Note: I woke up in the middle of the night itching to write this. A rare occurrence so I thought I’d best follow it. If this speaks to you, do comment below so I know my middle-of-the-night waking is not in vain.
Sometimes, I wonder.
Whether or not my kind of parenting (also known as attachment parenting) has made any good difference in my daughter’s life.
Is she better for having slept next to me the past 3 years as opposed to her own bed? Does it matter that she never cried herself to sleep? That she is still nursing when so many other young children her age have stopped at 6 months if they are lucky? That she’s been home with me all her life when most of her peers are in pre-school already if not in daycare at a much earlier age? That I’ve never put her in time out and generally try to avoid punishment and rewards as a way to discipline? That I try to connect instead of coerce, understand instead of undermine her will, model how I want her to be instead of making her behave as I wish? That I try to follow my heart instead of listening to experts that are eager to tell me how to parent?
I’ve read many a book and blogs that testify to the wonders of Attachment Parenting (technically, staying at home does not count towards attachment parenting but in my book, it definitely counts towards attachment and more). And in part, the allure of having a really close bond with my daughter won me over as much as the idea of giving her a strong sense of self that comes with rootedness in her attachments. Beginning with her attachment to me. My metaphor for parenting has been that of a big mighty oak stretching out to the heavens, but foremost grounded deeply in the ground. The grounding part is what I believe I’m called to do right now.
While I’ve seen and experienced how our relationship is making a difference in the way she is learning about life, both the seen and unseen parts of it, I still wonder.
Would she know what she knows now, and what she would know deep in her soul years later, if I never went through the trouble of grounding her this way? And if she doesn’t, would she eventually know anyway just as I have? Would grace find her the way it found me?
Whenever I look at the young boy I’m caring for (5 more days left!) and I think about the time he has spent with me, not his mother, I wonder.
Is any of it making any difference?
I can’t be certain for her, but I know it is for me.
:: Pause ::
Parenting is not easy, but doing it the “Attachment Parenting” way seems to require a bit more sacrifice on first glance. Some days, when I count the cost and start to wonder whether any of it was unnecessary, I doubt my parenting path.
I don’t wish to condemn any parent who has made parenting choices different from mine. I believe that we are exactly where we need to be in our journeys and that we are all growing up so beautifully in our own unique ways. I believe there is always a good reason for our choices, even if we don’t quite understand them fully. I’m sure that the pull towards Attachment Parenting was not always purely altruistic on my part (some co-dependent tendencies needing to heal? the allure of rebelling against the status quo?). But it nonetheless magically pulled me in and I have knowingly set the course my daughter is on.
And unknowingly set the course my soul would take. Because this kind of parenting, whatever you wish to call it, has changed me inside out. It has helped me see that every action we take is almost always both physical AND spiritual. That it’s never just one or the other. It has helped me see what it means to be born again, to be like a child, to honor and embrace and celebrate childhood just as much as we do adulthood. It has helped me see that meeting a need is important, whether they belong to a 30something-year old or a 3-year old. And whether or not we deem them epic or small. And most especially, it has helped me trust that there is always a way. A way to meet those needs, especially when they appear to be conflicting at the moment. And that it just takes small, courageous, creative and conscious efforts on our part to find that happy holy way.
And so while I wonder about all these things, I also have to Trust.
Not so much in the wonders of Attachment Parenting, but in myself. In my Conscious Intentions. In Growth. In the Wisdom that has guided my way. In the Divine Voice that has gently nudged, corrected, encouraged and strengthened. In the Grace that makes all things Good. In the Love that makes all things Beautiful.
:: The End ::
What about you? Are you an Attachment Parent too? How has it changed your life? Please share!