There’s this label going around, you may have heard it: “Supermom.” If you aren’t pregnant and don’t have kids, you may not be aware that there is a battle called ,”The Mommy Wars.” I don’t really know how it all got started but I do know that it seems to be Attachment Parents vs. Everybody Else. Attachment moms have been dubbed, “Supermoms. Don’t be deceived, it’s not a compliment. It’s used like this… “Ugh, don’t listen to these ‘Supermoms’ who tell you not to let your baby cry it out…” Stuff like that.(Rant coming, consider yourself forewarned, now would be a good time to whip our your air-quote fingers) Well, I guess I fit into the “Supermom” category because I practice attachment patenting. Whoopdy-freakin-do. Yeah, I think that’s ridiculous. Want to know why? Because the reason why I’m so obsessed with doing everything “right” and “per what the experts say” is because I’m actually: “Super Insecure.” That’s right. I am. I’ve never done this parenting thing before and I want to do it right. And you know what’s “Super Fun?!” Everyone and their mother wants to tell you what’s “right.” Experts from different philosophical orientations will tell you flat out contradictory information. So you know what? I’m just basing my parenting decisions on what feels right to me. I’m not trying to be “Super!” Well… that’s kind of a lie because of course I want to be a super mom, but “Supermom?” Gag me. The thought of red spandex makes me want to hurl. (You can put your air-quote fingers away now)
So here’s the deal, most of us get all bent out if shape when we see someone parenting different than we do. Why? Because we’re all insecure. That’s right, I’m calling you out too. Deep down under that confident exterior we are all at least a little insecure about parenting. Let’s face it, there is no owner’s manual. Each kid is different. Each parent is different. There are so many factors that play into this thing called parenting. So when someone does something different than us, it’s almost like they’re flat out telling us that our way is wrong. It’s so hard for us to admit that there’s a lot of gray in life. There’s not black or white. Now I think we could all agree, if you have half a brain, that abusing a child is not stellar parenting. Other than the extremes, however, there really is a lot of gray. Gray is annoying though. I’d much rather there be black and white so that I could KNOW that my way is right and feel really good about myself.
So there it is. My self-analysis. I’m insecure. I don’t like when people do things differently than me or question my decisions because it highlights my insecurities. This is when I have to work hard to hold onto my values and remind myself that we are all just doing the best we can. Everyone wants to raise their kids well, but truthfully we have different goals in mind sometimes. Caleb and I want to raise a kid who is a free-thinker, compassionate, and who will see us as a resource throughout life. Most people in our culture seem to want obedient and respectful children. We are not the norm. So I have to respect that people have different goals in mind that aren’t bad they are just different. I’m not a “Supermom,” I’m just trying to raise my kid the best way I know how.
So if you really want the nitty gritty, think of it like this… I’m trying so hard, like really really hard, to be very attuned to my kid’s every need. That takes a lot of energy. So when someone does parenting in a way that seems easier than what I’m doing, I get kinda bitter sometimes and it makes me want to defend my philosophy. In reality, I’m defending it as a reminder to myself as to why I’m doing it. I’m learning that I don’t need to defend it out loud anymore. I think moms who don’t practice Attachment Parenting could be feeling the same way. They’re trying really really hard to do what they think is right, so when someone does it differently they feel the need to get defensive about their way so they can feel confident in what they’re doing too. Truth is, it feels good when people agree with us, it’s validating. It makes us feel more confident in what we’re doing. I’ve discovered however, that parenting is like exploring an uncharted island, by yourself, in the rain, with no umbrella. It’s rough and you can’t see where the heck you’re going half the time. So, we try to gather others around us so it doesn’t feel as scary but you know what, to a certain extent we are all on our own journey because again, each kid is different.
Attachment parenting is not easy. It’s not supposed to be and it doesn’t guarantee all the popular things like sleeping through the night and “good behavior.” However, it does seem to foster good self-esteem, compassionate hearts, and healthy relationships with parents (and others for that matter). That’s what some research says but of course there are no guarantees… So, again, I have to hold on to the knowledge that I’m just doing the best I can with the information I have. I’m not trying to be Supermom, I’m just listening to my heart and gripping tightly to our values. I think that’s all any of us moms can do.