How was your week last week? Mine was decent – was very productive, had a few naps, talked myself out of a panel spot on CBC Radio’s “The Current”… You know the one – the show that averages 2.5 MILLION listeners… Yep, I am that awesome.
Why would you do that, you might question. Well, I didn’t realize it at the time – you see I’m under the weather, my baby goes for his one week away, I was really pressed for time to get a project completed, so when the phone call came I was more than a little distracted. After a rousing bout of phone tag, we finally connected and I think I gushed out – of course I want to be a part! (The other two panel guests were these amazing entrepreneurial, well known and established moms and they were asking me to join! Insert squee here.) However, I had neglected to remember that first you must have a quick interview with a producer or producer’s assistant – I am imagining it is to ensure you don’t spout off like a lunatic (which I obviously did). The panel was to talk about this week’s hot button – attachment parenting vs feminism. One panel member was a lovely proponent of attachment parenting and the other (obviously) an equally lovely feminist. Instead of asking what she was looking for from me, I went into the whole foot in mouth thing. What? What do you mean you have to be one or the other? I am both – I am attachment parenting and a feminist all at the same time, why the deep divide? (Although I assure you dear reader, that I was nowhere near this eloquent.) What is with all of these experts touting their beliefs when they’ve never even experienced all sides of the debate?! (Again not so eloquently.) Looking back now, I think this statement was the one that solidified my polite dismissal. Heck I wouldn’t be surprised if she considered me an uneducated, delinquent with all the “answers”. She graciously thanked me for my time, said she needed to call her senior producer and she would let me know if I was a fit – well, I knew before she phoned that I wasn’t. So here is my much more thought out view of said “hot button topic”.
Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears, is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences. Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child’s socio-emotional development and well being.
When I read the above two definitions from Wikipedia, I don’t see how they can be pitted against each as virtually opposite forms of idealism. Let me explain.
Yes I am a single mother, yes that brings some challenges and some benefits, but ultimately I am just like any other mother out there. I make decisions on how to raise my children, myself. Therefore I see myself as a part of each ideology. I absolutely attachment parent – I co-sleep, I don’t like being without my children, I try very diligently to be extraordinarily sensitive to their needs and I do try to have some natural parenting tactics. I believe in positive discipline, I try to buy organic (when I can afford to) and I love that people wear their babies – I wish I had had the knowledge and opportunity to do so – however, they really were never far from my side. However, I do use drug store sunscreen, have visited McDonald’s and do allow them to play video games and watch TV. I nursed one child until he was three and one child until he was nine months, both were very personal decisions for me – my three year old wanted comfort at nighttime (no he never stood on a stool and “suckled” as shown in the contentious ‘Time’ cover) and it didn’t affect my life in any way so why not?) I would have liked to have nursed my nine month old longer but I almost died, so I couldn’t. (Story for another day.) I had one natural birth – albeit still in the hospital, and I had one with the blessed epidural.
I also see myself as a feminist – I don’t rely on a patriarch to solve my problems or make decisions for me. I absolutely agree in equality for all and there is nothing that I consider a gender related job (other than growing a baby). I fix my own car where I can, renovate my own house, manage my own money and fight my own battles. I still follow my passions (see this blog?) and I attend events that I am interested in – without my children. I still travel with my friends, I love getting pedicures, really, I still take care of me.
I believe that my children will grow up seeing their mother, not as a feminist, nor as a proponent for attachment parenting, but rather as a strong, loving Mother that did her very best (mistakes and all) to bring up well-balanced, healthy, independent, community-minded, confident, HAPPY children. Ideologies aside, isn’t that what we all want?
The fact is, that as a parent, you make the best decisions for raising your children – at that time, with the information you have, living in the circumstances you live in, with the strength that you have in you.