What presence means to me

by Guest blogger on March 26, 2015

Share Button

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Oct. 24, 2008, but it echoes a sentiment many Attachment Parenting parents have heard from well-meaning friends, family members and even strangers to take some time away from our infants and toddlers, without realizing that ample presence with our children may be exactly what gives us balance.

By Christina Geyer of An American Expat in Deutschland and Mamas Worldwide

1386612_mom_and_kidI can’t count the number of times that someone has told me that I need to get out of the house without my son.

I’ve been told to get a regular babysitter or to put him in daycare, so that I can have time for myself. While I agree that moms do need time to themselves — I like to de-stress in a long bath with a book by my side once a week, and go to dinner and a movie with friends occasionally — I am happy to share my life with my 15-month-old son.

What does giving him my presence mean to me? It means allowing him to be present in my everyday life.

I am a stay-at-home mom. We are extended breastfeeding and cosleeping. We’re in playgroups — a German-speaking one and an English-speaking one. I also take him with me when I go to town, to the store, even to the doctor’s office, when possible. He joins me when I get a massage, sitting below the table, playing with blocks, smiling up at me every few minutes.

We eat at restaurants together. He doesn’t have a high chair with a tray, he sits right at the table with us, taking part in the family meal. I’m thankful that most places here in Germany, where we live, are kid-friendly. He loves to flirt with the waitresses, and he even tries to pay the bill.

By including my son in my everyday life, I feel I’m teaching him how to interact. He doesn’t act out like some children I’ve seen out, especially at restaurants. He sits and watches the faces of everyone around him. He laughs when we laugh and tries to eat like we eat. He happily eats sushi, caviar, all sorts of vegetables, octopus, mussels…all without even needing a bib. My friends invite us over to dinner so that their children will try new foods. They’ll say, “Look, the little guy likes it. Why don’t you give it a try?”

Now I know that some of this is just his easy-going personality and that we might have to peel spaghetti off the ceiling with our next child, but I think part of it is due to my, and my husband’s, willingness to share practically our whole lives with him. We love his company, and I think that this will help him to grow up loving our company as well.

Share Button

{ 4 comments }

Screentime and Attachment Parenting

by Kara Carden on March 25, 2015

Share Button

family-time-2-1380315-m There are issues that Attachment Parenting International (API) does not take a stance on — circumcision, vaccinations, cloth diapering and elimination communication, to name a few — and instead advocates for all parents to be informed when making parenting decisions that work best for their families. The same applies to choices about media access for children.

To me, Attachment Parenting (AP) doesn’t mean we’ll achieve perfection or that all AP parents will come to the same conclusions. It means we’ve made a commitment to inform ourselves and make conscious choices. We can all respectfully “agree to disagree” when parents have informed themselves and understand the pros and cons. Biases and prejudices should have very little — nothing! — to do with it. Have we considered the research? Have we carefully observed the dynamics in our own families? Can we tell whether media is connecting or disconnecting parents and children in our homes?

kara cardenFor my family, I want media to be an event, not a lifestyle. I want my kids to be able to happily go for weeks without using it! So occasionally, if I see symptoms of dependency, we go on “detox” and course-correct — basically by getting busy with other things. I want us — adults and children — to use media, not have it use us. And I certainly don’t want media — with all it’s commercial motivations — to cheat my kids out of time to be creative, to be helpful, to be thoughtful, to just be.

For us, that means once or twice a week, we consume a little media, mostly together. The other six days, it’s just not an option. That’s how we thrive best.

For some of my AP friends, that’s way more than the none they believe is best. Compared to other AP families, our media use is a fraction of what happens in their homes.

Information and discernment can lead us to our own version of balance. This can change depending on the age and stage of our children, which is completely aligned with API’s focus on the importance of understanding child development needs.

I think it’s important for parents to take a good, close look at the research and have an open, honest conversation with others. Instead of judging or lobbying for one “side” or another on media use, the focus can be on informing ourselves together. Just being willing to ask the question, knowing that answers may be variable, would be a great service to our AP communities.

Share Button

{ 0 comments }

I’m screaming at the top of my voice…can you hear me?

March 23, 2015
Share Button

A very dear friend of mine nearly lost his sister to tragic circumstances 13 days ago. I can’t speak for her, for him or for their parents or friends. I can only share how this horribly sad situation is affecting me. As I ponder the despondence that chaperoned her down this harrowing and dark course, […]

Share Button
Read the full article →

Nurturing touch beyond babywearing

March 20, 2015
Share Button

Use Nurturing Touch is one of Attachment Parenting International‘s Eight Principles of Parenting. With a baby, there are so many ways to put this into practice: babywearing, breastfeeding, the fact that babies want to be held most of the time anyway. But as my son has grown older, he’s become less and less interested in […]

Share Button
Read the full article →

Using presence to raise independent children

March 19, 2015
Share Button

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Oct. 22, 2008, but it carries a timeless message of the payoffs of giving presence to our children, allowing them to develop independence on their own developmental timeline. By Kayris Wall of The Great Walls of Baltimore and Mommy, What’s For Dinner? One day, when my son […]

Share Button
Read the full article →

Second child adjustments, and judgments

March 16, 2015
Share Button

As I heard the voices grow louder and the confrontation was escalating, I approached my 9-year-old daughter’s room. She exclaimed at her younger brother: “Ugh… You are so annoying! How is it possible? How am I even related to you?” I was startled by the harsh words. I understood her frustration. It seems as though […]

Share Button
Read the full article →

Compassion, balance and truth in parenting

March 13, 2015
Share Button

Compassion. What does this word mean to you? I see compassion as being open to seeking the truth in any given moment. As a parent, I am constantly invited inward in order to seek my truth. Our children and partners have their own truths. It can be challenging when I am forced to find the […]

Share Button
Read the full article →

Hay, that was fun!

March 11, 2015
Share Button

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Oct. 21, 2008. As many of Attachment Parenting International’s families live in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is right around the corner and this post fits well with the season. We took the kids to the farm where our milk and beef comes from today. We got to […]

Share Button
Read the full article →