Friday, May 11, 2012

Attached? Or lazy, cheap & short?

I don't think it's any accident that shortly after the release of "Bringing Up Bebe", we are seeing a resurgence of books and news pieces about Attachment Parenting.

I read "Bringing Up Bebe" and wrote very briefly about it... but here's s'more. If you haven't heard of it, it's basically an American woman's experience of bringing up her Anglo kids in Paris. She noticed that French parents and kids were much more chill than their American/English peers. The kids were more independent, less reliant on "attaboys/girls", slept better much earlier, ate and behaved well in public.... Her observations and research concluded - most basically - that French parents love their kids but don't LIVE for them. The kids understand that Mom & Dad are people, too. There's much less breast feeding beyond the early months. There's much less co-sleeping. There's much more publicly funded support for well-researched, high-quality, professional early childhood education.

Just a like all American children play in front of the Statue of Liberty... I'm sure this photo is representative of all French kids.

A lot of this sounded really good to me.

I have not read any books about Attachment Parenting, but I've certainly heard a lot about it. (This week's cover of Time Magazine is quite an eye-catcher, if you haven't seen it.) In case you are currently living in a cave (in which case, thanks for reading my blog in the dark!), Attachment Parenting was "invented" by Dr. William Sears about 20 years ago. You can Google it and read for WEEKS so I won't go into it too much.) The basic tenants of Attachment Parenting say that babies should be breastfed, babies should co-sleep with their mother, and babies should be worn... (in a sling, silly, not like fur or anything). This leads to babies feeling respected/loved/cared for/yadda yadda and, ultimately, this will lead to older children and adults feeling those same things.
Confession: I DO kinda have Moby Wrap envy looking at this!

A lot of THIS sounds really good to me, too.

So, how I can feel like these two vastly conflicting styles of parenting are both a good idea? I guess, as with most things in this life, with parenting I want it both ways.

I want to be the Mama who nurses her baby till 12 months. But I kind of want to be that Mama in order to save money on formula almost as much as I want to bond with the baby.

I want to be the Mama who sleeps with her baby. But I want to be that Mama SOLELY because it means I don't have to drag my bum out of bed to feed him in the middle of the night. (Okay, he also sleeps better lying next to me than when he's far away... but mostly it's the lazy thing).

I want to be the Mama who carries her baby around in a sling. But I want to be that Mama mostly because it leaves my hands free to grab hold of older children who may make a run for it. And the sling-thing is really only a MUST-have at the grocery store. (Am I the only Mom who can't see above the damn car seat when it's in the shopping cart? I swear I've almost taken out small armies of shoppers and entire displays of canned goods because I couldn't see what was ahead of me!)

So, I don't know if I subscribe to Attachment Parenting. And I know for sure that I'm not one of those hip French Moms with their hair coiffed and their children angelic. I like the idea of both. And I see the validity in both. Which is, as I said, the reason I never decide anything about anything.

Can I invent Frenchtachment Parenting and turn it into a Thing? Something to consider, wee? (Or possibly, poo?) Are you French-er or Attachment-er? Or, did your parenting style come from your gut without the "help" of the Parent Industrial Complex?

And finally, special thanks to my friend, Kathleen who literally emailed me THIS link as I was typing this Blog. It's about that Time Magazine cover of the hot mom with the large child suckling. Read it. Freakin' hilarious. 


  1. 100% attached until age 6 and now 100% French. The child should feel loved enough to want to be independent. When they are secure, they leave! When they leave (like say, to go away camp during the summer) you get a lot of alone time. Attachment parenting doesn't mean doing things for them, it just means helping guide them with respect, wisdom and dignity. Also, when you wear your child, s/he sees everything and learns quickly, whereas bucket babies look at the ceiling all day. I'm sure I offended someone, but I'll put money on it that my "attached" kid is more independent than the kid bottle propped in the bucket. Invest early and you get a big payoff later.

  2. oh, and my blog name is only this because my child has a daily blog class project at school...i'm not that attached. ha ha

  3. I do a combination based on what suits my life. I carried my third in a sling but for the same reason as you. It kept her from crying and I had two hads to do everything else. Oh and I totally agree on the shopping cart thing. I let them sleep with us when we are all worn out and need a good nights sleep. They don't stay there forever though. I breastfed for as long as I could because formula is expensive and I could. The french parenting is more appealing as my kids get older. Can't we have it both ways?