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  1. I have always found AP friends of mine to be super super exhausted! Although the militant followers have criticized me for: letting my baby cry, not wearing baby all the time, and the lack of natural foods, I feel that I can be a better Mama when I’m balanced. Great article. I wish all new Moms could hear both sides before they commit themselves to something that may or may not work for them/their child.
    Rachael @ http://www.parentingandhomeschoolinginfaith.com

  2. It was really nice to read this. I haven’t had the same AP struggles, but we also started locking my 2 1/2 year old son in his room at naptime and bedtime. I really struggled with the decision to start doing it, but he won’t stay in his room otherwise. He usually tries the door knob only once before laying down and going to sleep. I unlock him before going to bed myself so he can walk into our room in the morning. It just works for us! I know one day we won’t have to, but for now, we keep the velociraptor locked in the cage for sleepytime!

    • Honestly sometimes it’s the best and safest thing for all involved. Mine is 4 now and I know he would understand so I choose not to, but it sure made our life much more sane for a long time!

  3. L

    I have two children. One I nursed and one I was not able to nurse. They are both attached to me just fine. There were huge benefits to not nursing….other people could take the baby! I see attachment parenting as a religion. This philosophy was not around in the seventies when I was born and somehow I became attached to my mother. Shouldn’t these attachment mom’s be tolerant? Isn’t that supposed to be a part of the entire AP hippie movement? Sounds like very little tolerance to me hence why I give it the religion label. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that and get so exhausted.
    Happy to hear you’ve found a way through it and got help for the depression.

  4. Leah

    Thank you for your posts! I’m 22 weeks pregnant with my first and I have a lot of anxieties about becoming a mother and being “good enough”. Especially in a very low budget family: cloth diapering is our plan because heck, then hopefully we can afford more food and emergency things! I tend to start feeling guilt over things like “oh you need 100% organic” when we can hardly afford fruits and vegetables to begin with when we’re trying to save for the future and I have the appetite of a quarterback.
    It’s just nice to see the message that I will be enough for my baby! Thank you for being so uplifting and honest!

    • Your fears and emotions are so normal! I still have days when i wonder if im “good enough.” This motherhood thing is tough, but kids need love, patience, acceptance, and quality time with their parents, even if that means they eat toast and a banana for dinner…ahem…not that that EVER happens in this house, or tonight, or anything like that. :)

  5. Bearfoot Mama

    I stumbled across this piece of writing while frantically googling gentle sleep solutions for my three year old, I feel I’ve tried it all and have practically resigned myself to simply dread bedtimes and say goodbye to time alone until he is a teenager. For the upteenth night in a row I’m in tears, asking myself why I can’t give more than I am capable of, why I am failing. I also battle depression & anxiety, I spend much energy connecting with my son, we spend each day all day together & we have a wonderful relationship. I love it, but it drains me, big time, and sometimes (a lot) I struggle. I bully myself for failing to live up to these ridiculous standards I have set out, because the research is there to support what I should be doing. I totally agree with the approach but I find myself wearing thin, yelling when I don’t mean to then wasting what little ‘me time’ I have drowning myself in mothers guilt. Thankyou for your honesty, because *gasp* your words validate the notion that I don’t have to be perfect according to a book or method (which is great, because I’m NOT!!) It’s ok to pick & choose what works for not only my son, but also me. Thankyou thankyou THANKYOU xxx

    • Barefoot Mama:

      Sometimes, you have to set the research aside and look at your son as a person – doing what works for him. Some kids need firmer boundaries and personal space (I’m learning this myself with my son, who is now 4) so that both you and he can function more reasonably. I can tell you that I was in that place – the pouring my life into him, then getting overwhelmed and lashing out or yelling, then drowning in the guilt. And now, giving him a physical boundary (like a lock on the door or telling him he can’t hug me sometimes) or letting him self soothe with crying for 5 minutes has been far LESS damaging then the yelling was. And I’m a much happier and healthier mama too. Can I also direct you to this post? Individual parenting styles, Individual Needs

  6. I think that what I get from Attachment Parenting is a bunch of “best practices”, but I don’t think that not doing it is bad. I think that it’s just a philosophy and doing a few things might be helpful in a family or might not. I think it just depends on the situation and the baby. And the mom/dad know best! And you do need sleep! I call it airplane rules…sometimes you gotta put on your gas mask first or you can’t help anyone including your child.

