Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Attachment Parenting

There was no such term when my kids were little.

But it explains what I did.  And it also explains why I was so different from other friends with whom I shared so much in common.  At the time, I didn't know how to explain it.  Sometimes I would say, "But I like my kids."  However, that implied other people didn't, and that's not true. 

We rarely got babysitters.  I missed the kids when they went to visit Grandma.  I nursed "too long."  I often kept the baby in bed with us overnight.  I had a sling to carry the babies, but more commonly carried them in my arms without the sling.  We homeschooled, so they didn't have to "face reality."   We were told repeatedly that the apron strings were too tight, that the kids would never grow up, that we were training them to become dependent upon us, that they would never able to function without mommy and daddy helping them.

HA!  Look at 'em now, all grown up.   Definitely not dependent.

Rachel told me the other day that I was a "hippie mother."  I want to ask if hippies come in a conservative variety.  And yet, I did wear the Birkenstocks.


  1. As I think back over our decision to homeschool and all the reasons that fed into it, I have to say that the main reason was that I didn't want to turn my kids over to other people for the majority of their waking hours. It just seemed to me that in doing so I would be sacrificing my own ability to be the primary shaper of their days. I think homeschooling has allowed us to maintain family as the central organizing principle of our days and the place where the most important relationships are found.

    I never liked getting babysitters either. I was very blessed for much of my children's growing up in having a grandma nearby who was able to help out when we needed babysitting. And now I have a teenager to babysit the youngest one. Like you, we didn't turn away children who were lonely at night--either they crawled into bed with us or vice versa. I didn't know about slings/carriers but wish I had--I would have used them! So I guess we are attachment parents, too. Probably wouldn't qualify as hippies, though. ;-)

  2. I have to add that all those years ago, before we met and I only knew you as a name online, I always pictured you as earthy, skinny, not nearly as tall as you are, with long, straight, light brown hair, wearing sundresses and sandals and sitting on the couch reading to your kids. So yeah, kind of hippie-ish. I also always imagined you as being more laid back & relaxed than you are. Not that you're not laid back. But there's always this undercurrent of intensity and energy emanating from your always hopping Susan-brain.

  3. I think you've helped me figure out my problem with some of the attachment parenting types now a days.

    People who just do what they do because they do have a whole different attitude then the people who do "attachment parenting" because that's the best way.

  4. Cheryl, laid back versus intense. Hmm. I think "worn out." But that's different from the way it was once-upon-a-time when I met you.

    Katie, do you mean people are deciding that "attachment parenting" is The Right Way, and so they have to figure out what it is, and then abide by the rules of it?

    (Pssst: if that's what you're saying, that reminds me how some people are about classical education.)

  5. Susan, you may be worn out--I know you're worn out--but you still have one of the most agile brains I know. And I think you're on to something with the comparison between how some people approach attachment parenting and classical education.

    Also, yes, there are conservative hippies. They're called Crunchy Cons. :-)

  6. Yes I do. And since it's The Right Way it must be espoused all-the-time.

    People seem so much more laid back about something until it becomes a Thing with a label.

    And lest to be thought I don't like "attachment parenting," I do think it sums up pretty well what we do (except I do a naughty no-no and use a *carrier* instead of a *sling* the horrors!).

  7. Cheryl, I still have not read that book. I need to. But other things keep going in front of it on my To-Read List. (Most of which also do not get read....)

    Katie, that second paragraph .... YES!!! And it's true about learning disabilities and physical disabilities, not just about Methods. Once a method (or some sort of quirkiness) has a label, then we act all weird about it.

  8. Crunchy Cons will show you exactly what Katie is describing about attachment parenting: people are more sane about a thing before it becomes A Thing. Once it's A Thing, lines must be drawn and borders defended and then nobody has fun anymore.

  9. When I started reading about attachment parenting for the first time, I thought, "Yeah...I always just called this Being a Mom."

  10. Tell you what, Susan, after you read Crunchy Cons (it really is a good read) let us know and we'll start a Facebook group devoted to becoming as crunchy as we . . . um, on second thought, never mind . . . .

  11. Meghan, YES, exactly!

    And Cheryl, were you going to say "as crunchy as we already are"? Or do you not want to be really crunchy??

  12. Oh, no, I like being Crunchy. I think Crunchy is cool. So I was joking about starting a group so we could work on our Crunchiness. You know, because Crunchy IS the Best Way To Be. ;-)