Over Attached and Monsterous

All right, somebody has to say it and it’s going to be me. This is ridiculous:

Here’s a little glimpse of Attachment Parenting. In case you don’t really understand, she’s Mom Enough and the rest of us schlubs are just Loser Moms.
This photo is wrong in so many ways yet why is it so forbiddingly taboo to say anything about it except “It’s a beautiful, moving and totally awesome picture of…of…of a three-year old who’s nearly the size of a line-backer nursing at his hot mother’s bosom!” Oh My God! Did anyone else bring to mind the hilarious passage about the weaning of Gussie from A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN when they saw that photo?
We need to get a grip and recognize the load of unbearable hogwash that is shoved down our collective gullet about Attachment Parenting. It’s a guilt-laden, exclusive notion that marginalizes 99.9% of mother’s today who have to 1. work, 2. manage busy households, 3. have some kind of friendly if not loving relationship with an adult and 4. raise one (or more) baby who will be able to navigate this planet, take over and continue life on earth in a reasonably sustainable manner. None of that will happen if societal pressure crushes the natural course of humankind to raise strong, independent children who are able to explore, discover and learn about the world in reasonable measures. We need to stop reacting in the manner that allows us to think if we’re not Attachment Parenting, we’re not parenting at all.
I am not talking about throwing a one-year old in traffic or swapping breast milk for orange soda–which is a typically predictable circled-wagons retort when it’s even hinted that Attachment Parenting is absurd. I am outright saying that this is a damaging parenting fad that determines nearly unattainable and extreme parenting measures which haven’t been proven yet is praised to the skies by a small cadre of groupies who also manage to undermine good and earnest parenting techniques.
The reality of having and raising children is not to keep them in a diaper until age 15 while they breastfeed until college. Oh is my backlash a little extreme? Sorry, it’s just the image of a kid with a hand the size of a snow shovel nursing at his mother’s breast has me feeling kind of radical. I think it’s the smug look on both their faces that makes me really lash out. Am I Mom Enough? No, I guess not…but I think YOU are completely insane and you both give me the creeps.
Attachment Parenting, a rigorous method of parenting developed by pediatrician William Sears is based on an 8 principle philosophy of parenting that encourages a strong emotional bond with caregivers that result in lifelong consequences. It’s a notion that somehow hooked enough media attention to give a core of influential parents/caregivers a loud, strident, preachy and judgemental voice. It has also managed to guilt the masses into a shameful state that if they aren’t mashing organic turnips, draping the communal bed in organic sheets and swathing a two-year old to their body for daily walks, home school and sacrifice every adult pleasure in favor of baby, they suck as parents and should drown themselves in the polluted waters of an uncool third world country.
There’s no way I’m going to state my principles of parenting in this tirade except to hint that I believe part of childrearing is setting a wonderful example of how good it is to grow up, to be a successful adult, to manage in an adult world. I just don’t see how that translates well if I tried to infantalize my children by creating a human barrier to how they learned about the world.
Therefore! To the core of preachy, judgemental attachment parents forming a posse in order to drown me in polluted waters: I don’t have a problem with raising children in a loving manner that works best for you. I do have a problem with your denouncing other parents loving, appropriate and decent childrearing as inadequate. Keep your weird and creepy style to yourself.

About EF Sweetman

bees, baseball, beverly, ma, culture, manners, society, writing
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4 Responses to Over Attached and Monsterous

  1. chlost says:

    You go! My d-i-l is doing this on a little less radical basis, but is still a bit in your face about it. Next is the home schooling…which from my (and many others’) perspective, it is more about controlling the kids’ environment than education. I see the job of a parent as preparing a child for launching into the world. These parents seem much more focused on their own need for the child than the child’s needs. There. That was my rant. Thanks for your voice of reason…..

    • EF Sweetman says:

      Hi Chlost! Local media really took off with this topic, probably because there is a pretty strong core of Attachment Parenting people here who are quite vocal about the benefits of their parenting–and equally vocal about how everyone else’s sucks which really irks me (obviously). I agree it seems so controlling and puts a barrier between the child and the world. Good thing about being the Grandma is that your grandchildren LOVE you and learn from you without barriers! Good luck :)

  2. iwrit4me says:

    Here, here, finally someone with some common sense has spoken! You want to run for president? P L E A S E!!!

    • EF Sweetman says:

      Thank you! I’ll have to think about my campaign strategy after I pre-chew my 15 year-old son’s organic breakfast… Thank you so much for reading!

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