  7. Alicia

    Amen. From a mom of 2 boys, soon to be 3 boys in a couple months, Amen. I think it’s sad that we even have to defend the way we chose to parent, and I also think its ridiculous to expect perfection of ourselves all the time, yet both are true. We also had to lock our youngest in his room for a while because he would get out of bed and was literally a danger to himself. We let both our sons cry at times, because quite honestly, it’s important for children to learn from a young age that life does not revolve around them 24/7. Does it mean we don’t love our boys? Of course not! Honestly, letting my boys cry as babies was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I knew it was best for them. And you know what? My boys are 6 and 3 now, and are two of the sweetest, most loving boys who are perfectly well-adjusted. I’ve read some of those attachment parenting articles, and honestly some of it sounds just plain ridiculous to me! Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. Any mom who judges or criticizes that has not been in a position where sometimes you have to make these tough decisions for everyone’s sanity. Ok, stepping off soap box now. :-)

  8. Luna

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience.I am so sorry you had to go through all that, not to mention be treated so unforgivably by people on social media.

    I’m approaching 6 months pregnant at the moment and I was really taken with the idea of AP at first but was also really scared too, as my mother suffered with terrible depression and anxiety after having me and I felt that the physical commitment and lack of sleep that AP requires would be likely to bring on the same thing in me. But AP is all you seem to hear about these days while other methods are seen as unfeeling, outdated and over bearing.

    Then I read Pamela Druckerman’s book ‘French Kids Don’t Throw Food’ and I started to understand that this whole AP thing isn’t embraced by everyone or every society and that not depriving myself of sleep or generally martyring myself in the name of motherhood isn’t going to damage my child’s long term health or sense of security! That rules and boundaries are not the enemy of a well adjusted child. That there’s a chance that I can have a happy healthy baby and sanity!

    I am really glad that AP works for some women and their children, if momma and baby are happy using AP then that just rocks! But I’ll definitely be following the ‘whatever works for you’ school of parenting myself!

    • I’ve heard amazing things about that French book! I’m glad you are doing a lot of research and going into motherhood knowing to look to do what works for you!

  9. Lea

    You said: “That I’m sending some sort of horrible message to him that I’m not “there to protect him,”

    Is this really an horrible message to send?
    Really, should a child grow believing that the only safe place in the world is with his parents or should the role of parents actually teaching them that the world can be a safe place?

    Last week a group of 18 years old adults college students vandalized a place at their school, throwing a party with 120 people and destroying everything. The only thing they did is “calling mum to sort things out”

    Am I wrong into believing, and facts I’m observing tells me I’m right, that all this attachment, lack of thought love and excessive protection is just promoting a generation of either fears ridden, fragile kids or narcisist and careless kids?

    I don’t think the role of a parent is to protect her children, the role of a parent is teaching the children how to protect themselves in the world. Protecting them is just a consequence of that role (just like a driving licence teacher next to you, making sure you don’t screw it up before having mastered car driving) not the main role.

    I’m meeting 4 years old children who refuse to go for a walk with their mothers because their legs hurt. 5 years old children who refuse to have their temperature taken because “it’s uncomfortable”.

    And of course their mothers are not teaching them to accept some discomfort, some pain, some hard work, the mother just say “oh sweety, mommy doesn’t want you to do something you don’t like, I love you the way you are”

    There’s no concept of pushing the child, of helping him to overcome his hears (rather than accepting the and cuddling him some more just to point out that he will always be afraid, unless mommy is there) of giving him the tools to fight his insicurities.

    This hoard of mothers who think childhood should never have anything to do with sufference, with pain, with discomfort, with ricks (without realizing how ridicolous this is: even learning to ride a bike is about pain and discomfort and fear) are growing a generation of emotional frail, sedentary, weak, insicure children who feel safe only with their parents, who are never taught how to push their comfort zone and who live in a la-la land of poor kids television and political correctness.

