Monday, May 28, 2012

Mom, I am.

Welcome to the I Am Mom! Enough! Carnival hosted by Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama and Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children. This Carnival is dedicated to empowering ALL parents who practice and promote and peaceful, loving, attachment parenting philosophy. We have asked other parents to help us show the critics and the naysayers that attachment parenting is beautiful, uplifting, and unbelievably beneficial and NORMAL!

In addition to the Carnival, Joni from Tales of a Kitchen Witch and Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy are co-hosting a Linky Party. Please stop by either blog to share any of your posts on the topic.

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Post topics are wide and varied and every one is worth a read.

Parenting beliefs are like religion: lots of people have them, it's easy to get in an argument about them, and no two people are wrong.

Yep, you read that right: regardless of what (spiritual or parenting) path you're on, I don't believe you're doing it wrong.

Life (to me) just isn't that black and white.

No one person has the right answer, the magic solution, the perfect approach to life for all other people on this Earth. There is just far too much diversity (thank goodness!) for that to ever ring true to me. Each unique person has the power to explore and discover for herself what works best for her and their family, what resonates with her, and what feels most authentic to her as a parent, an individual, and a human being.

A few years ago, at the recommendation of our counselor, Jaymz and I read a book together about Attachment Theory (called The Attachment Connection) which resonated with both of us and  helped to inform our understanding about the effects on children of secure versus insecure attachment. After reading that book, we were further motivated to foster secure attachment in our future child through our parenting practices.

In imagining our future life with our new child, I found that I didn't want to clog up our home with a bunch of baby "gear," so I thought about what we would really need to prepare for our child's arrival:
  • I wanted to wear our baby close in a sling most of the time, so we wouldn't need a stroller right away (though we were gifted one later help us all cope through the worst of the crying times from Daniel's SPD).
  • I knew I wanted to sleep with our baby close to me to facilitate breastfeeding and to make nighttime parenting easier, so we didn't buy a crib. I researched safe bed sharing practices, and Jaymz and I set up our bed accordingly, so we could co-sleep with less worry. We slept together in the same bed for a while, and then when that wasn't working for all of us anymore, we explored other options: a cradle by our bed, then a floor bed nest to our bigger bed, with various combinations of us in different rooms for parts of the night. A few months after Daniel night weaned, we transitioned him to a floor bed in his own room, which is where he continues to sleep today. The bed is big enough that one or both of us can comfort him back to sleep there after a night waking.
  • I knew I wanted to breastfeed because of the health benefits. Besides, that, breastfeeding is the cultural norm in my family system: my mom had breastfed me and my siblings and she still speaks of it fondly; Jaymz's mom breastfed him and his brother. I knew that Worldwide and among other mammals in nature, the natural age of weaning is much older than you might expect, given the breastfeeding rates here in the US. I ended up really enjoying breastfeeding Daniel, and I decided I wanted to continue as long as we both wanted to. 
  • I knew I wanted to cloth diaper because of the benefits to the environment as well as the cost savings to us. After explaining the cost analysis to Jaymz, he was even more sold on the idea.

Besides the simplicity and relative cheapness of these parenting practices, there were other things we decided to do which aligned with our aim to be connected and intentional about the way our family works:
  • While I was researching various cloth diapering options, I learned about Elimination Communication and I thought, "Why not give it a try?"I believe that practicing EC with Daniel has allowed us all to be more in tune with his elimination patterns, which in turn, has helped him to use the potty sooner and more consistently.
  • Gentle discipline feels like an extension of my protective instincts: I don't want to cause my child pain and I want him to trust me. I also want to use discipline that is both effective and respectful. Having grown up in homes that used punitive discipline methods makes gentle discipline more challenging for Jaymz and me. We have to be intentional and mindful about it, checking in with ourselves in the moment to avoid reacting without thinking first.
  • We decided to keep Daniel intact for many reasons. Most of all, circumcision just didn't seem necessary. It turned out to be very much a non-decision for us: no fuss, no blood, no out-of-pocket expenses. 
  • I strive for balance in life. I'm definitely not perfect at it, but for me it's a process, a series of decisions and prioritization; it's not a destination.

Attachment Parenting found me. I didn't go out seeking a guru in Dr. Sears to tell me how to best parent my child, and I have to be honest: I haven't read many parenting books from cover to cover. I only discovered that this parenting style had a name when I was preparing for Daniel's birth. I was just following my instincts—trusting myself—and I stumbled upon a whole supportive community of people (in the Attachment Parenting and natural parenting crowds) who had similar values and priorities that I have as a parent.

The principles of Attachment Parenting resonate with me as ways I want to live my life, not just ways I parent. A few of the beliefs widely accepted by the AP/NP community can be seen as health and safety issues (which may be why our voices come out stronger when advocating for these things): breastfeeding, gentle discipline, (anti-)circumcision.

