Restore Balance
In Your Daily Life

If you’ve ever found yourself unwashed, surviving on only cheese sticks and graham crackers, while wearing the same sweat suit for weeks simply because you are afraid to put your baby down for fear of emotionally scarring him -- this article is for you.

attachment parenting

Attachment parenting (AP) is a wonderful and nurturing parenting model that is growing in popularity. Techniques like babywearing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding on demand, extended breastfeeding and positive discipline work together to help you build a loving, connected relationship with your growing child. But as an attachment parent, it can sometimes be hard to strike a balance between being available to your young children and taking care of your own needs.

The challenges of new parenthood are intense. Being an AP mom takes it up another notch. Like many new AP moms, I was convinced that the world might end if my baby cried or if I didn't utilize all his moments of quiet alertness for bonding. But the truth is, AP doesn't ask moms to run themselves ragged without ever taking a moment to replenish themselves. In fact, striving for balance in family and personal life is one of the main principles of attachment parenting. Below are some helpful tips on how to restore the balance in your daily life:

Ask for help

Do you ever find yourself feeling like the Cat in the Hat with dishes stacked on your head, a baby in one arm, laundry in the other, dinner cooking on the stove and a couple of toddlers swinging from your ankles? One of the things that many AP moms complain about is feeling like they have to do it all. It is true that as an AP mom a lot of the parenting responsibility falls on your shoulders. Breastfeeding alone can take many hours of your day when you have an infant. However, it is important to remember to ask for help when you can. Family members and friends are almost always happy and even honored to be asked to help, especially if you can offer them specific instructions. Cooking, cleaning, watching older toddlers and even babywearing are great tasks for which you could ask assistance.

Schedule some "Me Time "

Everyone needs to get out and recharge occasionally. Whether it's yoga, knitting or salsa dancing you enjoy, make sure to schedule some "me time" for yourself each week.

Boredom is a gift

I spent the first few years of motherhood feeling like I was on-call to my children. Unless they were asleep, I believed I should be playing or interacting with them in a meaningful way. While I certainly enjoy my children's company, over time I began to feel drained and somewhat empty. I began to question if I had an identity outside of being a mom. Gratefully a good friend of mine saw what I was going through and offered some excellent advice. "You don't need to do it all," she said. "Children need time to explore and discover. Boredom is a gift. For both of you." She was right. My children don't need me every second to learn and grow. Give them thirty minutes and an empty toilet roll and I'm amazed at the things they come up with.

you have an identity outside of being a mom

It is wonderful that you've dedicated yourself to your family in such a nurturing way. But putting your family first does not equal ignoring yourself. Remember that you will have more to give if you nurture your own self. Keep up with your hobbies. Stay in touch with your friends. Go on dates with your husband. Do the things that keep you connected to who you are and you will have much more to offer your children in the grand scheme of things

Attachment parenting is not supposed to be hard

Dr. William Sears, the founder of the attachment parenting movement, says, "Attachment parenting may sound difficult, but in the long run it's actually the easiest parenting style. What is 'hard' about parenting is the feeling 'I just don't know what my baby wants' or 'I just can't seem to get through to her.' If you feel you really know your baby and have a handle on the relationship, parenting is easier and more relaxed. Attachment parenting early on makes later parenting easier, not only in infancy but in childhood and teenage years. The ability to read and respond to your baby, carries over into the ability to get behind the eyes of your growing child and see things from her point of view. When you truly know your child, parenting is easier at all ages."

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Comments

Comments on "Lessons from the attachment parenting underground"

mariah March 14, 2011 | 6:46 AM

for class

London City Mum November 16, 2010 | 11:49 AM

You know me. I offloaded them into nursery as soon as they could cry and went straight back to work. Bad mother. Next! LCM x

Mayra Calvani November 15, 2010 | 3:11 PM

I didn't know about 'ttached parenting.' Thanks for this informative article.

parenting ad absurdum November 15, 2010 | 11:11 AM

Fantastic article Naomi. So on board with the boredom is a gift. When my kids say they are bored, I suggest to them that since they don't like the 4000 toys and books and things to play with in their playroom, maybe we should donate them to children that would...that usually works :). peryl

Mommy Crib Notes November 15, 2010 | 9:06 AM

Good reminder to all parenting types because I find that no matter what style a mom chooses (with her partner), she will run herself ragged trying to do it all. I am super proud of myself this week because I caught a cold and actually pushed the kids and husband out of the house so I could be alone to rest. (Didn't actually rest the whole time though.) Plus, I have a shopping date with a girlfriend scheduled this week too. I'll be looking forward to that date all week and I know I will feel much more enthusiastic about being a mom having had some "me" time and some shopping bags under my arms.

MisssyM November 12, 2010 | 10:54 AM

"Cat in the Hat with dishes stacked on your head," haha! Inspired- that is me!

EmmaK November 12, 2010 | 8:54 AM

I suppose I am lucky in that I only had the upside to attachment parenting. My babies never wanted to be carried or held etc just very contented on her own most of the time. The breastfeeding on demand and co-sleeping were just so convenient really. I am not much of a schedule person!

Laura McIntyre November 12, 2010 | 6:44 AM

I really enjoyed the article and i agreed 100% with everything you said including all the helpful tips. I guess i fall into the AP parenting catagory , i have 3 children and with the first two it was easy . I did not struggle and it was a joy. With my 3rd it was more difficult and i wish i had followed some of your "rules" . I actually wished i bottle fed him at least partly , he did not sleep or go longer than an hour between feeds (and we are talking just newborn , up till about 16 months he done this) . I guess what i really wish is just asked for help with the situation rather than just trying to carry on alone leaving myself and children misrable (He is now a happy well adjusted 26 month old who sleeps great , breastfeeds not so much and makes me smile everyday . But the journey was hard)

Heather November 12, 2010 | 6:30 AM

I bought in to the whole AP parenting thing with my first but it damn near killed me. holding them, cuddling them, touching them all the time, even whilst sleeping. It drove me nuts, I needed time each day without someone clinging on to me. Thankfully I then decided to chill out about it all and just do what felt right for both of us at that particular time and things improved. Erica Jong wrote a post about attachment parenting the other day too.

inmandyland November 11, 2010 | 8:25 PM

What a refreshing take on AP! P.S. I'm going to have to remember "boredom is a gift" the next time my four-going-on-fourteen-year-old claims he's bored. "Really, darling? Do you like it? I thought this particular boring was a PERFECT match for you." Great article!

Truthful Mommy November 11, 2010 | 1:59 PM

Love it! We all need to give ourselves a little room to breathe and explore.And NAP for God's sake when they nap! Sleep make sit all easier. Of course, that's just what Ive heard. I actually know nothing about sleep or well rested parenting. but I have heard great things:)

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