Un-defining parenthood

Attachment, authoritative, helicopter, natural, it seems that there are as many “types” of parents as there are actual parents.

Maybe it is because humans seem to have a strong desire to label everything. After all, we have labels to describe our sexuality, our beliefs, our dietary preferences, to name a few, so why shouldn’t we have ways to categorize one of the most important aspects of our lives?

I for one never felt like I fit neatly into any label. I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but I do enjoy fish on occasion. I am Jewish, but don’t observe every law. I am social, but enjoy my alone time. And when it comes to my parenting style, one type just doesn’t seem to fit.

I was more or less an attachment parent when my son was born, mostly because that movement’s principles of babywearing, co-sleeping and nursing on demand worked well for me and my child. Now that he is older and less dependent on me, my son rides in a stroller, nurses less often and sleeps in a crib. Of course, there are times when my son needs extra attention and that is when reverting back to attachment parenting can help.

On the other end of the spectrum, my son is prone to tantrums, and while I do comfort him when he is upset, I avoid giving in to them and let him know that behavior is not OK. I’m not perfect, and occasionally there are moments when I cave and give my son what he wants.

I think we need to remember that people were having children long before the “experts” came along to tell us the right way to raise a family. And we have to stop beating ourselves up if we don’t adhere to every rule. If you are a natural mom who sometimes gives your kids processed food, you are still a good mom. If you sometimes let your child sleep in bed with you, even after you spent months getting him used to his crib, you are still a good mom.

In the end it is all about doing what is right for your family, and that’s the best type of parent you can be.

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