Everyone who knows me, will tell you I’m stubborn, opinionated and not afraid to be controversial; but in the media recently I was stunned to find that something as everyday as “parenting” has been turned into a big controversial issue. I wasn’t going to blog about it, but after a twitter chat with fellow bloggers Crystal Jigsaw, Simply Hayley, Lauren in Suffolk and Jenny Paulin, we all decided to share our opinions (in a friendly supportive manner of course!). Big shoutout also to Claire at Ministry of Mum whose post was the first I ever read about parenting labels, she came up with the concept of Whatever works parenting!
I don’t think that parenting can be classified into methods, types or categories. There is no instruction manual. Parenting is a continually evolving learning curve. The only wrongs in parenting are those that cause physical or emotional harm to our children – the things all parents avoid. All children are different; likewise all parents’ lifestyles are different – so how can we fit our parenting technique into a stereotyped box?
Okay so I’m going to use the stereotypical definition of attachment parenting. The three fundamentals I’ve heard from AP extremists are these:
Bed sharing / Co-sleeping
I’ve tried baby wearing before. I was a bit baffled about how I was supposed to pee with a baby attached to me and it certainly makes clothes shopping interesting! But I can see the closeness it brings and can definitely see why people choose to do it. It’s lovely to have cuddles and see your babies beautiful face near to yours. Obviously with twins it’s not really possible, so not something I can do on a regular basis.
Breastfeeding… Yes, it is best for your baby, but no, it doesn’t always work out. Some people try very hard but have difficulties and others choose not to go down this route. It’s a very personal decision on which there is far too much criticism. I am currently mixfeeding my twins. My breastmilk alone doesn’t satisfy them anymore, but they are still getting some.
Co-sleeping… Well again – I have two babies… so for me getting kicked from both angles isn’t a huge sleep incentive, but evenings and mornings wouldn’t be right without cuddles in my bed, before I put them down to sleep in theirs. I haven’t made up my mind on my general stance on co-sleeping but you’ll know from my previous blog post, my immense fear of SIDS dominates bedtime for me, and their alarms wouldn’t work if they slept in my bed. My hubby’s not too keen on abstinence either so I don’t think they’d be allowed in our bed even if I wasn’t a neurotic mother!
So you see I’m easy on those three fundamentals of AP. I can see reasons to and not to. I’ve experienced two of the three and have no harsh judgement on any of those three things. What I do think is wrong is the term. If somebody called me an attachment parent I’d be very annoyed. I don’t think parenting can or should be defined into categories.
Why do people that display attributes of AP feel the need to classify themselves? Can you not utilise these parenting attributes without naming yourself an AP? I don’t mean to sound cynical or sarcastic, but it’s labelling gone mad. Am I going to labelled differently for using a side by side buggy and sending my children to nursery one day a week, as opposed to someone who uses a tandem buggy and home-schools their kids? I think Gina Fords routines are genius – but I’m not about to leave my baby to cry on their own and I’m not about to call myself a Gina Ford parent either!
It’s like school all over again…
Those are the geeks
Those are the chavs
Those are the IT girls
I never really fit into a box at school either. I had lots of friends and I’d talk to anybody but I wasn’t in any particular clique. My friends and I… well, we were just… us!
Let’s ditch the labels. It’s the labels and the media that our causing the extremist views, the arguements, the offense & the controversy… on a subject that should never be controversial. Parenting is natural and as Hayley blogs “instinctive”. And if I’ve learnt one thing through the medium of blogging, it’s the strength of parents in supporting each other. We all have different ideas and different stories, some of us laugh when the going gets tough, others cry. If one of us is ill, or having a baby, we all tweet our best wishes. Some of us have newborn babies, some of us are grandparents already. But together… we are a fantastic network of mums who have often never met, but we pick each other up and back each other up.
I believe there is only one type of parenting… and that is just called… PARENTING!
You do your best for your children and raise them in a safe loving environment. That’s it!
Seeing as I’ve seen SO many bloggers debating this issue, I’m leaving the floor open… Below is a linky tool for parents of all fashions to add their blog post on attachment parenting… but play nicely please parents!
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(Mostly) Yummy Mummy says
I was doing the ‘Attachment Parenting’ thing before it even had a name. Back then it was just called following your instincts and people didn’t feel the need to label it but hey ho! I couldn’t agree more though, it’s about finding what works for you. AP worked perfectly for us but I can see why it’s not for everyone and I would never preach to others. Only a parent knows what is best for their own child! As for the co-sleeping thing though, I promise that it doesn’t mean abstinence. Sex doesn’t just happen in a bed at bedtime you know 😉
Haha, I value the need to sprawl out like a starfish too much to share my bed! I do have them right next to my bed in their moses baskets though (I have to climb over the hubs to get out of bed)!
Sadly there are too many preachers around at the moment and I think that is what is getting a lot of peoples goats.
I agree, following your instincts is exactly right of parenting!
Thanks for stopping by and commenting! xx
Crystal Jigsaw says
You are so right. Labels should be left for conditions – I am all for using labels where special needs is concerned, simply because without a label of autism, my daughter wouldn’t get the support she so rightly needs and deserves. But labeling a parenting method is ridiculous. I reckon we’ve all, at one time or another, done something on AP list. Some parents DO have a list that they adhere to each and every day like it’s some form of habit, while others just get on with nurturing their child as best they can.
We should all ditch the labels, stop irritating each other with what’s best, and get on with looking after OUR OWN children the best way we know how.
Great post – I’ve really enjoyed this debate.
And I honestly thought I’d commented on this post last week, my mind is full of jolly-robbins at the moment!
Crystal Jigsaw recently posted..Leave Parents Alone
Thanks for commenting and thanks for linking up. You inspired me to write this post… on the very topic I’d been avoiding before! xx
Jenny Paulin says
So sorry I didnt realise you had written a post following twitter last week .
Until I saw the twitter feed I had no idea what AP was or what it meant!! I like you believe that parenting should not be categorised you do what you have to do to bring up your children. Support each other and be nice with each other .
Your post makes a lot of sense and a great read x x
Jenny Paulin recently posted..My Week That Was – A Late Week Of Summer & Picnics
Thanks for reading and commenting! It was a very interesting twitter convo and I think it made me more open minded about the topic. 🙂 xx