Attachment Parenting Five Years Later

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I took this photo this past summer while on our regular nature walk. And then shared it on Instagram with what  I call my insta-poem:

She often doesn’t wait for me anymore.

Down and up the trails.

She walks faster than my feet can muster.

Climbs higher than my heart can take.

A mind of her own.

Which I always love and sometimes loathe.

If I am being honest.

But I will have it no other way.

For this is how we learn

and how we love

and how we grow.

Fast forward to now.

At 5 years old, she is finally happy to go to theatre school and be apart from mama 3 days a week, 2 1/2 hours a day.

Which most kids do by the age of 3. If not sooner.

Which is totally fine, no one is judging.

You do what makes you and your family happy. I do what makes me and my family happy too.

I no longer care about getting it right.

I only care about choosing what’s right for us. 

::Pause::

Last year, I was so ready to not be so attached. I found her a pre-school and an outdoor school that I had so hoped would be a great fit for her.

She quit both of them within a month, just as I was starting to enjoy something a lot of  moms, particularly those who practice Attachment Parenting don’t get to have a lot of:

FREEDOM.

And when you pull back a mama from that delicious spacious place of liberation – resentment sets in.

And for a really good reason.

Because everyone is born to live free.

Attached Moms included especially.

And what I wish I had known then when I was first starting out as a mama is something I am only starting to really deeply grasp five years later:

Attachment and Freedom  go hand in hand. 

They are never exclusive.

They dance together in a mutual give and take. They ebb and flow when needed.

::Pause::

I had a sense that this was true because I kept hearing that if I wanted to give my children true independence, I had to embrace this stage of dependence. And that’s what I wanted for her.

I wanted her freedom.

Except I thought that paving the way for her future freedom comes at the expense of mine.

When I was a new mama practicing Attachment Parenting, I didn’t live in freedom. I didn’t give myself permission to make mistakes,to NOT KNOW what the hell I was doing, to give up control over to my husband even if whatever he was doing was not up to my silly expectations, to really put my self and my sense of well-being and bliss FIRST.

Over time, I realized that nobody is happy this way.

Living like a martyr mama hell-bent on fulfilling the ideal serves absolutely NO ONE.

I might have taken the word Attachment literally. And to the extreme, as I am naturally inclined to do.

And I suspect many other moms do too.

::Pause::

I think the spirit behind Attachment Parenting is awesome. Getting attached to the letter of any kind of parenting model is just plain unhealthy.

AP practices could easily evolve into an intensive kind of parenting that sucks your soul dry. I’ve seen it many times.

Attachment Parenting isn’t Intensive Parenting That Sucks. But without letting go of what we think it should look like, without checking in with our own inner wisdom, it becomes exactly that.

::Pause::

Five years later, Attachment Parenting in our home looks a lot like letting go. We’re still growing deep roots but we’re all learning albeit slowly how to take flight.

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Comments

  1. Christa says

    I totally understand the “letting go” phase of attachment parenting! It is odd after so many years of focusing on not letting go. It is a little scary. It almost feels like the more I let go, the more confident my son becomes in himself. The more I let go, The more he understands his own desires and what he doesn’t like. It is like I have to get out of the way so he can see himself.

  2. Vina Barham says

    Hi Christa! Yes so true….growing up is so much about letting go…same as my own journey personally. :) XoXo

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