Photo: Julie Hagan
As a parent are you attached to your kids? Well, that seems to be kind of a silly question. Most, if not all, good parents are attached to their kids. It’s natural. You love them, you form a bond with them the minute you first look into their eyes and think to yourself, yes this one is mine, my child. You are attached to them. But as far as the term “attachment parenting” goes, I am just not a fan of it. I prefer detached parenting. You won't see me with my baby strapped to me in one of those slings, co-sleeping, making organic baby food for my cloth diaper wearing offspring. It's just not my thing. So does that make me a detached parent?
How will you know if attachment parenting is your thing? If you look through your magazine rack and find a copy of that crunchy mom magazine entitled Mothering, you are probably into attached parenting. If you gave birth in your bathtub on your ranch in upstate NY with only a midwife, two doulas, your life partner, and 26 of your closest friends and family... then all signs point to attachment parenting as your mothering motto.
A detached parent like me had a completely medically supervised birth in a state of the art hospital, with a male OB present that not only induced me, but did all kind of medical interventions in the birth, such as break my water. As a detached parent I also chose not to breastfeed. "Gasp," went the attached parents reading this! I didn't want to breastfeed for a completely selfish reason that I will only admit to you fine non-judgmental readers. I didn't want my breasts to sag. I am quite attached to them in their full perky state. Oh, and I also heard that formula fed babies sleep through the night sooner. Plus bottle-feeding allowed my husband to step up and help out more then saying, "Honey, can I bring you a glass of water and are they supposed to be oozing like that?" Not for me. And neither were cloth diapers. I know that they seem to be better for the environment and I hate to spit in the face of Mother Earth, but I don't care. Bring on the Pampers, Luvs, Huggies, even the generic Target brand of diapers will do in a pinch, but no way no how I can deal with the mess and work of cloth diapers.
I did buy a sling. But not really a "sling" sling. I bought the yuppie parent's answer to a sling...the Baby Bjorn. And really the only reason I bought it was because it was so crazy expensive that it was more like a status item for your baby. Yes, for only 80 smackers you can have the prestige of wearing your baby as a necklace. It's almost as good as a Hermes scarf, but heavier and will actually projectile spit up on your chest as you walk through the mall. Not for me. You know what I did love and become attached to? The great convertible infant carrier, car seat, stroller system. Now this is a valuable item for the detached parent. You can actually run errands and bring your new baby, in and out of many places and not even have to remove them from their seat. Brilliant! Other items that are the antithesis of attachment parenting include the vibrating bouncy seat, swing, bassinet, play mat or anything that you can place your baby in and actually take two minutes to jump in the shower. Otherwise to me attachment moms must wander around all day, baby securely in their arms, or sling, dirty. Can't really shower holding a baby can you? I tried once and almost dropped my slippery little eight-month-old daughter to the floor of the shower. Just caught her by her head. Never tried that again. So much for my shot at attachment parenting.
Now don't misinterpret my detached parenting skills. My two beautiful daughters are four and one and I adore them dearly. They are my life, my love, and I can't imagine being without them. I think they are the most perfect children ever created. I sometimes just marvel at my baby’s perfectly pink chubby cheeks or how her big sister kept sneaking glances my way during her ballet class and blowing me kisses. Most of the time I feel like my heart now resides outside of my body and walks around reflected in their perfect little faces. If that's not the definition of attached, then I don't know what is. But at the end of a long hard day when there where one too many tantrums thrown, or meals refused I am so glad that I can take them upstairs to their own room, where they sleep in their own bed or crib and I don't have to share my bed with them. There is some separation between us and it’s healthier for me. That there is still a “me” outside of parenthood, detached in many ways but always attached to them.
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