My Attachment Parenting support group made all the difference

Editor’s note: Parent support makes a world of difference — when we strengthen families, we nurture and fulfill our children’s need for trust, respect, and affection, and ultimately provide a lifelong foundation for healthy, enduring relationships. Sharing our parenting experiences — the difficult, trying, joyous, and happy ones — with other like-minded parents can help us feel understood and supported. Attachment Parenting International (API) is dedicated to supporting families in realizing the most important job there is –raising compassionate kids who will shape the future of our world. Click here to find an API Support Group near you.  

It was our usual afternoon trip to the library before picking up my oldest son from school. We typically go once a week and bring a large, reusable bag to fill with books — only on that day, I took a smaller bag, which I thought was a really minor change. But when my almost 4-year-old son realized that I’d done something that, in his mind, was completely different from what we always do, he wanted me to go home to get usual bag.

I could tell he was sad and close to tears, but he was trying to manage his emotions and to stay calm as I empathized with him and explained that it wasn’t possible to rectify the situation. After a couple minutes, he started to get sadder and louder.

Still, I managed to stay calm. It felt like a real success for me — completely keeping my cool even in a public setting, responding to him with empathy, staying connected, and not punishing or lecturing him for his emotions. Since we were in a library, I wanted to get out of there quickly so we didn’t disturb people. Unfortunately, trying to make that happen was quite a challenge for me as a mom. My younger daughter was with us and was happily selecting books from the shelf. I had to make the choice of checking out her books while my toddler cried and fought, or just leaving without them, which might upset her as well.

There were several other people around who seemed were watching me, including a few moms who were talking nearby, a mother with a young child playing calmly, a librarian, and an older man. As I struggled to the door with a baby in one arm and a crying toddler in the other, I didn’t worry if they were judging me. I knew I was handling the situation the best I could, and I was proud of that, but I did get upset that no one was able to offer me any help.

I felt that I could barely manage to open the door and get the kids to the car on my own, but somehow, I did. In the car, despite feeling pleased with my patience and ability to remain calm, I felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness. I realized just how alone I had been in that challenging situation, and I couldn’t help but cry.

Afterwards, I reached out to the other parents in my API Support Group about my experience. The amount of support and love I got from the other parents was amazing. Many praised my ability to stay calm in a stressful situation. Several pointed out that strangers are often unsure of how to help or unsure whether help is even wanted. Some shared that they had similar experiences and could relate. And one person also said that she wished she’d been there to help, to hold the door or to put her arm around me for support.

She told me, “You are not alone anymore,” which is something I wish all parents could hear when they’re struggling in moments like this.

Mothers’ thoughtful expressions: What is the best parenting advice you would offer another mom?

The experience of being a mom can be  challenging, exhausting, rewarding, and inspirational. There are plenty of trained experts and professionals who lend their guidance on ways to navigate through the complex web of motherhood, but oftentimes, the most grounded support comes from those who have been down in the trenches — so to speak: everyday mothers.

Today, we bring you words of advice from mothers who shared with us the wisdom and insight they acquired along the way, on their motherhood path.

What is the best parenting advice you would offer another mom? 

Kassandra Brown: “My best parenting advice is to allow your perspective to broaden, your heart to soften, and your mind to notice how lucky you are to have exactly the children you have. What we believe, we perceive. By believing it, you will see evidence more and more often that proves how true it is that you are lucky to have your children.” 

Lisa Feiertag: “The advice that I would share with other moms is how important it is to remain flexible and to know that everything will change even when you think it is all static. Growth naturally causes things to shift, and it is a lot easier if you are moving in that flow instead of resisting it. Also, try to not take anything personally or to personalize your child’s actions and emotions. When you find yourself feeling upset look into why that is. What is being triggered internally? Parenting is an opportunity to heal all our unmet childhood wounds, which is one of the reasons why it is not an easy job.”

Megan Bell: “Let go of ‘should’ and truly connect with and listen to your children. They are our best teachers. Offer them what they need when they need it, and know they won’t need it forever.” 

Rochelle Kipnis: “Our children grow up so fast, so cherish every moment you get with them. Make memories and know that they grow up too quickly. Hold on to the moments and take it slow. Enjoy every day that you’re blessed to be here on earth with your children.”

Effie Morchi: “Above all, listen to your heart and trust your instincts; they are there for a key reason. When you are faced with a challenging moment, take a deep breath and think, ‘that too shall pass…’ and when you are faced with a blissful moment, take a deep breath, and let it wash over you — it will serve as nourishment for the road ahead.” 

Jillian Amodio: “Honestly, there’s a lot of advice floating around. Five different people will give you 5 different answers. The best advice I can give you is truly none at all. Just follow your heart, it will never lead you wrong. Mamas, you are wiser than you will ever know, more important than you will ever realize, and cherished beyond measure. Hug those little ones and love yourself, because even when you don’t feel like it, I’ll bet that you are doing an AMAZING job.”

Kelly Shealer: “My advice to other moms is to trust your instincts. Trust what feels right for you and your children. You know your child best, so you can give them a unique gife that make them really happy.”

Inga Bohnekamp: “It is a lot about connection and trust. Find ways to over and over again connect with your child — and yourself. Try to see her with fresh, curious eyes every day and try not to make too many preconceived assumptions. She will continue to surprise, to amaze, and to challenge you in her very own unique ways as she grows up and faces the challenges of the world she lives in. Connect with yourself, with your intuition, with your very own inner wisdom. Most of the answers you will ever need are already inside of you, somewhere — you might just need to uncover them and then listen to them, which can be scary. And while, of course, trusted sources of support are always important — repeat after me: We cannot do it all by ourselves! — always remember that every child, every parent, every situation, and every relationship is different and changes from moment to moment, which makes it highly unlikely for a ‘one size fits all’ approach to actually be a good fit.” 

