Feature image from TUMBLR
With a little one on the way, I have been doing a great deal of research into parenting. I am watching parents around me and asking new mothers what is working for them. I am listening when people give me their own list of ‘Must Do’s’ and fearful warnings. Everyone parents differently, but there are a number of broad styles to choose from. Helicopter parenting, Authoritative Parenting, Permissive parenting, natural parenting, slow parenting and attachment parenting.
Everyone parents differently, but there are a number of broad styles to choose from. Helicopter parenting, Authoritative Parenting, Permissive parenting, natural parenting, slow parenting and of course the dreaded - Attachment parenting.
A few people have told me that it is hard to know what kind of parent you will be until it happens, but one thing is for sure, I won’t be practicing Attachment Parenting. For those of you who are unaware of Attachment Parenting, it comes down to this… It is an approach to raising infants that aims to promote the closest kind of relationship between the baby and its mother by methods such as carrying the baby all the time, feeding on demand, doing whatever the baby wants and letting the baby sleep with its parents. Firstly, the name is a little insulting. I mean what parent isn’t attached to their kids?
From what I can see, attachment parenting kind of makes me feel sick. I hate watching it in action, I hate being told how great it is, I hate talking about it and I hate hearing how I just have to practice it. There is something incredibly stifling and claustrophobic about attachment parenting.
When I think about being a mother and practicing attachment parenting I feel physically ill. I can’t imagine a worse reality than being consumed with the life of my new child. I lay awake in the middle of the night and my world crushes in on me. I don’t always want to have the baby with me, feel it’s movements and hear it’s voice.
I don’t want it’s breath always in my face and it’s movements touching my body. Babies are needy, they talk and move and chatter and cry and demand things all the time. I’m barely alright with it being inside me for the duration of the pregnancy. I am struggling enough with the pregnancy. Nobody tells you that there is no escape and no way out, that the baby is present in every moment of your life.
So why do I have such a strong reaction to this way of living. Well, you see I am an INFJ. I am an introvert. I find two social interactions in one day draining. I don’t like being called in the middle of the day. I hate it when people pop into my house unannounced. I like my own space and I like closing the door. I am finding pregnancy claustrophobic.
Attachment parenting is not for everyone and promoters of attachment parenting need to acknowledge this. The importance that people who practice attachment parenting (who practice it well and love it) put on other mothers to fall in line is overwhelming.
Attachment parenting for introverts is a disaster. ONE WOMAN was so overwhelmed with pressure to practice attachment parenting that she was left thinking she had failed as a human being. Attachment parenting, on-demand breastfeeding and co-sleeping with her child left her feeling exhausted and in desperate need of refuge.
“I would argue, however, that the first step to being a good parent is being a self-aware person. It is knowing and honoring your own limits. I believe that we are better parents when we work with our nature rather than against it.” BEISNER
Introverts who take parenting advice from extroverts will always feel like they are falling short in many areas. Introverts require periodic alone-time in order to function properly, so a constant connection to their children is simply not reasonable.
In understanding that attachment parenting isn’t for everyone, I need to acknowledge that it definitely suits others. There are people who are wonderful at it, and I couldn’t imagine them raising their kids any other way. I just wish they where a little further away from me while they are doing it.