It is not news that parents take great pride in the accomplishments of their children. I am sure that most of us can think of a parent or two that even goes so far as I brag about their child being the “smartest” or “best player on the team,” or whatever else they think makes their child better than the rest. This parental competitiveness begins even earlier for some people, and it often centers around the issue of parenting styles.
One of the more visible aspects of attachment parenting, baby wearing, has sparked some tensions and judgments amongst mothers. I live in a very small community and I believe it is easy to overlook changes that take place gradually around us, such as realizing one day that your little one is no longer a baby but it is a full-fledged big kid. However, on a recent trip back to my hometown, the changes were more obvious to me.
During an outing to the mall I realized that strollers are becoming a thing of the past. Babies these days are increasingly being carried in arms or in some form of wrap, sling, or pack. While, in general, I view this as a good thing, I have also noticed the ugly repercussions of this trend. I have seen it from both sides; mothers rolling their eyes at the “ridiculousness” of those who wear their babies everywhere, and mothers who think it is akin to child abuse to keep a baby in a stroller. Personally, I have also felt on the receiving ends of both of these types of judgments, since I vary between using my stroller or my wrap, depending on a large number of variables.
Attachment parenting is based around the premise that the parent is the expert when it comes to their own child. Parents are uniquely suited to know and determine how to best care for and nurture their children. So why is it that we judge each other so harshly? I am disheartened when I hear of friendships ended because a mother cannot accept that her friend does not parent this way. When I hear that one cannot attend a (church, theater, wherever) because it is “not AP friendly enough,” it makes me realize how misinformed some people are, and how off-putting that can be to other parents.
In general, it seems that many of the parenting practices that are typically associated with attachment parenting can be controversial. People tend to become defensive when it is stated, or implied, that the way they are parenting their children is wrong. That is not the goal of attachment parenting; to make people who use other parenting styles feel defensive. The aim should be to prompt parents to think more deeply about their parenting choices and to follow their intuition when it comes to raising their kids. Maybe wearing your baby is the right choice for you and your family, maybe it isn’t. What is important is that you are the one who decides, and that you do it regardless of whatever the current trend happens to be.