I’ve always had strong parenting views. Before I was pregnant I used to think smacking and leaving your child to cry was essential and I looked down at those ‘gentle parents’ and labelled them all as pushovers.
Now I am a mum myself, I am one of those ‘gentle parents’. I can’t imagine ever leaving my baby to cry or hurting him.
I think all parents have something that they hate. Whether that’s cry-it-out, smoking in front of children, leaving children of a young age to go out and party. Every parent ‘judges’ in one way or another, it’s how we make the choices we do to parent our own children. But there is a difference between disagreeing with someone and being a dick.
There are loads of labels these days for different parenting methods and I am guilty of using these labels. I label myself as an attachment parent and I try to be as gentle as I can, although some days I find it hard to not lose my shit.
Even though I class myself as an attachment parent I am fully aware that other attachment parents may have differing views to me; they may formula feed out of choice, they may have never used a pram in their life (we exclusively baby wore for the first 5 months, we still babywear now but I also LOVE my pram), they may never let their baby out of their site but they’re still attachment parents like me because they tend to their babies needs and they answer their babies cries every time they can, the same way I do.
No two parents are the same. That is a fact, no matter what type of parent you are, there will be someone else who does lots of things the same way you do but they also do lots of things differently.
I am an attachment parent, but I still look forward to Freddie’s bed time sometimes. After a long day of cluster feeding, full on melt downs, food being chucked all over the place, I look forward to having a couple of hours to sit down without being leapt on for booby.
I look forward to dates with my partner. Admittedly, our dates usually aren’t the typical 3 course dinner and cinema dates. They are a nice walk just the two of us, or a drive around the city, or a trip to the amusements to spend all of our lose change we have been collecting for the past month or so.
Just because I look forward to spending quality 1 on 1 time with my partner does not mean I am not an attachment parent. Our baby loves spending quality time with Granny and Pops and he hardly notices when we are away. If he had a full on melt down every time we left him and he was miserable whilst we were away then I wouldn’t leave him. But because he’s fine with being away from us for a couple of hours we make the most of it.
I have strong views in regards to breastfeeding and I feel that every baby deserves breast milk; that is what they are designed for after all. Saying that, I have plenty of friends who don’t breastfeed for various reasons. And you know what? We get on really well.
Recent research has shown that 80% of mothers in the UK start out breastfeeding but then stop relatively soon. Most of these women stop due to lack of support and they are failed by our system. They are given shocking advice from health care professionals and family members. I have learnt to throw my frustration towards them, not the mothers who were failed.
It’s okay to have differing views to someone. It’s okay to do things differently. I am strongly against cry it out and the next mother I pass down the street may feel strongly against leaving your child to go on a date with your partner. And that’s fine. But I have been told that I am ABANDONING my baby by leaving him with my parents every so often to have quality time with my partner.
Abandoning is a strong word. Abandoning refers to ceasing to support or look after someone; deserting. If you feel that I am deserting my child by having a date with my partner, who may I add LOVES spending time with his Granny and Pops, then so be it. But that is not only an insult to me and my child, but it’s also an insult and undermines all those babies and children who actually HAVE been abandoned.
It’s fine to have strong parenting views, just don’t be an arsehole about it. Be gentle, be kind and be patient. We are role models to our future generation. I don’t want my children to grow up and think that bullying another person because they do things differently is okay. Of course you can disagree with someone, but disagreeing is different to bullying and looking down on someone.
I’m not on about those parents who don’t even deserve the title of being a parent. I’m on about the parents who try their damn hardest every day, who respond to their babies for the millionth time after taking a deep breathe and muttering ‘fucking hell’ under their breathe.
Lets just all take a seat back and think about what really matters, lets forget about the criteria you have to meet in order to be a specific type of parent. If in 20 years time my baby is suffering severe attachment issues as an adult because I dare to leave him every so often to go to work or to have a date with my partner then I will rethink my parenting choices and I’ll come and shake hands with you.
We’re all too busy thinking that we are right and every one else is wrong. Sometimes we are the ones making the right choices, sometimes we are the ones making stupid choices, sometimes we are the ones making mediocre choices and doing the bare minimum. But just because I may do things differently doesn’t make me less of an attachment parent. My baby’s needs are met, he is loved, he feels safe and secure and firmly attached to me- enough so that he knows he can be left without me for a while and have fun.
Every relationship is different; some couples don’t need to have dates to stay strong and nurture their relationship. But me and my partner do. We spent 6 months without spending any sort of decent quality time together and it broke us and ruined our relationship. We had to start from scratch and even had to seek relationship counselling because of it, so yes I do find it offensive if you tell me I am abandoning my child by spending time with my partner. I don’t find it offensive if you have different views to this, if you disagree with it then that’s fine. We can still be friends, we can still agree with lots of other things.
I am an attachment parent doing things my way, doing what I can to get by and sometimes that includes taking time to myself to recharge my batteries. And sometimes that means taking time to focus on my relationship with my partner.
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