You know that feeling you have when you sign up for a group thing, like a team sport or club, and love the actual thing but kinda hate the group associated with it? I feel that way right now about the attachment parenting (AP) community at large. If you have followed my original blog (Conscience Parenting) then you have no doubt read several posts where I have talked about AP being the basic way I parent my children. And it still is more or less. But after I had my son and discovered the community around it, I found myself being much more involved in it. But as I have grown over the last year and a half and as my children have continued to grow, I find myself feeling less and less attached to the AP community. Here’s why.
I can’t handle the intensity. There is an overwhelming theme that basically says, “If you don’t do it all the right way, my way, then you are doing it all wrong.” You aren’t really an AP parent if you…circumcise your child, bottle feed your child, feed your baby formula, put your baby in a stroller instead of a carrier, put your baby to sleep in a crib…etc. The list goes on and on. And the whole time I watch these conversations play out in real life or online, I can’t help but think, “Who the fuck cares?” Why does anyone care about a bullshit label? Since when does this club have a bouncer?
I dislike that you can’t disagree without a shit storm. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen women literally say that they could not be friends with someone who…sleep trained their baby, circumcised their baby, refused to breastfeed their baby. Really? You can dismiss an entire person’s friendship because they didn’t play the game of life by your rules? That makes no fucking sense. I have plenty of friends who are parents that do things differently than I do, but one kind of has to expect that right? And yes, I get that some AP parents get ridiculed by friends and family for their choice in parenting, but I thought that is why the phrase, “Go fuck yourself!” was invented. I mean, if somebody teased me for what I did I would probably just laugh and tell them to suck it….family member included.
I loathe that AP authors, bloggers and doctors are turned into deities worthy of worship and viking funerals. Yes, I joke, but in some ways I am not joking at all. These people are just people, and yes many of them have great ideas and advice, but they aren’t idols. They make mistakes. They are not beyond reproach. Personally, I have been accused of being a troll for questioning sources and disagreeing with the viewpoints of other fellow bloggers who have far more martyr in them than I do. If I have to agree with everything you do and say, then how are you any different from the societal parenting norms that you regularly rally against for expecting you to conform? So many AP Facebook pages more or less tell you in their about sections that they are not here to debate that AP is best, which is fine if you want to preach to the choir, but if you want to recruit more to congregation, you should probably allow for Q&A…even at the risk of trolls.
And that brings me to the issue of trolls on the internet. I recently deleted almost every AP page that I follow on Facebook because I am beyond bored with hearing about internet trolls. Yes, if you have any popularity, you will occasionally have trolls at times more than others. I regularly get comments that I think are full of shit, and 9 times out of 10, I delete them and move on with life. I don’t tell anyone about it anymore really. Because who cares, right? Occasionally, when they are funny (like how Legos promote chemical warfare) I share them because everybody likes to take a gander at a shit show every now and then. But then you have people who feed off the shit show energy. And that’s when you get the martyrs. You get the parents who will preach and preach about their personal persecutions and victimization for their choices of parenting so often that it consumes their overall message.
That finally results into the whole practice of AP looking like the shit show itself. And that is what I can’t deal with the most. I can’t deal with the people who think they are blogging for the sake of spreading valuable information about AP, but instead have actually used the message of AP as a vehicle to talk about themselves and their own agenda. Because whatever brand of crazy you happen to be now represents the parenting practice as a whole. And that is unfortunate.
I have breastfed both my kids. I’m a safe cosleeper too. I had a VBAC. I own at least three baby carriers. I promote gentle parenting….
But I have also fed both of my kids formula at least once. I have been medicated for both births. I have tried cry it out, but didn’t like it. I do vaccinate my children. And my kids watch TV probably more than they should.
And I also practice attachment parenting. And I will for my whole life most likely. And I’d like to think that I will promote it and represent it accordingly.
But I don’t want to interact with the community at large, and I more than likely will not call myself an attached parent because the label does not feel right. I’m just a parent, and that is label enough for me.Sidenote… If you are a part of that attachment parenting community and you like the label and all that jazz, then that is cool. It is nice to have a place to belong to, and I don’t think that I am any better than the next for not wanting to be associated with it.
Tags: attachment parenting