Making the Choice to Love
As with many other mothers I discovered a number of my choices as a parent, directly conflicted with my perceived notion of parenting, prior to having child. Not exclusive to this realization is my choice in parenting style.
It seems that as a new parent I found my prior views on the parent-child dynamic to be challenged as I felt the need to co-sleep, babywear, and strived to be proactive and attentive to my daughter’s needs. This new concept was given a title when I became a parent: Attachment Parenting.
The advice others openly give regarding my parenting varies greatly from: support; to those who intentionally made me feel I’m not doing enough to really be there as a parent; those who subscribe to some of the same views I had prior to actually having a child; and those who believe I am spoiling my child by tending to her needs.
I didn’t have much in the way of consistency in loving parenting as a child, having struggled with the battles of a “broken” childhood. Yet deep down my inner woman seemed to speak with me about the truths of the mother-child dynamic.
To me, and my husband, this call I have to be an aware, conscience, and hands-on parent had to have some truth; I have never been one to ignore my inner voice.
When my daughter was an infant it was easy to defend my choices, with minimal questions. Additionally being a working mom I could justify my actions by telling myself (and more often others) that I was making up for that lost time. Stay at home moms have many struggles to face, but they get to enjoy being with their little ones every day. Please understand I have the highest respect for stay at home moms, who have the toughest job of us all: raising good people. If I am honest, I must admit I am at times jealous of these moms.
But recently something has changed in my house, my daughter turned 2. With her in full fledged toddlerhood, it seems the social pressure to “cut the apron strings” is present; I must be firm and consistent I am told. Time-outs/ins and consequences are frequent topics of conversation during the brief and infrequent moments I get with my husband, without my daughter around.
Do we stay consistent with the standard day care protocol of time outs with firm reinforcement then hugs and kisses for consistency across all boards? Or do we implement a time in with hugs then discussion? Of course there is the notion timeouts are more effective and take less time than time-ins but is that even true?
How do we raise a responsible community minded child, when assaulted with the requirements of being a working parent, whose time conflicts for household upkeep, social responsibilities and marriage on top of being a parent, let alone an “attached” parent? It all seems to conflict strongly with each other.
How does that work, is it possible to be an attached working parent? Or is that in itself juxtaposition, incapable of co-existing; I would be inclined to say no.
During this recent change in my family life, I have started to really look at this aspect a bit more. Prior to this point, most of my choices as a parent have been clear cut: breastfeeding=good; co-sleeping=good; cloth diapering=good; traditional foods=good; babywearing=awesome; extended rear-facing car seat=good; and the list goes on.
My discipline however is still developing, as I haven’t had the need for it until now, when my daughter has started to become independent and capable of making choices. With all the reading and research I have come to just a few solid conclusions but the rest is hanging in limbo somewhere.
I have however confirmed my belief that love must superseded anger and disappointment during the taxing trials of teaching a child social awareness, community, and respect; in additional to all the other various lessons we, as parents, teach.
At this prime age when most people around me seem to believe I should be cutting the strings, I am reaching out to hold my daughter more. After being so far away, physically and mentally from my daughter, at times for a matter of days on end, I don’t want to send her away any more.
I seem to understand without a book telling me what to do, that usually what my daughter really needs is a hug, and not a time out when: she is not listening, climbing onto furniture, throwing toys, kicking, screaming, running away and many other things.
In the moments when she is the most difficult; it is because she needs more love. Being a working parent can at times be challenging to our choices in fostering socially aware children.
We are required to be away more than we want to and finding ways to keep the bonds we have built strong is a constant difficulty. It is not impossible to be an attached parent while working; it just requires a different level of commitment and acknowledgment.
Attached parents come in many forms, from different backgrounds; some work out of the home; some work in the home raising these new people; and others are fostering those who need temporary homes. It doesn’t matter the make or model of our family, we all strive to focus our words, touch and actions with love as the prevailing language and lesson for our children.
And knowing that makes the next hurdle in parenthood that much easier to face.
For more on Attachment Parenting visit www.attachmentparenting.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A Berkshire transplant, Alisa is a: tattooed mom of an almost 2yr old girl; a photographer; singer (with her local chapter of Sweet Adelines International); writer; trained Doula (labor and postpartum support); and all around life enthusiast. She supports her family with her “day job” as a bookkeeper and fills her need for artistic expression in many diverse ways. When she is not making a mess with paints and her daughter; playing pranks on her husband; gardening; or hiking with the dogs; Alisa can be found working on her passionate dream of becoming a full-time photographer (Common Moments) and doula. firstname.lastname@example.org