Saturday, October 12, 2013

Attached but not really

Let's clear somethings up and get some words laid down!

I have, on more than one occasion been described as an attachment parent/crunchy mama by some of my friends.  That's cool with me, because none of it sounded like an insult.  That being said, I started following some groups on Facebook and Twitter that promote attachment parenting.  Attachment Parenting is basically a form of gentle parenting.  These parents tend to baby wear, co-sleep/bed share, breast feed and use gentle means of "discipline".  I thought to myself "OK, this sounds like me in a nutshell".  We don't spank and I do all that stuff!  I kind of hated the term "attachment" because it made it sound like I won't ever cut the cord but, whatevs.  

A crunchy mom is definitely not me.  I don't do cloth diapering, I am not sure if I'll be making baby food, I'm pro-circ and pro-vac, and elimination communication ain't my bag.  Now, I am by no means knocking anyone who does any of the aforementioned.  More power to you!  That all sounds like a huge show of dedication to your wee one!

I have been called (by one rather judgemental bi-otch) lazy because I said that all of that sure did sound like a lot of work.  It does sound like a shit load of work!  I have two other children, which means I have parties to attend, after school activities, homework, doctors appointments, school functions and household duties to do too.  All while keeping a marriage functioning.  I love Nixon and want to offer him the best that I can.  That being said, I don't want to add extra demands to my already hectic day.  Days when I can sit around and do nothing come few and far between, so if I want to afford myself some downtime and that in turn makes me lazy, so be it.  I'll wear that badge without guilt.  I highly doubt that Nixon will come to me years from now and say "Mom, you ruined my life!  Why didn't you make me my baby food??  I could have been a brain surgeon if you had just looked for cues that I wanted to poop!!" But if by some chance that does happen, I'll write a retraction.

I stopped following or unliked a lot of those pages because MANY (not all) of those women were aggressive and militant.  They were mean, sarcastic and condesending to women who turned to the page for advice.  One mother was struggling because her husband didn't feel comfortable bed-sharing with their newborn.  She turned to the group for advice on how to handle her husbands concerns.  Most of comments basically told her to do it anyways.  Some went as far as telling her that "MOM knows best".  A very small group told her to try to compromise.  These women were encouraging her to railroad her husband and "send him to the couch" until he was ready to bedshare!!  Yes, the expression is "Mother knows best" but damn, its a marriage not a dictatorship.  He is after all, a contributing member to the kids exsistence.

My big issue came when one mom wrote that she was pro-circumcision but was feeling guilt because of her son's pain.  She turned to the group for comfort....and they ripped the poor woman to shred!  "How dare you call yourself a natural parent!" or "You should feel guilty, you butchered you baby."  Whoa...butchered?  The woman tried to defend herself and desperately tried to hold on to her Attachment Parent title, stating that she baby wears and blah blah blah, but this was the one and only thing she strayed from with.  The women (and men!!) leaving comments didn't back down.  It had to have left her in even more tears by the time she was done.

Who do these women think they are to look down their noses at any other parent?  Every choice you make regarding you child(ren) is a personal choice!  Not because its a matter of opinion, but because as parents it is almost sacred.  No parent wants to raise the next Snooki or Ted Bundy.  Every choice, from baby food to discipline is riddled with self doubt.  Did you make the right choice?  Is this the best choice?  Am I making this choice because its easier?
At the end of the day, if your kid is happy, healthy and alive, pat yourself on the back!  You are raising a child the absolute best you can just because you're taking the time care!  

Nixon is 4 months old (GAH!!) and the pediatrician suggested we let him try rice cereal.  We did and he loved it!  I mixed it with breast milk and the boy went crazy.  I shared this moment with a handful of my close friends who are Nixon lovers.  I wasn't to thrilled with my responses.  I had several people tell me that I shouldn't introduce foods until after 6 months, that I was basically feeding my baby sugar, or that I'd regret it.  Whoa, these are my fave people!  All this over a few spoons of cereal.  It didnt replace a nursing session, and it wasn't going to be an everyday thing.  I felt a little hurt.  I support my fellow momma friends in their parenting choices.  If they want their tribe to go without vaccinations, or choose to raise their wee ones  I don't knock it.  It might not be my choice for our family, but I'll support you and encourage you every step of the way.  Nixon hasn't had another bowl of cereal since.  Not out of guilt on my part, but because while Nixon may haved loved it, I'm not quite ready for my little guy to make this big guy step.  

If I have to be stripped of a title for my parenting choices, so be it.  Im a trailblazer anways.  I'll parent the Domesticated Glitter way.  It's a great mix of over analyzing worrying and a dash of fun.  I have always said that being a parent is freaking hard!  Most times its thankless, sleepless, and flat out exhausting.  And that's cuz you're doing it right!  

I've decided not to fall into anyone else label or category of parenting.  My little gang is very different from another.  Your beautiful handful is CONSTANTLY changing, so your guidelines will have to change too.  If some group or label won't allow wiggle room and expects you to be a cookie cutter and fall in line..screw 'em!  

Now, go continue being awesome and unlabel yourself!  I did and its a huge weight off my sore shoulders.   And remember, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything when it comes to raising kids.  

Hugs til later!