Today we had no plans. I eyed the murky sky through my third floor apartment's windows and decided that a library visit was the best idea. Emma can get herself down the first flight of stairs and put her shoes on, Carys still needs some help. So I strapped her little self in my ErgoBaby carrier and followed my toddler down our three flights of stairs and to our double stroller. I happen to love the ErgoBaby, Carys seems to have mixed feelings. That moment was mixed.
Down the first flight: squirming.
Down the second flight: squirming and grunting.
Down the third flight: squirming, grunting, and shouting.
While jamming my diaper bag into the compartments underneath the seats (whoever designed these things has never carried a diaper bag): squirming, grunting, shouting, and tossing that huge noggin across my chest like a dying catfish.
“All right! This beautiful attachment parenting moment is over!” I yelp. Hands flailing, buckles unclipping, straps tossing, and plunk, my sweet two month old finds herself in the seat of a stroller instead of nestled sweetly at my chest.
Then she fell asleep.
Then she napped in the carrier the whole time we were at the library, (because I can't fit my stroller through the doors I gambled and put her back in it) but only as long as I was standing or moving.
I remember when Emma was first born. I sat on our apartment floor bent over one of Dr. Sears books, Scott walked into the room and I looked up at him,
“This says we should be wearing Emma all the time. Even to nap. Do you think we hold her enough?”
“Why do you read that book, it only makes you feel guilty?” He asked back.
If I remember correctly the passage in in question also suggested you nap with your child. Have you noticed how much children nap? Do any of us have that kind of time? I am also not a child and am no longer growing, therefore I do need to nap as much as they do.
Anyway, we went to South Africa shortly thereafter and because of weight restrictions I could not bring the tome he has written on parenting in our luggage. And I have never looked back.
Have you ever noticed that a lot of parenting books and birthing books are written by men?
This has a twofold effect. This means there has been a birth of quite a few parenting philosophies born of unrealistic expectations and understandings of full time parenting. These are not people who are with children all day and night. Most of them are pediatricians. Sure they are smart people who have seen a lot of patients. But they are not at home with kids all day. We are on the front lines with the children, because some days it is a battlefield. I am also going to point out that pediatricians only have medical training; they are trained to see people in a scientific light. They are not psychologists or behaviorists.
This also means that people who truly do not understand the way the female mind works have been putting burdens on us that they do not understand. Men do not understand the guilt that comes with motherhood. They do not. They can't. My husband is a fully engaged father, he does not have an understanding of the crazy train of guilt that runs away with my emotions when it comes to my children.
Well, he watches me and often invites me to jump off of it, like a hobo who has decided he's at his next stop. But he doesn't have a mind or heart that works that way. He can't, he didn't carry our children in his body. From the beginning every action we take as mothers weighs in heavily on the child's well being, what you eat, how much you exercise, if there is a flaw in our very bodies it can harm our child. Then when the baby comes out it only gets worse.
I would also like to point out that it's funny that breastfeeding has become a part of a philosophy. Before the advent of formula breastfeeding was just how you fed a baby.
Neither Scott nor I claim to be attachment parents or Babywisers.
We are parents. We raise our children using all kinds of tools. Sometimes we use a sling and wear our children. Sometimes we leave them in the car seat. Sometimes we feed on demand. Sometimes we schedule a feeding.
I think it's important to be actively engaged with your child. Meeting their needs to best of your ability.