Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Difficulties of Attachment Parenting

Being an AP parent to one child is hard.

Being an AP parent to two children is even harder, and sometimes seems damned near impossible, because what worked with the first doesn't work with the second.

Being an AP parent to three children is easy, because by then you've given up trying to be the perfect parent, or even some distant resemblance to that parent you were sure you'd be, and you're just happy if your kid isn't crusty, smelly, or hungry. (Just kidding. It's still hard.)

Seriously, one of the hardest things for me about being attached is finding time to myself to recharge. I'm an introvert, and my alone-time is a necessity for my sanity (or at least what's left of it). But having one, two, or three children hanging on you every minute of every day and night is truly exhausting.

I honestly believe that the only AP parent who finds parenting a breeze has a doormat for a child. And if you're truly a parent who is conscious of the needs and desires of her child, then he/she can't possibly grow up to be a doormat!

Another terribly difficult thing about being AP to more than one child is that each child is different, and you have to relearn parenting with each one. What works with the first child probably won't work with the next, and what works with the third will be something completely different from either of the two previous things.

My children couldn't be more different. It's taken me years to learn how each of their brains works, and thus how to parent each of them effectively. And believe you me, it's tough sometimes trying to come up with something in one situation that works for all of them.

My "rule follower" is lost and distressed unless he has clear boundaries and guidelines to follow. My "free spirit" digs in her heels if I try to lay down the law with her. And my "life of the party" gets totally bent out of shape if I don't let him be completely independent - at least, that is, until he wants to be velcroed to my side.

If all this is discouraging, don't let it be. Attachment parenting - which basically means being respectful of your children and staying close to them - is worth it. If you're still not sure that it's worth all the effort over the long haul, read yesterday's post.

This post was actually a post that I wrote over four years ago, when G was 8 and T was 4. Funny, it's all still true. Fortunately, I now have the extra years to look back on it and say, "Whew! That was hard! But it was worth it." So many parents think that being an attached to young children is easy, while being attached to older kids is hard. But oh, man, these days life is so much easier.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like What I've Learned As a Parent.

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