    A friend of mine is a 23 year old woman living with her parents. She went through a similar education: love and cuddling, love and cuddling, nothing-I-wouldn’t-do-for-my-child, mom-is-here, I-will-always-protect you and what she grew up having problems talking to other children in elementary school, slept in the same room with her parents will 11, had depressive thoughts about her parents dying and living her alone in a tough, cruel world at the age of 14 and is now suffering from panic attack anytime she must leaves home for a few days.

    In my opinion if a child asks a parent: “mom, why are you here?” the best answer is not “to protect and take care of you” but “to teach you how to thrive in this world without me”

    Extreme child-parent physical and emotional independence is not a positive thing, the umbilical cord is long gone and that child is an individual, no matter how little, he/she is already on his/her own, experiencing life through his/her body and mind. He/she is an a mission to discover the world, to discover what’s like to be a human being and day after day must learn something new to be abel eventually to survive on its own.

    In this journey the parent is a guide, a navigation system showing you the direction, not preventing you from reaching whatever direction by holding you tight and never letting go.

    In my opinion a baby, that learns that mum and dad are not always there for him/her, learns the best life lesson there is. This will break the excessive interdependence cycle which is always started by the parents, never the child, but to which the child becomes emotionally dependent to. I have no doubt such a child will have more self-esteem, more socializing skills, more drive to try new things, less emotional fragility, less or no fears and phobias.

    But for a child to think “yes, mum and dad will always be there for me” is the same as thinking “and there’s no other place in the world where I can feel safe because the world is dangerous and ugly” and this can go on, even subtly, even into one’s 40’s and 50’s. We don’t know how many of hour insicurities, fears, weakness depends on the excessive attachment, smoothering and dependence our parents have created in our childhood.

    And this facebook cult of mothers writing lists on how to “grow an happy child from 0 to 21 (good luck having a socially functional 20 years old with those premises) on facebook, tells more about the insicurities and fears of what their life will be once the children are gone than on the real need of their children. It’s a cult and all cults are dangerous and feed into someone paranoias.

    • These are very interesting thoughts. I think, as with most things, there is a balance. But, theoretically, and especially the older my son gets, I tend to agree with you. I think young people today are growing up with a lot of lack of identity. On the other hand, some kids are very resistant to independence (I have one of those) and so it’s a fight to try to foster and create that. I’m only one person who is chronically exhausted so I give into my son’s desires probably more than I ought, but he seems to legitimately need more human interaction and help soothing than others, and always has. *sigh* It’s hard to know!

      • Lea

        I think there’s nothing wrong, of course, with love and touch and affection. But they’re natural byproduct of the relationship between parents and children. In fact if one must “remind herself” to give love and give touch, is it even real love anymore, since the spontaneity is lost and it’s more about fulfilling an ideology?

        The same for attachment: there’s no need to promote attachment, to seek it relentlessly, attachment is natural byproduct of being a parent, there’s an abundance of attachment, an over-abundance. What actually is lacking and what is necessary to create the independence which is ultimate goal of a child is detachment, progressive detachment. That’s the secret ingredient.

        I don’t think there’s anything wrong with affection, love and touch but I think there’s a problem when it gets in the way of promoting independance, accepting discomfort and experiencing life lessons.

        Pragmatically speaking: how a stronger bond is going to benefit the child anyway? That same child which will be a 12 year old in middle school, a graduating high school student, a 22 year old man, what it will need to thrive “the memory of a mother excessive smoothering” or the ability to be disciplined, self-confident, motivated, responsible and social? The natural bond is there, and it’s there in 100% of all children, but what an even stronger one is good for?

        When I see all these facebook quotes “the secret to grow a good and happy child is love” I always think: oh yeah? Love is a given, love is there with no need to nurture it and is not enough, sometimes it’s even an hindrance, to grow a happy child. Happiness, for a human being in a social world, is the ability to enjoy the outside world, without fearing it.

        I speak from personal experience as a smoothered child who learned discipline, control, discomfort acceptance and will power through sport later, what I needed as a child to be happy was to overcome my fears, my doubts, my insicurities instead my parents never helped me to fight them, because that would have been “traumatic for me”, the idea of pushing me through some discomfort for a bigger reward in life was unacceptable to them. I was loved, deeply loved, I was kissed, I was hugged, I could sleep in my parents bed but i wasn’t happy, I was attracted to the world but I was scared of it, I felt safe only at home with my parents and they did nothing to show me otherwise.

