What is an unattached attachment parent?

Several people have asked me what in the world my blog name means.  When you are in mommy land, and constantly reading “mommy articles” you kind of just assume everyone else knows all of these parenting terms.  If you are a parent, you’re probably fully aware of, or have at least heard of, attachment parenting.  It’s basically just a style of parenting based on the attachment theory, which promotes close proximity between a child and their primary caregiver for the majority of the time so that the child receives the physical and emotional support they need.  Dr. William Sears actually coined the term “attachment parenting” although the attachment theory has been around for a long time.  Dr. Sears defines the seven “B’s of attachment parenting” as being (1) birth bonding, (2) belief in the signal value of your baby’s cry, (3) breastfeeding, (4) babywearing, (5) bedding close to baby, (6) balance and boundaries, and (7) beware of baby trainers.  If you are interested, you can read more about it here, here and here.  I also read this and this.

With all that being said, I am not an attachment parent per se, lol.  While I absolutely believe in this practice and see the benefits, and even strive to meet them, I would probably get a C- in the school of attachment parenting, and I’ll tell you exactly why – FULL TIME WORKING MOM.  While I believe in and support attachment parenting, it’s not always easy to practice when you work full-time and are away from your baby for so long.  It’s impossible to babywear all day, respond to every cry, kiss and hug throughout the day and just generally be present all day when I am not, in fact, present all day.  Sometimes I have a lot of guilt about this, but I’m learning to adjust.  My views on parenting changed drastically when I went back to work and I quickly realized that I was going to have to be flexible in my parenting style, especially seeing as how it was going to be someone else taking care of my baby for 9 hours out of the day. I’ve definitely had to learn to let go of, or at least ease up on, my ways of thinking. I’m thankful that I’m able to send AW to such a great school, and that I love and trust the teachers that care for him all day. I try hard not to be one of those controlling moms, but rather to trust them to care for my child as they see fit. After all, they know way more about parenting than me! His teacher in particular has been caring for infants and toddlers for almost 30 years!

There are some principles that I do feel like I have succeeded in, and I’m proud of that.  I do feel like we bonded from the moment he was born and we practiced a lot of skin-to-skin from the very beginning; I held him or wore him in a sling a lot for the majority of his first few months of life when I was on maternity leave; I still breastfeed him; I respond to his cries and emotions when we are together and I make a conscious effort to try to understand them; I try to follow my intuition as a mother; and I’m constantly working (and often failing) at learning to find a balance between his needs and my needs (and some days my sanity).  It’s a work in progress, this whole mothering thing, but aren’t all worthwhile things?  Oh, and having him in our bedroom at night does NOT fly in our house.  Again, something I thought we would for sure do, for awhile anyways, but quickly learned that it was not right for us.  Matt and I love having our own space, and we both decided it was important for us to keep the bedroom an area just for us.  AW ended up in his own crib and room when he was a few weeks old.  You win some, you lose some, ya know;)

So there you have it….I am a believer in attachment parenting and I follow the principles to the extent I can, even though I cannot physically be with my child as much as I would like and sometimes I just have to do what works for us, which often does not fit in the attachment parenting mold.  I’m an unattached attachment parent:-)  Are you one too?

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