‘Attachment parenting will set you up for – I’m not going to say failure – but for a very difficult time’, says Jasmine Homer. (watoday.com.au)
Entering a 42K marathon expecting to run a 5K race will set you up for- I’m not going to say failure- but for a very difficult time. And if you’re training with running buddies that are sprinting or running the 5K race, you’re going to have a very difficult time. And if you start off running that marathon with those sprinters and those 5K runners.. You’re going to have a very difficult time. You’re going to start out running as fast as you can to keep up with the friends that are running a shorter race. But when they get to stop you still have far to go, and with resources depleted by sprinting to keep up.
Starting medical school expecting it to resemble your sixth grade biology class will set you up for- I’m not going to say failure- but for a very difficult time. And if all your friends are talking about how easy biology class was and you’re taking that and applying it to your medical school experience.. You’re going to have a very difficult time. You’ll wonder why you’re failing the tests that you didn’t expect, and why you’re up all night studying while your friends are out partying.
Deciding to climb a mountain and preparing to walk up a hill will set you up for- I’m not going to say failure- but for a very difficult time. And if all your friends are walking up hills and talking about how it just took them an hour to get to the top as you’re struggling along to reach that peak of a mountain.. You’re going to have a very difficult time. They’ll have reached their goals long before you have reached yours, and you’ll feel like a failure even though you’ve gone much further and over a much more difficult climb.
The problem isn’t with the goal, it’s with the mistaken perceptions. It’s with the lack of preparation. It’s with talking to the people who are doing things So Very Different from how you chose to do them that you feel as though your method is a failure rather than a different goal, a different set of choices, a different destination.
If you have accidentally stumbled into attachment parenting, you’re doing a great job following your instincts. Congratulations. But you still need the right support, the right people to talk to, the right resources, and an understanding of the beginning, the middle, the milestones, and the “end” of the race that you’re running.
Otherwise conversations go like this:
“I’m so tired.”
“Oh. My baby sleeps through the night.”
“How did you do that?”
“I let him cry it out.”
“Oh. I’m cosleeping.”
“I’d NEVER co-sleep. My friend’s niece’s daughter’s brother’s cousin slept with his parents until COLLEGE. Or maybe it was high school. But it was definitely for at least the first TWO YEARS. And it was horrible. It destroyed his parents marriage.”
“You should let your baby cry it out. It’s the only sensible thing. Stop torturing yourself. A happy mommy has a happy baby.”
Instead of this:
“I’m so tired.”
“Me too. Last night was rough.”
“Sometimes I wonder if this will ever end and if I’ll ever sleep again.”
“Oh jeez. You WILL. This is my third child so I know how it goes. It feels endless in the beginning but that’s because your little one still has so many needs and is so dependent. But as they get stronger and bigger and can meet their needs better they become SO independent.”
“It’s just hard.”
“It is. Your baby’s six months old right now though. That’s a HUGE growth spurt. So what you’re feeling right now is burn-out from that. I try to know when the growth spurts are so that I know that’s why I’m struggling and it makes it easier to move through them. What are you struggling with most right now? Maybe I’ll have a trick that can help you get a little bit more sleep.”
If you’re attachment parenting and don’t have AP friends to talk to then you end up feeling like you’re spoiling your child, your child is manipulating you, you’re being yanked around by a mean puppeteer who is selfishly depriving you of everything that you need because children are horrible little creatures that need to be trained.
That doesn’t make for happiness.
It’s not that attachment parenting is difficult. It’s that being surrounded by people who are doing things differently than you.. Is difficult. It’s that being prepared for one thing and then doing something else without fully understanding the reasons why or how it will progress… Is difficult.
Attachment parenting is awesome and worthwhile. Yeah, it’s hard. Any path you choose is hard. But when you understand what you’re dealing with and when you’re surrounded by supportive people… It’s worthwhile. An investment rather than time wasted.
Find your tribe. If attachment parenting is what you gravitate to instinctively, find people who are also following those instincts. The language that you hear, the tricks you can learn, the companionship on your journey.. It all sets you up for a lovely worthwhile time rather than a Very Difficult Horrible Time.
I’m not having a Very Difficult Horrible Time. I’m having a difficult but worthwhile and meaningful time that is incredibly joyful and amazing. And I wouldn’t change a thing. Even though I really do love me some sleep.