        No, love is not enough and it’s not even that important. I mean there’s a parent, there’s a child, of course there’s love, no need to focus on it. So after this platitude is set, it’s time to move to concrete stuff, to what is needed to enjoy your ride through the mistery of life and the world.

        Focusing on “love” as the only thing a child need to be and grow happy and well adjusted in the world is like focusing on salt as the only ingredient needed to make a good lasagna; focusing on the obvious and ignoring the way more important aspects of a successfull lasagna.

  10. Valeria

    Thank you for writing this. Attachment parenting did not work for me either but it is so hard for me to accept that without feeling guilty. Breastfeeding was the greastest challenge of my life as i was never able to get my son to latch on and i still suffer with this. My son is 9 mo now and i still pump day and night plus supplement with formula. I have always had a hard time wearing my baby so i use the stroller very often. I am unable to sleep at night if my lo is in the bed so he sleeps in his crib. However i wish i could do all of that. I feel like i suck as a mom and i am constantly depressed. Hopefully i will have peace one day like you do and accept the fact that i am not the perfect “natural” mom that i wish i was.

    • Glad to hear I’m not the only one who can’t sleep with baby in bed! Sounds like you are a phenomenal mother, especially if you are still pumping!!! Go you! Really!!!!!

      Go hug your baby and pat yourself on the back for being an amazing mom.

  11. Antonia

    Wauw , you actualy seem like a real mom to me ! Great story , thsnk you for your honesty and great your taking care of yourself !!

  12. Mousumee

    I needed, desperately needed, to read this today. I found myself saying “exactly” or “so true” after every sentence. I am quite tired of trying to be this perfect mummy but more than that, I am tired to the bone of being judged when I am not-so-perfect. But enough is enough. Something has to give and in this case, it’s the “idea” that you can be the perfect mother by you either follow one rigid parenting philosophy or the other. I am a mixer and matcher and finally, I am happy with that.

  13. Anonymous

    Thank you for writing this article. Parenting is one of the toughest jobs we will ever encounter. I’m unsure about this generation tho. The judgement, criticism and confusion is all but too much. If we take a look back to the decades of parenting we will find each generation thought they were right. When in fact , studies show, none of them worked hence why we have moved to the attachment era. Or wait, maybe that was the 60s-70s too. The same parenting style that apparently leaves kids feeling entitled to everything. There is no clear cut way to raise a child. Nothing is more awful then feeling like a failure. What we need in 2016 is mom’s that encourage each other. Embrace each other. Protect eachother. I don’t know you hun, but from what I’ve read, you love your children. You are a good mom. To feel better, you must take care of you first, and that is OK.

  14. Anonymous

    Babies, toddlers and children alike are not given enough credit. These beautiful tiny souls are much smarter than what we give them credit for. They have a natural ability to control and manipulate. It’s not a learned behaviour. It’s in their nature.

    • Cindy

      Exactly! If little junior has always been that way in your mind, it’s because he/she trained you to do their bidding or suffer them crying their eyes out till they get their own way. Feed them, burp them, diaper them, acknowledge that they need to go to the bathroom, hold them, love on them… meet all their needs and you decide the schedule that works for you. Keeping in mind teething and increased feeding needs sometimes. Don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself, you can’t be a good mom without enough sleep. A lot of good sense in the comments I’ve read too.

  15. Niki

    Your post is well written. Thank you for reaching out with your story. I understand the struggle. Just know you are a great mom. Someday the fruit of your labor will be revealed. Until then, from one mother to another, be patient, stay strong, take care of yourself and let your intuition guide you. You know what’s best for you and your children. Hugs

