Monday, December 13, 2010

Parenting Perspective

Okay, I admit it. My husband says I'm part of a cult. And sometimes I agree.

How so? Well, I'm a bit of a [says in quiet undertone voice] attachment parenting mama.

Flee while you still can!! I am one of those! You know the kind, the ones who are active (or like me, used to be active since I have NO time right now, but still give advice when asked) in La Leche League (which speaking of that, there are 2 awesome groups, one in Hebrew and one in English running in Jerusalem right now- email me for details).

The kind that breastfeeds a toddler, interested in baby led weaning or baby led foods, tries to wear or hold her baby as much as possible, doesn't believe in cry it out sleep training, has co-slept with her baby for now close to 2 years, and still has her in her room when not... I know. I'm a freak. I'm facing it.

It's not a cult, I tell my husband- I raise a happy, well adjusted, independant, smart, courageous and adorable toddler this way! Her needs are met, I am in her life, despite working during the day, and all is right with the world! And then he conceeds, that yes, everyone is happy- and then mutters "LLL, it's a cult" under his breath. And we both laugh.

Now. I am usually a very non-judgmental person. I try very hard to be like this. The problem is usually not me- but people around me. Like for example, if someone mentions she's giving her one year old milk, and I remark, "Oh that's nice.", she immediately feels she has to defend herself and say, "Well, I breastfeed for a year, and now I need a break, and I'm happier and so is he, so now we stopped nursing."

Okay lady. I get it. And truthfully, a side of me says- yay! You are happy and your baby is happy! So what's the problem? I certainly don't care! I think 3 days of breastfeeding is a huge accomplishment and mothers should get awards for it!
Yet AP parents get a flak, sort of, of being judgmental of others' parenting, so hence the response.

Yay! I'm happy you found a bedtime routine that works for you. Do you really think I care that your kid is in another room than you? Do what works! As a wise friend once said- if it ain't broke, don't fix it. (Now, if you let your kid scream for hours alone to get that result, don't expect me to praise you. I may nod and say, OK, but I'm certainly not going to lambast you in public for it. If I feel you are receptive to a comment, I may recommend The No-Cry Sleep Solution as an alternative.)

So I'm throwing this out to the blogosphere. Do you feel people judge you on your parenting style? Are you judgmental of others? Do people feel they have to defend their style to you?


sporadicintelligence said...

I co-slept with my baby out of convenience, and I got such flak from my mother, now my baby sleeps in his crib next to my bed, which was actually what originally intended, but I love co-sleeping, and my baby usually ends in my bed after the last feeding of the night, so we wake up with a warm and fuzzy feeling, and we don't tell my mother :)

As for other people, I'll usually have some parenting book or article backing me up, and people don't like to mess with "authority", even if it was just a an article in the Mishpacha :)

nmf #7 said...

Sporadic Intelligence- Hah- I also co sleep because I'm lazy :D Or as you say- out of convenience. And eventually I told my mom- and she was fine with it :D

But I'm more referring to people trying to explain themselves to me- as if I'm this person who has to be appeased, and who has to approve of their own parenting style.

Geigerin said...

I find that the folks who feel a need to explain are sometimes not confident they made the right choice. Like my girlfriends who talked about how hard it was to CIO and would leave their husbands to listen to their screaming child while they walked outside because it was too hard. I'm certain they struggle with that choice for a long time.

I think it has less to do with my response and more to do with how they feel about their own choices. Kind of like when our little girl was smaller and we kept explaining why she was sleeping in our room and :gasp!: had no room of her own. People certainly asked questions, but I felt the need to act sheepish or embarrassed because *I* wasn't comfortable with that decision yet. (Now I am, and I talk very freely about co-sleeping.)

Geigerin said...

Oh, and I'm with you on co-sleeping out of laziness. Who wants to traipse in the next room to nurse at 3 am? ;)

smb said...

I personally feel that a baby from 0 to 20 months should be comforted when they cry. Some people say let the baby comfort herself, but I feel that at such a young age, they need their parent. Later they can learn to comfort themself.

more experienced said...

as an old and older mom.... first of all, what's with the "co-sleeping"? it's called sleeping in my bed!

but when I get your extremely spoiled and bratty child in my classroom, you will have to deal with things you ignored when they were two years old. good luck, new age mommas

Geigerin said...

@ More Experienced- Co-sleeping is generally used to identify rooming-in. It can be sharing a bed, having a bassinet, co-sleeper, or crib attached- or next-to the bed, or a mattress on the floor for a toddler. (And many other variations, like my friend in central America whose daughter sleeps in a hammock over her bed.)

As far as 'AP' kids being spoiled and unruly, I'm sure that happens. But kids who sleep in cribs or spend more time in strollers than slings can also be difficult. My mother told me every day how beautiful and smart I was. I was breastfed into toddlerhood and treated with respect and compassion. That may be new-age, but I was top of my class, received a full academic and full music scholarship to college, and have a close relationship with my parents to this day. (And teachers loved me!- I was a focussed student and a leader in the classroom.)

You can't assume the students in your class are a challenge for you because they were breastfed, carried around, and didn't cry themselves to sleep.

more experienced said...

geigerin, sorry I wasn't clearer, you missed my point.
I am a BIG believer in breast-feeding, did all my kids till almost three. I also love my kids, tell them so constantly, and was an actively involved at home mom whose kids all read very young, were verbal, secure, and successful as children (and adults). My point was more about the negative tone I felt from nmf#7 towards those parents who allow a child to cry out to sleep at times. Also, the idea of co-sleeping out of sheer laziness is an example of not dealing with the sometimes unpleasant realities of parenthood. THOSE parents are the ones I was referring to. Geigerin, you sound very well adjusted with no self-esteem issues. Good for you

sabinas said...

i like this blog too!
my kids slept(and sometimes still sleep) with me as well and i always picked them up when they where crying, and everybody has its own way, i'm not judging anybody.
too bad you stopped writing!