Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Do Realistic Attachment Parents Exist? (or are they all birth, car seat, and breastfeeding nazis?)

After a lot of thought and a lot of debating, I've decided that I need to change the focus of this blog.  I've spent so much of my life not being myself, not being true to myself, at all, and it needs to stop.  I need at least one aspect of my life (other than with my kids, they always love me for me) where I can be ME and this is it. 

For the past week or so, my heart hasn't been into writing.  I feel as if I am merely going through the motions, recycling the same old thing that's on every attachment parenting, natural parenting, or green mom blog.  I sat down and thought about what makes me unique.  And, as I was writing a blog post (coming soon, I promise) about car seat safety, I realized...

I may be an attachment focused parent.  I may breastfeed, cloth diaper, use cloth wipes (and occasionally "the family cloth"), eat vegetarian, babywear, cosleep, and never ever ever spank my kids.  I may even have a son who is lucky because I left him intact.

But I am not fanatical.   

  • I'm not ridiculously overprotective (even when I want to be).
  • I take long baths, even though I know it's not great, I reduce my carbon footprint in other ways, like not eating meat (which is something that even some of the most hardcore green, natural living people can't seem to give up).
  • I did not have a medication free homebirth.  I not only had a C Section, but it was PLANNED and I demanded it.  That was my way of owning my own birth. I will do it again (and probably again after that).  The only thing that I dislike about this method of birthing is that I can only have four children.  Otherwise, it's my ideal method of delivering babies.
  • I don't always eat organic. Mostly because I can't afford to.
  • I didn't keep my daughter in a rear facing car seat until the age of 13 (in fact I was counting down the days until I could turn her around).
  • Even though I believe that "breast is best", I have no urge to gang up on women who chose to formula feed.  It's their choice.  I may not think it's the right choice, but it's not my choice to make.  I fed my daughter formula because she had major reflux which was affected by breastmilk, as well as some other formulas.  We give Parker one or two bottles of formula a day, not only so that his dad can enjoy feeding him, but so I can have a break once in a while.  We love our breastfeeding relationship, and I refuse to give it up (especially the night feedings), but once in a while it's nice to be able to hand him to Nate and go read a book in the teatub (bath in our family).
  • I don't wear my baby in the house constantly.  I wear him a lot.  I was babywearing when babywearing was only cool on the east coast.  Back when your only choice was Baby Bjorn and they were ridiculously expensive.  But I don't wear him all over the house.  I really do want to wear him more at home, but sometimes it's just not practical.  Like this one time... when I was doing laundry...  let's just say he wasn't a fan of being squished between his short mommy and the washer.
  • While I generally follow safe cosleeping practices, I don't have just a mattress, with no boxspring, on the floor.  I did that when I was poor and pregnant with my daughter and couldn't afford a mattress, I'm not about to go back to it.  I've gone through the trouble of making sure there are no spaces between the mattress and the wall that baby can fall into so I think that's adequate. 
  • I don't think television is evil.  I think it can be bad when children watch TV and play video games and never go outside or move around and exercise.  But it scares me that some moms talk about secondhand TV watching.  Really?  TV is not like cigarette smoke.  It can't "come and get" your child.  Having a TV on in the background in the room where your child is wont turn your child into a big, dumb, fat, blob of stupid.  I promise.  My daughter has had plenty of exposure to TV and she's ridiculously gifted, always outside playing and running around, and she's actually underweight (her dad has can't-gain-weight genes.  Yes, I do hate him because of it.)  It's how you utilize the television and how often that matters.
  • Similarly, I let my four year old watch the X Files.  She likes it, it doesn't desensitize her, and even though she gets scared, it's scary in a fun way for her.  Just because you like scary stuff doesn't mean you're desensitized and are going to become a serial killer.  There are some things I wont allow her to watch, but I'm not crazy protective about it.  Eventually she'll get to the age where she'll find a way to watch it anyway and that age really isn't that far off.
  • I don't believe mothers need to be slaves to their children in order to practice attachment parenting.  Some moms let themselves be guilted into servitude in an effort to attach.  My children and I are ridiculously attached.  I've lost a lot of friends because of my desire to spend most of my time with my children.  However, I also carve out some time for myself every day.  I was a person before I had children and I will be a person after they move out.  Some of you may be confused and I hate to break the bad news- your children will someday move out of your home- and if they don't you probably did something wrong. (Of course there are always special circumstances...)  
  • On a similar note,  I absolutely HATE mothers who ONLY talk about their children.  I call them Zombie Moms.  Don't get me wrong, I talk about my children probably 90% of the time, but that other 10% I'm talking about my hobbies and interests and dreams and goals.  Some of which do NOT involve my children.  I believe that if the only aspect of your personality is the fact that you're a mom, you need to get a hobby.  I'm not saying you shouldn't talk about your kids, because I do that way more than I should myself, I'm simply saying that it's a problem if you can't find anything else to talk about.  If all you are is a mom, then your husband might start looking elsewhere for stimulating conversation.  You need to be that sexy, unforgettable, incredible, brilliant woman he fell in love with once in a while. (I've chosen Wednesdays for these occasions.  After Criminal Minds is over of course.)
  • Lastly, I hate it when parents are ridiculously out of touch.  Do they really not remember being that age?  I remember being every age (except, obviously, younger than 2) and I think it helps to look back to how you felt about certain things when you were that age.  Granted, some times you were wrong, but sometimes your parents were too.  This tends to repeat itself.
I'm sure there are many more examples I could give you, but I'll stop rambling and summarize the whole point of this post.