  16. Can I just say a man can I just say how happy I am that I don’t see a slew of comments backhanded and nasty judgmental mommies did you delete them all because every time I read a blog
    On a mother’s journey away from attachment parenting the comment section is plagued with comments like questioning the credibility questioning if you actually know what AP is carefully dissecting every part of the article and turning it around.
    I expected someone to say something about your husband and blaming him I seen a lot of people blame husbands it’s like no one realizes how much AP puts the mother behind the wheel
    I’m actually to the point where I don’t even bring it up in public because you never know if someone is going to gently tear you to shreds because they’re such a gentle person and all so understanding except they blamed thier own spouse or my spouse for deploying or idk
    Just the babywearing all the time my daughter is huge!
    Starting dishes 20 times in a row because she wants costume or a toy or this and that.
    She’s fed has a healthy snack in front of her fully rested I spend a hour to myself and the. A hour with her.
    My hours are always spent on errand or cleaning or preparing meals for her.
    My husband helps plenty he keeps the electricity on goes to work commute at 4
    Drives an hour back home.
    I picked our house out I really get free reign.
    When he finally gets home I don’t expect him to do much but be in a good mood with me and my daughter he does a lot on the weekend. Yard work repairing things taking things to donation. Plays and answers every request during the week and weekend from our little girl.

    This is tough. We almost decided in a divorce mutually. He wanted his wife back but I was too nervous to leave our daughter with My inlaws.

    • It depends on what mood I’m in when the comments come in! I moderate all comments and some I don’t allow through – especially if they are totally nasty.

  17. Cindy

    I like your article. Balance is key to it all. Use what works when it works and do something different when it’s not working. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. One thing that I have learned after many children is that the sweet little babies are very demanding and self-centered in their way of being. If you have met all of their needs and they still want to cry, too bad for them sometimes. They will live even if they have to cry. The world doesn’t revolve around them. They want what they want and they want it now. One other thing, they are very smart, smarter than we give them credit for. They will know and understand what you are saying before you even realize they can. Enjoy your babies but you need to be the boss and not be bossed by them. Also, sometimes they cry when they have to go to the bathroom. Great article, thanks for speaking your mind.

  18. Jodi Hammond

    Just want to say thank you for your honesty. It takes real strength and courage to open up the way you have. I found myself in tears while reading this…as I have shared a similar journey through mothering – I want to do everything the best way for my child but lost the balance that I need in my own life. My daughter is 18 months and I have finally done a “sleep learning” routine with her this last month and it is helping throughout the night. I want to also thank you for saying that your child continues to cry while putting himself to sleep, as I feel my daughter will be the same for a while still.
    And most of all, I want to thank you for just being real. For being raw. There are so many times I have felt like I’ve totally failed at being an awesome mom in the past 18 months and it’s just absolutely broken my heart and made me obsess over everything, throwing myself into a deeply anxious depression.
    But like you, when adjustments were made and I let go of what I thought I should be doing and started doing what works for me and my baby, I became a better mom during the day and my baby smiles more too.
    If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that “There is no one-size-fits-all method for parenting”.

    Bright blessings to you and your family.

    • Jodi, you are so very welcome. Ezra will be almost 6 and still has trouble self-regulating and hates going to bed at night. My new baby sleeps well. So MUCH of it has to do with the temperament of your child. Hang in there. Sleep training can be a wonderful tool. The important thing is that you are rested and taking care of yourself and that your baby is getting as much sleep as possible! Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are a bad mother, because you sound like a great mom to me!

  19. Georgia Davies

    Hello there,

    On the 3rd December we celebrate International Day of People with Disability. This year’s theme is Achieving 17 goals for the future we want. This draws attention to how we can create a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.
    With this in mind, we’ve created a “Deaf Friendly Games for a Children’s Party” piece which could be of interest to your readers and supporters of the day.

    As the title indicates, the infographic gives several tips and ideas for parents who are holding a children’s party where deaf children may be in attendance. The games suggested are inclusive, allowing all children to play together.

    You can find the infographic here: https://www.woodentoyshop.co.uk/blog/deaf-friendly-games-for-a-childrens-party/4673

    If you enjoy the piece and find it a useful resource for you site, beautifulinhistime.com, it would be amazing if you’d consider republishing it? If so, we’ve added some easy embed codes that can be simply copied and pasted onto a page/s of your choosing.

    Also any feedback or comments would be very much appreciated.

    Kindest regards,

    Georgia

    • The only thing I didn’t like about your post was how short it was! It was BEAUTIFUL!

      I loved this: “Still, you cannot put an equal sign between physical closeness and mental bond”

      YES!

      How many kids do you have? Have you done AP with all of them?

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