Katelynne Eid: “Trust your gut. With each little one, I’ve learned to trust myself even more. There are endless information and opinions out there, but nothing beats a mother’s intuition. Even if you don’t think you have it, I promise you do!” 

Shoshana Hayman: “Although modern society has devalued the role of mothers, know that your role as a mother is of paramount value in the world. No one can be for your children what you are to them — their primary attachment figure, which gives the optimal context for healthy human development. Teach them lovingly, both your boys and your girls, that the most important roles they will fulfill one day will be to parent their own children. Mothers need to be confident in believing that nurturing their children, throughout the years that they are growing up, helps shape a healthy and peaceful society more than any daycare, school, or educational program ever can.”

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A Mother’s love is a gift that gives forever and her legacy is life

In gratitude, consider a tribute to a Mother in your life while helping a mother in need of support at the same time.

It’s a gift that that keeps on giving because you help mothers receive much needed information and support.

This is the heart of API.

We invite you to share a gift of love that gives on in her honor.

  Happy Mother’s Day from Attachment Parenting International

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Mothers’ thoughtful expressions: What do you cherish most about being a mom?

Being a mom is like being a gardener — it’s hard labor that gets accomplished regardless of the conditions. It is the kind of work that requires fortitude, dedication, and an abundance of patience. We tend to our children, nourish them, watch them grow, and reap what we sow. All the while, we are continuously mesmerized by their essence and beauty.

Today, as we celebrate the unique and precious role of a mother, we bring to you these thoughtful expressions from mothers around the world:

What do you cherish most about being a mom?

Megan Bell, Fox Valley API, Illinois USA: “I cherish the spontaneous proclamations of love my toddler gives me, and when she shows me empathy. I love watching her grow. Our children really do learn by example. It’s beautiful and stunning to witness.”  

Rochelle Kipnis, New Jersey USA: “As a homeschooling mom of 3, I cherish the moments spent with my children. Hugging and kissing them, watching them laugh, learn, smile, grow, and play brings me the most joy in life. No matter how big they get, they will always be my babies and I will always be here for them. They are life’s greatest joy and blessings.”

Lisa Feiertag, API Leader Applicant Liaison, Maryland USA: “The unconditional love that my children shower on me is what I cherish most about being a mom. I love the snuggles, laughs, giggles as well as the long conversations that we engage in. I love watching my kids grow into the young adults that they are becoming and seeing them share their love with others.”

Effie Morchi, API Assistant Editor, New York USA: “I cherish most the growth and transformation; mine as well as my children’s. I marvel at how parenting has taught me that the simple moments and things in life are truly the profound ones: a day spent together at the park, a gentle smile, a trivial goal achieved; they are the bits that make our life wholesome.” 

Jillian Amodio, Maryland USA: “What I cherish most largely depends on the day. On a good day, it’s the smiles and laughter emanating from my children. On a bad day…bedtime and wine? No, really though, all jokes aside, what I cherish most are the memories we make each day. Every night before my children go to bed, regardless of what kind of day we’ve had, we cuddle in their beds, read books, and sing songs. We talk about what happened that day and it helps us realize that even on the days that are ‘mundane’, ‘boring,’ or just plain not very good, we have a really great thing going — we have each other, and we certainly do have a whole lot of fun together.”

Kelly Shealer, API of Frederick, Maryland USA: “My favorite moments of being a mom are when my children and I are able to take a break and relax together — like lying down together at bedtime or reading a book to my daughter while she sits on my lap. I love these times when we’re able to pause from all the busyness of our day and just be together.”

Shoshana Hayman, Israel: “Being a mom has been and continues to be the most fulfilling aspect of my life. No other role gives me the power to develop loving, deep, and lasting relationships with those who are dearest to me while at the same time helping my children bring their human potential to fruition.” 

Katelynne Eid, Connecticut USA: “The thing I cherish most about being a mom is just getting to witness as these little lives develop. I’m so grateful for being able to be a consistent and supportive presence as they figure out who they are.”

Kassandra Brown, Boulder CO: “I cherish the moments when my perspective broadens from the day-to-day busyness of eating, sleeping, school, transitions, and stuff-to-do to notice the feeling of loving my children. How my heart softens, a smile comes to my face, and I realize how lucky I am that these thoughtful, loving humans love me. Once my perspective shifts, my parenting shifts and I find myself effortlessly working-with rather than doing-to or managing.”

Inga Bohnekamp, Ontario Canada: “I think what I cherish most is the experience of this unconditional, pure, and infinite love, which I have felt for my daughter ever since she came into my life (started growing inside my belly). I am so grateful for every moment we share, the challenging ones as well as the ones filled with pure happiness, laughter, and joy. She inspires me every day; she reminds me of what really, really counts in life, and I cherish this incredibly unique and intense opportunity to continue learning and growing alongside her as she grows up. But, if I have to boil it down to one thing, it would be the LOVE.”

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A Mother’s love is a gift that gives forever and her legacy is life

In gratitude, consider a tribute to a Mother in your life while helping a mother in need of support at the same time.

It’s a gift that that keeps on giving because you help mothers receive much needed information and support.

This is the heart of API.

We invite you to share a gift of love that gives on in her honor.

  Happy Mother’s Day from Attachment Parenting International

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