh “I wish I could play on the playground.”

It is enough to drive all notions of attachment parenting right out the window. To make things worse, if I ask her a question she doesn’t want to answer, she will just pretend I never spoke. It has gotten to the point where both my husband and I will reassuringly say “It’s okay honey, I heard you, you did actually speak out loud.”

What is a parent to do? I am trying not to envision my child with ugly green horns and bulbous spots when this behavior rears its ugly head, but I go not have endless reserves of patience. I can’t just turn off all my feelings and not react, even though I know her behavior is developmental, that she is testing her individuality and my boundaries. I know she is not out to get me, but it’s hard to know that in the middle of an argument.

I thought I would share a few of the coping methods I have attempted to employ in staying calm in the face of her powerful persistence.

1. Hum The Girl from Ipanema in my head and imagine I am all alone in an elevator that no one, especially my arguing child, can get into.

2. Envision myself on a beach drinking an icy cold fru-fru drink while a massage therapist works all the argument caused knots out of my shoulder.

3. Remind myself that calm and consistent responses will make a strong and healthy child.

4. Take a deep breath and warn Monkey that she is about to make me very angry. “Honey, I am getting very frustrated, if this continues, I may yell at you.”

If those don’t work I try to forgive myself for yelling, and her for pushing. I also try to apologize for losing my cool, and explain to her why I did. I use I statements when doing so; “I am sorry I yelled, I was feeling like you weren’t listening to me, and that was frustrating for me.” Usually she will apologize too, and we will hug, and the day will go on. On really bad days, we just have a fight, and then I lock myself in the bathroom alone for twenty solid minutes (after hubby is home) and either: read a book, do my nails, or take a long hot shower so I can recover some of my resources.

What do you do to stay calm in the face of unbelievable, epic persistence? What techniques do you use to keep your cool and respond with sensitivity? I would love it if all of you would share your ideas with me in the comments. I think we can all parent more patiently if we have a larger arsenal to draw from.

Content Protected Using Blog Protector By: PcDrome.

© 2008-2022 Attachment Parenting International All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright