Parenting is hard. Yes, there are ways it can be easier and times it can be easier, and people who say it’s easy (are we really buying that story?), but can we just all agree parenting is hard.
If you are an attachment parent, I am pretty sure you’ve already heard “you’re just making it harder on yourself,” or some other variation of that.
First off, not cool. No one wants to hear criticisms on their parenting ESPECIALLY when you are just trying to do what feels right and what you feel is best for your baby. Yet, I don’t think this will be changing anytime soon.
An argument can be made that attachment parenting makes parenting harder, and basically, everyone (who doesn’t follow as an attachment parenting style) wants to make that argument, but it doesn’t have to. If you go about it with a few things in mind, attachment parenting can actually make parenting easier. Ya, that’s right, EASIER.
If you haven’t heard of it or are just starting to learn your options as a new or expecting mom, attachment parenting is basically an approach to parenting that aims to support your baby’s attachment to you (and possibly other caregivers) as well as meeting baby’s needs promptly (aka responsive caregiving).
This all-natural style instructs parents to be in tune with their child’s needs . . . Attachment parents . . . respond to an infant’s demands immediately and respectfully.
As an attachment parent myself, as well as a parenting coach, I decided to share my tips on making attachment parenting easy!
1. Follow Your Gut
Stick to what feels right. Do not let people push you around or guilt you into thinking you are doing the wrong thing for your little one. As long as you love and are connected to your little ones, your gut will know what’s right for them. Mom instincts are real and you should trust them.
2. Stay Connected But Promote Confidence
It is great and a part of attachment parenting to be responsive and available to your little one. I have found a lot of parents get confused on how to both be attached and responsive but also promote confidence and independence in your child.
The key is to maintain your responsiveness but encourage them to problem solve and engage with the world on their own with you as their safe base. Contrary to common belief, attachment parenting actually promotes independence as children feel safe to explore when they have a secure attachment.
3. Surround Yourself With Like Minded Mamas
Friendships and like-minded individuals are more necessary than ever, especially if you are a stay at home parent. It is important to connect with others who share your view on parenting because attachment parenting is not a mainstream form of parenting, so you may feel criticized or like you are going against the grain often. Having mamas with these similar experiences allows you to share your real experience of motherhood without feeling judged and also connect on a deeper level.
4. Self Care & More Self Care
I have always been bad at self care. I love being productive and doing things for others, so it has never been my strong suit, but becoming a mom has made me realize how important self care is. I now practice self care more than ever because it truly makes me a better mom.
Self care can look any way you want it to, but make sure you are taking time for yourself. As an attachment parent, we put our child’s needs first, but don’t forget your child needs a calm and collected parent as well. Also, practicing self care will be a great life-long example to your child on how to care for themselves.
My self care includes solo coffee shop time or with a close friend, bubble baths, going on a run or hitting the gym. Part of attachment parenting is having a small circle of care for your child.
If you do not have a present partner, try to find a family member or occasional nanny who is supportive of attachment parenting and can step in occasionally so you can get some time for yourself as well. Although we exclusively breastfed, we made solo mom time possible by dad being close by at a park or on a walk so we could still feed on demand when needed.
5. Find Relevant Resources
Find resources for attachment parenting. Stick to resources for parenting that you know will be kind and friendly to your parenting style.
As an attachment parent, you can’t pick up any random parenting book and expect it to work for you, in fact a lot of parenting books make suggestions contrary to current research and attachment style parenting. Ask experienced attachment parents or find groups on Facebook. I also love these resources!
I am SO tired of everyone’s comments on my parenting, and apparently, I’m not the only one. Being a part of a few crunchy/natural-style parenting groups on Facebook, I see it every day. The mom crying for help because she is tired of arguing with everyone about her parenting style. I’m not sure why everyone is extra keen on commenting on the mom who is trying attachment or gentle parenting, but it needs to stop. And here is why.
1. You don’t know my kid
First off, I am the mom and know my child best. I spend basically all my time with this human and know all about her. I think you, who has never met my kid or only seen her a few times, have no reason to think you somehow know what is better for her than me.
2. No, I’m not spoiling my kid
If you’ve read any current research on parenting or child development, you would know how important attachment is. I am focusing on my child’s attachment and well-being, and no, I am not spoiling her. Love does not spoil a child, got it?
3. No, my child will not be stuck to me forever
Do you know what doesn’t make needy kids? Kids with their needs met. Meeting my kid’s needs (physically and emotionally) will enable her to feel more able and independent in the world. She doesn’t need to learn to be without me, she needs to learn that she is safe and cared for in the world so she can pursue her own life and not worry about her needs being met.
4. I Need Support
Parenting is hard enough. Even if I was doing something wrong, criticizing me is not the way to help. Present me with your reasoning and maybe we can talk, but in the end, what I really need to be a better mom is support, not your advice.
5. It Feels Wrong
Even if I decided to suddenly follow your parenting advice, I wouldn’t be okay. I parent from the gut and do what I feel is best and natural, so if I follow your advice now I know I wouldn’t feel like myself.
6. I Didn’t Ask.
Need I say more?
“Motherhood: All the love begins and ends there.” ― Nitya Prakash