My passionate expression of my own beliefs and the fulfillment I get from the way I choose to parent doesn't mean I think anyone else is wrong for choosing differently than I did. I know we're all doing our best as parents. That alone is enough. I don't see this parenting gig as a competition; we're all on this journey together, traveling side by side.

My existence as a human being makes me enough.
You are enough, too. 

I am more than content to coexist peacefully with you regardless of your parenting style.

I am Mom! Mom, I am.

Thank you for visiting the I Am Mom! Enough! Carnival hosted by hosted by Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama and Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants and check out previous posts at the linky party hosted by Joni from Tales of a Kitchen Witch and Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy: (This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 28 with all the carnival links.)
  • Good Enough? — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy writes about how Good Enough is not Good Enough, if you use it as an excuse to stop trying.
  • The High Cost of High Expectations JeninCanada at Fat and Not Afraid shares what it's like to NOT feel 'mom enough' and wanting to always do better for herself and family.
  • TIME to Be You! — Becky at Old New Legacy encourages everyone to be true to themselves and live their core values.
  • I am mom and I have had ENOUGH — A mother had had ENOUGH of the mommy wars.
  • Motherhood vs. Feminism — Doula Julia at encourages feminists to embrace the real needs and cycles and strengths of women.
  • There Is No Universal Truth When It Comes To Parenting — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how parenting looks around the world and why there is no universal parenting philosophy.
  • Attachment Parenting Assumptions — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings argues that attachment parenting is not just for the affluent middle-classes, and that as parents we all need to stop worrying about our differences and start supporting each other.
  • Thoughts on Time Magazine, Supporting ALL Mamas, and Advocating for the Motherless — Time Magazine led That Mama Gretchen to think about her calling as a mother and how adoption will play an important role in growing her family.
  • Attachment Parenting: the Renewed Face of Feminism — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children embraces her inner feminist as she examines how the principles of attachment parenting support the equal treatment of all.
  • What a Mom Wants! — Clancy Harrison from Healthy Baby Beans writes about how women need to support each other in their different paths to get to the same destination.
  • Attachment Parenting: What One Family Wants You To Know — Jennifer, Kris, 4 year old Owen and 2 year old Sydney share the realities of attachment parenting, and how very different it looks than the media's portrayal.
  • We ALL Are Mom Enough — Amy W. of Amy Willa: Me, Mothering, and Making It All Work thinks that all mothers should walk together through parenthood and explores her feelings in prose.
  • A Typical Day Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares what a typical day with her attached family looks like...all in the hopes to shed light on what Attachment Parenting is, what it's not and that it's unique within each family!
  • The Proof is in the (organic, all-natural) Pudding — Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World talks about how, contrary to what the critics say, the proof that attachment parenting works in visible in the children who are parented that way.
  • I am mom and I have had ENOUGH A mother had had ENOUGH of the mommy wars.
  • Time Magazine & Mommy Wars: Enough! What Really Matters? — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter encourages moms to stop fighting with each other, and start alongside each other.
  • Attachment parenting is about respect — Lauren at Hobo Mama breaks down what attachment parenting means to her to its simplest level.
  • I am an AP mom, regardless... — Jorje ponders how she has been an Attachment Parenting mom regardless of outside circumstances at Momma Jorje.
  • The first rule of Attachment Parenting is: You Do Not Talk about Attachment Parenting — Emily discusses, with tongue and cheek, how tapping into our more primal selves actually brings us closer to who we are rather than who we think we should be.
  • Mom, I am. — Amy at Anktangle discusses how Attachment Parenting is a natural extension of who she is, and she explains the ways her parenting approach follows the "live and let live" philosophy, similar to her beliefs about many other areas of life.


  1. I like that your post summarizes that there are many ways to parent and one way isn't superior than others. My entire life I thought that my grandma was difficult to talk to and showed little affection but a lot of sarcasm. A couple of years ago, she shared with me how she grew up. How her parents raised her (with lack of affection from her mother and an alcoholic father). From that, I could see why she acts the way she does and how she parents is an improvement from her childhood. You never know what someone is going through. I am learning that as an adult.

  2. Fantastic Amy, I can totally relate with your reasons for drifting towards AP, although I came upon them a bit later. I didn't have the foresight to research much while I was pregnant... oh well, at least I found a fabulous bunch of ladies sooner rather than later :)

  3. Great post! I don't read parenting book, either.

  4. Great post...not that this is a surprise!

    Even though my parents practiced AP back in the 70's (when it was just called parenting), I never sought out AP as my parenting method. It simply was what I knew, what fit, and what I believed in for Tiny. I took what worked, infused it with other approaches, and have a great parenting system.

    I agree that we try to make parenting black or white when in fact it is basically all a muted grey. I stopped reading parenting books too. They were making me second guess myself which didn't do anyone in my family any favors! I just go with my gut.

    Thanks for joining this Carnival!

  5. No two relationships look exactly alike, and this includes parent-child relationships. I love that you say that you are parenting the way you want to live your life. SO true!


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