I'm sick of trying to fit into a circle when I am entirely square.  I definitely am a crazy, crunchy, attachment parenting, trying-to-be-more-green mom.  But I refuse to give up, not only who I am, but also, good old fashioned common sense, in order to fit in to a niche.

So I will share thoughts on attachment parenting and crunchiness from my own perspective, even though it might be a little less breastfeeding-cloth diapering-car seat-birth nazi than some other blogs.

If we want other women to listen to us, and to adopt some of these ideas, and to spread the word about our causes, we need to be less in-your-face and more realistic.  Not every woman can afford an extended height and/or weight five point harness car seat.   Some women are simply not able to breastfeed.  Not everyone cherishes the idea of sleeping on the floor.  There are women who really DO NOT want to forgo medication during childbirth and who feel safer giving birth with a doctor present. 

There are varying degrees of crunchiness, and I absolutely abhor the idea of shoving my ideas and beliefs down other peoples throats.  With things I'm really passionate about, like not circumcising or vegetarianism, I try to bring the good points out first, and then hit the negatives.  No one likes to be yelled at and told they're a bad mother.  When we attack women for doing things differently (using a car seat slightly wrong, formula feeding, circumcising, or getting an epidural) we only make ourselves look fanatical and crazy (like Tom Cruise talking about psychiatry).  It's not going to make others listen to us, it's going to make others shut us out.  If we really want to get our message out, we need to stop demanding that our way is best, like a bitchy little clique, and instead show them that our way is open to all and adaptable.

"This above all, To Thine Own Self Be True."
- Polonius (Hamlet - Act 1 - Scene 3 - Line 78)


I am very much open to comments and criticisms in my comments.  I am all about the debate, so if you so desire, feel free to bring it on.  Those who agree with me, I would love to hear from you as well.

8 comments:

Ms. Polka Dottie said...

LIKE!

Wow, the csection comment! I know how crazed some ppl get if they read something like that.LOL Oh well. I had a csection and I didn't hate it.

Faylyn Jean Hillier said...

The stupid thing is, the whole homebirthing thing and not having unnecessary c sections and all that is because women should be able to have the birth they want, and only have it sway from that ideal if it is absolutely necessary. Right? Well a C section was the birth I wanted, so doesn't that pretty much go with that?

If women who want natural births shouldn't be forced into having unwanted C Sections, then I shouldn't be forced into having an unwanted natural birth.

I do want women to have the birth they want with no regrets, and for me, the second time at least, a C section was it.

Anonymous said...

I love it!

I had a homebirth, I'd love to eat a placenta and I breastfeed (hopefully full term, but minimum to 2.) I loved wearing my second baby. BUT! I also had pain meds during labour. I gave my eldest formula. I vaccinate. I couldn't get the hang of the carriers past about 12mo (baby too wriggly, hip carries uncomfy, front carries too achey, back carries too so-not-me). So push chair it is!

I have a son, and no, we didn;t cut any bits off him when he was a baby. I don't consider that "crunchy", though.

Tracy said...

I love this post. You put into words how I feel about not really fitting into any of the pre-established groups. Thanks :)

Corey said...

I can totally relate to spending a lot of time not being myself. I am sharing your blog on my page's Facebook page.

oatsandbeansandbabygrow.com said...

Yes, Yes, Yes!!!

I had an epidural, I hate having to defend it, geez. I pretty much agree with everything you have said here. I know their are AP fanatics out there, but is okay to be somewhere in between. I'm crazy enough for most of the people I know anyway.

oatsandbeansandbabygrow.com said...

I do know proper grammar, that's what I get for not "previewing". THERE are AP fanatics.

Taya said...

This is my first time reading your blog and I love it!

I had a C-section and very complicated pregnancy.

I use disposable diapers because my husband refuses to use cloth. I work full time plus and am going to school. I can only do so much. He does quite a bit of caretaking of our five month old son.

I am choosing not to vaccine and take my son to a Chiropractor.

I breastfeed but am not able to produce enough so when he is not with me he gets formula. Maybe 1-2 bottles on the days I work.

I love to babywear out and about but not so much at home. I just got an ergo and am still working on figuring out the hip and back carry. Then I may wear it a bit more.


I don't fit into any certain mold just do what works best for my family.

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