“As the middle child of five, born to a hard-working father and a stay-at-home mom, the main tenets to maintain sanity and stability were practicality and resourcefulness. There was always a purpose behind our collection of four-legged friends. We raised sheep, rabbits, ducks and a goose. Each of the children had husbandry chores in addition to household responsibilities. Mother always had a large garden. I have very fond memories of the apple cider assembly line production in the front yard. Mom and Dad still have the apple press in their kitchen, albeit as an ode to the past. A lot more time was spent harvesting food at home than time spent grocery shopping, or any type of shopping; mom sewed, and the clothes moved from one child to the next. With four girls, this was a cost-effective approach. When I recently decided to start our gentleman’s farm (three Nigerian dwarf goats, six free-range chickens, two dogs and a cat) it was to recreate that synergy for my son, which had developed in me a strong work ethic and a great appreciation and respect for nature’s generosity.” —Cathleen K.
“I was already very involved in the environmental movement before I had children and had learned not to accept things at face value and consider what is truly best for families and the earth. So when I had children, attachment parenting was a natural fit. It is more about connection and less about material things. Now our 8-year-old son is helping our family with recycling, gardening and composting. I also homeschool using Waldorf methods and philosophy, which is all about inculcating reverence for life, and I think that really helps, too.” —Kara C.
“Becoming pregnant was akin to opening the floodgates: My intuition increased tenfold, my artistic juices overflowed. I was genuinely fascinated with the evolution of pregnancy, and invited a community of friends and family into the delivery room to welcome Jackson into each daily adventure. The tenets of attachment parenting make complete sense to me. Even though I was introduced to the work after Jackson was born, I had already embodied much of the ideology. I consider parenthood a privilege and a responsibility. I think of motherhood as the invitation to create, contain and let go. I cherish every cuddle, knowing a self-possessed 9-year-old is around the corner, and then I will have to be satisfied with hurried pats on the back. Why rush it? I have surrendered my ideas of how I thought it would/should be and accepted the messes and the madness. I do pick my battles—holding strong on ritual (family dinners and reading books before bedtime) and respect for the adult and the child. It’s amazing what we hear when we really listen. If I’m consistent, he will be too. I may be raising an only child, but I am clear that how I treat him will affect how he treats others throughout his life, including his own family.” —Cathleen K.
“In general, my daughter has less stuff because we followed some attachment principles. We didn’t buy things like a baby monitor, a play gym, a baby bathtub, pacifiers, mobiles, or most things meant to soothe or occupy a baby. We kept her close, and her entertainment was whatever we were doing.” —Carrie N.
“I think it’s because we are very mindful of our choices. Just as we care for our children by making decisions to do everything in their best interests (whether that’s babywearing, cloth diapers/wipes, organic foods, etc.), we extend that same mindfulness and respect to others in our families, neighborhoods and environment. I think because attachment parenting has such a core value of respect, we don’t only respect our children, but also everyone around us. We want the earth to be a good, clean and healthy place for our children to grow up, and for everyone else’s children too.”—Jennifer Y.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #33.
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