Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How The Other Half Lives: The Truth About AP vs "Traditional" Parenting

So last night a blog post was brought to my attention from the blog "Waiting For That Special Little Miracle". I have read what this blogger has written in the past and her posts are usually pretty scattered. One day she blasts AP the next day seems to support it. I am ok with that I suppose.. people need to come to things in their own time but her post last night did get a bit under my skin.
Here is what she wrote, " Attachment parenting. I hate it; well, 90% of it (only thing I agree with is baby wearing, and even that is to a certain extent; not until they are two...). Extreme; and wasteful energy spent on catering to your child(ren). Co-sleeping=dangerous! Extended breast feeding=excessive and emotionally damaging. No "discipline"=have you seen kids in our society now days?! They are lacking discipline and running over everyone! Honestly....I was spanked, I slept in my own bed, and I didn't suck at my mother's tit until I was three, and I am a healthy, intelligent, well mannered, well rounded, and well behaved individual. There is a fine line, and I think what everyone needs to do as a parent is come up with what works best for them. My child will have time outs, and they will have spankings (as a last resort). They will know to respect their elders, and they will know the consequences if they don't. Sorry...just really had to get that out. I'm sick of people who do attachment parenting trying to shove it down others' throats like they are better than everyone else because they do it." 
Aside from the writing, which reads much like an online slam diary instead of what is supposed to be a heartfelt and informative blog, there is the matter of what is actually said here. Let's break it down. I will first say that this blogger has never actually had a child. She is currently about 23 weeks pregnant, so she doesn't actually know what she will do as a parent. None of us do before we actually hold that baby in their arms. The 1st thing I take issue with though, is she seems to think baby wearing to 2 is insane. So I would like to know what her cut off is, or what she thinks constitutes baby wearing. A child well past 2 even into 3 or 4 still has tiny legs, and can not walk as far or fast as an adult and tires easily. My son has been walking unaided since around 9 months yet at almost 3 yrs old he still enjoys our ring sling and I enjoy using it because when a child is tired you WILL end up carrying them, why not in a sling?
The second thing is co sleeping. Now you all know how I feel about co sleeping and how much research and posts on the subject, but let me say it once again, Co sleeping when done carefully meaning either bed sharing or in a co sleeper next to the bed, is known to reduce the chances of SIDS as well as  reduce infant stress levels, increase helpful hormone levels for both baby and Mommy, and skin to skin contact while sleeping can help colic and calm baby's stomach. Any case I have ever read of a baby dying during co sleeping always then mention (usually in a quick passing so as to lay most of the blame on EVIL CO SLEEPING), the parents were always either on drugs, drunk, co sleeping on a couch, on some sort of sleeping pills, or otherwise impaired. We co slept with our son from the first night we brought him home. He at almost 3 now still co sleeps with us often and ends up in our bed every morning.
Extended Breastfeeding is the third thing she talks about. I won't go into too much on that since I have written over 10 or so pro breastfeeding posts.. but I will just say Breastfeed as long as you want. It doesn't damage your child. There has never been an ounce of proof to back that up.
The forth point she makes is that she is under the impression that because AP parents do not spank or smack or hit or beat their children that their children are not disciplined. Sure some AP houses might employ less than normal discipline but most of us have no issue saying "NO" often. My son hears No a lot. He hears it when I say "No that is hot don't touch", or "No you can't have that toy in the store that you are asking for." what he almost never hears is "no don't do that" when referring to jumping in a mud puddle, playing in dirt, cutting up yarn or paper, creating something.. even messy, or helping me cook or in the garden. He also rarely hears "No I don't want to or no I don't have time for that." We make time because we have all the time in the world.. but he will not be little for much longer. As it is he is almost 3. I can make time. What he does hear a lot though is "how can we do this better?" or "You know where that goes, why don't you go and take it there?" That last one is usually said when compost or recycling is put in the garbage instead of where it belongs.
After all of that though she then says that AP parents cram their beliefs down everyone's throats. Here is where I take the biggest objection! I titled this post "How the other half lives". I wasn't doing it simply doing it for clever word play. Most non AP parents do not realize how the other half really lives. They think they have an side of it but the truth is in the 3 years I have been a parent I have never ever heard an AP parent "cram" any thoughts down someone's throat. I have however seen firsthand the opposite. I myself  have had close friends and family say all of the following over the last 3 years. (I will add I know anti-circumsicion and cloth diapers aren't part of AP persay but they are part of our lifestyle).

"Cosleeping will kill your baby so you are retarded and a bad mother"
 "You shouldn't breastfeed passed 6 months there is no point"
"Aren't you done breastfeeding yet?" (keep in mind we only made it to 9 months)
" Here are some disposables because you will want them when you come back to earth and realize you don't want to use cloth"
"Go do that in a bathroom (breastfeeding)"
"AP parents are bat sh** crazy"
"You look like a cow or slave woman when you breastfeed"
"You co sleep????? what is wrong with you!"
"I only breastfed a few weeks but that is all the baby really needs and besides I had to go back to work I didn't have all that time like you do". (1 I was a full time student while my son was a baby.. and 2 I know loads of full time working Moms who EBF) (Heard that one from at least 3 people)
"Cloth diapers aren't as great as people think... they are just as bad for the planet" (This particular one after I proved her wrong she admitted she just felt bad because she was too lazy to use cloth.)
"Why would you use cloth diapers... they are unsanitary and gross"
"Start them CIO early  or you won't ever get any sleep" (My kid has never CIO and slept through the night almost from day one)
"AP parents are weird and they think they know everything"
"If you baby wear that long he will never walk" (He walked on his own at 9 months and started walking while holding onto things at 6 months)
"Why would you carry your kid in a sling when you can just push them in a stroller?"
"God commands us to circumcise you are going against the bible"
So you would think with hearing all of that I would be a crying wreck in a bathroom somewhere having been beaten down so badly for my beliefs. Perhaps I would have if I hadn't spent almost my entire pregnancy as well as at least part of every day since doing mass tons of research and learning through experience and doing what felt right to me as a parent.
So I will end this little rant of mine with a few words of wisdom from a truly knowledgeable source. My son! In answer to the question "How do you feel about riding in a sling, being breastfed, having had cloth diapers, eating organic home made food, and always being close to Mommy and Daddy?" He had this to say, "You are a really good Momma, I love you." In the end that is what matters... that our children feel they have been given the best start in life possible and that they feel properly attached to us enough to feel comfortable leaving the nest someday. In the end no matter what you choose to do as a parent you should always go into it having done as much research as possible because someday your child will either say "You are a really good Momma"... or they won't. I know my son doesn't feel that way because we buy him lots of toys or take him on expensive trips or don't discipline, because we don't do any of those things, he feels that way because we care where the food he eats comes from, that he is properly loved and cared for, and nurtured when he needs it. He feels that we truly love him, because we show it in everything we do. THAT IS ATTACHMENT PARENTING!

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