“Why Attachment Parenting drives some mothers to extremes…” reads the sub-head of the much debated TIME Magazine cover. It immediately affirms that the author is NOT an attachment parent. If she were, she’d know the truth: that most of us do this because we’re NOT extreme. We do this because we’re laid back and would prefer to work with our children’s needs than waste time and energy altering or denying them. Many of us get into Attachment Parenting, not by design, but by accident, because it was the intuitive (aka easy) route. Yes, the truth is that attachment parents are, in many ways, lazy.
It is true that, generally speaking, we do this because it fits with certain overarching values that we have. We do it because we feel it benefits our children now and in the future. We believe that the psychological foundation we’re creating will help to make our children into strong, empathic adults who can form healthy interpersonal relationships because their first relationship – that of parent and child – was so secure. But let’s be honest, NO ONE actually makes all of their daily decisions about the minutiae of parenting with that sort of forethought. Not even this notoriously overthinking mama. If you want to know the truth about why I choose AP, not as a philosophy, but as a daily practice, have a look at this snapshot of my thought processes:
Why spend hours reading safety reviews for, and assembling a crib when you could just tuck the baby into the (appropriately prepared) bed you already own?
Why get up and trudge to another room in the middle of the night to feed a baby if you could just roll over, aim a breast in the right direction and go back to sleep?
Why spend hours plugging your ears to a baby’s scream to get her to fall asleep alone if you could just cuddle her for a few minutes and then enjoy a movie with your partner in peace and quiet?
Why wake up and listen to a monitor to check the baby is still breathing in another room if you could stay asleep feeling him breathing right next to you?
Why speed home from work to catch the last precious minutes before baby goes into his crib for a book-prescribed 12 hours if you could drive safely knowing you’ll get to snuggle him all night long?
Why blend and strain food into oblivion, and coax it into the mouth of a baby too young to do it himself, when you could wait another month or two and simply move a piece of broccoli from your plate to his?
Why spend an hour trying to airplane a bite of food into a kid’s mouth when you could just trust her instinct to stop eating now, and start again well before she starves to death?
Why stalk magazines for tips on filling the gaps in a picky toddler’s diet if the answer could be as simple as ‘nurse her’?
Why count ounces of milk and worry over growth charts if you can let baby eat as often and as much as she wants and know she’s the perfect size for her?
Why struggle to explain to a child that he can’t nurse because he’s 366 days old instead of 365 if you could just continue to enjoy the relationship, knowing that it WILL end either way and that one day you’ll look back and realize it was over in a flash?
Why try to navigate a busy mall/market/airport with a bulky plastic stroller when you can just strap the baby to you with a beautiful piece of fabric and go?
Why race home for elaborate go-to-sleep-in-a-crib routines if baby can sleep in a sling while you stay at the party a little longer?
I know, I know, it’s all so EXTREME, isn’t it??