I’m pretty confident everyone with a child over 14 months knows, at least deep down, that their kid can be a bit of a shit sometimes. Don’t get me wrong Luisa is funny, she’s loving and smart and I wouldn’t trade her. But she can be a right brat when the notion takes her.
I know that she’s a small human who’s brain is expanding rapidly making thousands of new connections a day. I appreciate that the world is big and scary and changeable. I understand that she’s testing boundaries, looking for security and developing her own personality. But. She is killing me slowly.
I’ve never had any time for anyone who dares to utter the famous ‘rod/back’ analogy. So if you’re tempted to peddle that you’d best leave now.
So, back to the title, am I an attachment parent or a martyr? I’m not really sure and honestly not a massive fan of sorting people into neat little boxes based on their life choices. I get that people like to associate with those who share a viewpoint but I feel like these labels often divide and can be too rigid to accommodate our vibrant personalities. With that said I do identify with a lot of the attachment parenting philosophy.
Attachment Parenting is an approach to childrearing that promotes a secure attachment bond between parents and their children. A person with a secure attachment is generally able to respond to stress in healthy ways and establish more meaningful and close relationships more often.
Sounds great right? But what does it mean in practical terms? Babycentre have some ideas about how to practice AP in the early days;
- Breastfeed your baby on demand. As well as nourishing her, you’ll be comforting her with your familiar smell and the warmth of your skin.
- If you’re bottle-feeding, hold her close, look into her eyes, and watch for cues that she’s had enough milk.
- You could try babywearing, by keeping your baby next to your body in a sling.
- Sleep in the same room as your baby, for at least the first six months, so you can respond to her quickly at night.
- Chat with and sing to your baby when she’s alert and content, following her cues so that she feels heard and listened to.
- Treat your baby’s cries, and as she grows, her tantrums, as her way of communicating. She is asking for your help when she cries, and your guidance and reassurance when she has a tantrum.
Again, all sounds fab, simple, intuitive – right? But what does it look like for us now? Now that we have a toddler who still wants to sleep in our bed and breastfeeds round the clock it doesn’t feel as wholesome and sweet.
Don’t get me wrong I know that natural term weaning is around 4 and bed-sharing into early childhood is actually really common. BUT i’m exhausted, i’m spent, i’m done. I want my life back, I thought this was meant to make my child secure and independent. I’m still waiting for all the benefits to manifest and i’m starting to worry if I am (dare I say it?) cutting off my nose to spite my face.
So where do I go from here? Do I start introducing naughty corners, reward charts, send her to nursery and don’t look back, go out of the house to work knowing she’ll be crying for me, close the stair gate on her bedroom door at night? None of that appeals to me at all. But we can’t stay like this. No personal space, little time apart, exhausted working late into the night. I’m starting to wonder is all this attachment even doing her any good?
Who knows? Answers on a postcard please.