May 15, 2012 by Marj Hatzell
Surely by now you’ve seen that ridiculous Time cover and possibly read the articles that went along with it. If you haven’t, get out from under that rock you are under and try reading a newspaper or somethin’…I’ll wait while you Google that shiz.
Anywho, I got to thinking. I was/am what you’d call “AP” or Attachment Parent.I’m not some militant freak who doesn’t shower and makes everything from scratch. I don’t stalk Dr. Sears and there’s no one single, solitary focus to my parenting style. We do what we do because it makes sense to us and it works for our family. I do not, however, do stuff to make other people feel like they have to keep up with the Jones. Joneses. Whatevs. I don’t berate anyone who doesn’t practice what I practice. In fact, I think those articles painted most AP parents in a very bad and unfair light. There’s no competition folks.
You wanna know what attachment parenting is? It’s about getting in tune with your child’s needs. It’s about finding ways to support them emotionally. It’s about parenting to the best of your ability WITHOUT GUILT. It’s about being truthful with yourself, educating yourself and doing what’s best for your family. Not following some cult blindly, not copping out and slacking off, not doing stuff because other people do it, not feeling like crap because you don’t.
You wanna know what I despise? Mommy wars. In my world, they don’t exist. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You just have to be true to yourself and your family. And, remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
In the Autism and special needs worlds? Yep. Mommy Wars. I choose not to get involved. I do, however, advocate for my children to the best of my ability. I’m there for them as much as I humanly can be. I do probably do a bit more than the average parent (see? I’m making progress admitting this Special Parenting thing is HARD) but there is no Hardship Olympics. This isn’t a competition. We should be there for each other, no matter the disability. There shouldn’t be anyone made to feel inferior because they aren’t Autism Parent of the Year or because they didn’t win some list with their blog.
If you can truly say you do your best parenting, to the best of your ability? Good enough for me. If you don’t do a damn thing and you know it? This is a call to action. You can do better. Your kid needs you to do better. No excuses. And don’t feel like I’m judging you. It’s up to you and it’s between you and your own personal demons, mmkay?
Me? I’m glad I was an AP parent. I feel that due to my children’s issues it was the best darn thing I could have done. Not the cloth diapering part (that didn’t last long) or the breastfeeding part (that did last long). The part where I attempted to parent a little differently, constantly educate myself and support them emotionally to the best of my ability while doing my best to help them developmentally. Cosleep? Yes, we did. We do. When they NEED it. Every night? No. Only when they NEED us there. Most nights my kids want to be in their own rooms, in their own beds reading or listening to music as they fall asleep. It wasn’t always that way, but we let them feel secure in their own time. And The Guy I Live With slept on the couch a lot.
But for realz, the way I parent my kids? MY BUSINESS. What you do? YOUR BUSINESS. If it isn’t working for you or for me? We need to look at what we’re doing and see where we can change things. What I do know is my kids are happy, confident and well-adjusted, considering their challenges.
And that’s ok by me.