Monday, August 03, 2009

The "Why Do I...?" Parenting Series

I have been thinking a lot lately about how my parenting style is influenced by my faith. I also recently received comments on this blog appreciating a few other posts I have done regarding attachment parenting. The combination of these two things gave me the idea to do a series of posts explaining why I do things the way I do, especially from a Catholic perspective. It can be difficult to parent this way if one has little support or examples around them, because attachment parenting is very different from most "mainstream" parenting practices, leaving some to feel like the odd man out when discussion among real-life friends turns to our children and our parenting decisions. There can be much support found online (although that can't compare to real-life support!), but there is still little support for attachment parenting in a Catholic context. Catholicism is what led me to this style of parenting, actually. Oddly enough, most online support for AP is either secular or full of liberals. But I think it is so very Catholic!

I am by no means a parenting expert. I know I have made mistakes and will continue to make them, so please do not take this as some sort of perfection. I just want to support other moms, Catholic or otherwise, who have an interest in this style of parenting. I have been very blessed in that my extended family is accepting of my parenting, but I know that others are not so fortunate and even have openly hostile friends or relatives when it comes to this subject... and that is hard - you need support!

I also want to point out from the get-go that I am not saying this is the only way Catholic parents can raise their children. I just want to show that it is quite compatible with our faith!

Some possible topics for posts in this series follow (and these aren't all hard-and-fast "rules" of AP necessarily):
Why do I...
* continue breastfeeding beyond the age of 12 months?
* sleep with my babies instead of "sleep training" them?
* use a baby sling instead of a stroller?
* plan to homeschool my children?
* never let my husband feed bottles to our babies?
* skip most vaccines for my children?
* not leave my very young children for extended periods?
* wait until the last possible moment to get to the hospital to give birth?
* practice ecological breastfeeding?
* always take my babies to Mass instead of leaving them in the church nursery?
* use breastfeeding to mother my children (as opposed to only using it to feed them)?
* breastfeed in public?
* live the liturgical year at home with my children?
* not buy any baby food and let my babies self-feed?

Just some ideas... if anyone actually is interested in one of these specifically, let me know and I will focus on it first. Suggestions are welcome as well. Many of the things listed above have gotten me strange looks at times, and that is probably because they are pretty different from the cultural norms (although baby slings have become more "mainstream" lately!). For others who may have received raised eyebrows or annoying comments, hopefully you can find reassurance here.


That Married Couple said...

I'm soo excited that you're doing this! I can't wait to learn more about AP from someone who's been there, done/still doing that. All those topics look great! And as a new Catholic, I especially appreciate the Catholic perspective.

Looking forward to the next post!

Sheila said...

David and I never made the decision to attachment parent, it was just what came and still comes natural to us, but having you and Chris to go to for support has been wonderful! I am still so surprised that AP seems so out there to so many people. We get lots of looks and questions from people when they find out how we parent (especially with co-sleeping and extended and tandem breastfeeding) and it always surprises me. We try not to pass judgement on how other's parent and don't express disgust when we see someone feeding a child formula and wish we could get the same from everyone--though in saying that we've been getting more support now that Mary Faith is here. Anyway, thanks for always being there when we have questions! I'll probably be calling or emailing you soon because Gracie is having some sleep issues again and I've got some questions.

Kris said...

Erin -- I think this is a great idea, especially as a way to educate people on what all these things truly mean. I think many people look on this style of parenting as "strange" because they don't really understand what this means, and only know bits and pieces. I also think you should stress that not everyone can do all these things in attempting attachment parenting. Everyone has to do what fits best with their family. That's one big key to attachment parenting, is being close and learning what works for your child and your family. As a mother of 5, with my youngest almost 5 himself, I have "been there, done that" with all the kids, learning as I went along. With my oldest ones, I was much more "traditional", listening to the so-called "experts", and slowly realzing that, at heart, I was really more an "attachment" parent. As my style became my own, I became a much more relaxed mother, and my family benefitted greatly from that. Loved your previous post on attachment parenting, and how being attached doesn't mean lacking in discipline or structure. Keep up the good writing!

Maureen said...

I am definitely interested in the not letting Chris bottle feed the baby and the ecological breastfeeding...cuz I have no idea what ecological breastfeeding is.

Erin Too! said...

my 2 girls are older- 13 and almost 11- but i think w/o knowing i did attached parenting- and i breastfeed for 2 years for the 1st- 18 mos- for the 2nd- she was just done!- i struggle everyday with raising Caholic kids in a secular world- they both attend public school- hopefully my younges- who has a mild form of autism will be able to attend Jullie Biilliart whenever they have an opening-my other suffered at the local Catholic school- it was a small class and the girls were very closed when we moved here- so she really had a tough time- after several very mean things happened and the lack of "Catholicicity"(as we call it) she began public school in 4th grade- it is pretty sad- but a great academics- ugh1111she goes to psr/ccd- one of only 4 in the whole parish in her grade and we have a BIG parish- kids get confirmed in 2nd grade w/ First Holy Communion- so after that they stop going to psr/ccd- pretty sad- i believe this yr they may begin to change that- our bishop is a bit - well we will leave that alone- we are big pro-lifers- we all educate on the streets by a fp clinic 2xs /mo. and carry the message wherever we go- that is our passion- i appreciate the fact that you got som may things going for you at such a young age- i had many failure- but thru it all my faith overcame and i am happier now than ever- i am truly blessed!!look forward to hearing more in your blog- God Bless- un abrazo, erin

Carrie said...

what is ecological breastfeeding?