Parenting Is Not a Test: Becoming the Parent I Am

This post is by regular contributor Kate Fairlie of Picklebums.

Once, long ago, I vowed to be the most ‘attachment parenting parent in the whole wide world!’

I had a degree in early childhood education.  I’d read all the books and joined the forum. I was going to rock this parenting gig and get an A+ in the Official Crunchy Parents Test.

Then I actually had kids and I discovered a few hard hitting, home truths!

I wanted my babies to be born in a hospital, even though I strongly uphold a woman’s right to choose home birth…

My first babies (twins) were birthed with major medical intervention both, before, during and after their birth, even though I believe a gentle, natural birth is important…

Some of my babies had formula, despite the fact that I believe that ‘breast is best’…

I don’t really like co-sleeping, even though my toddler still sleeps next to me…

I love pushing my kids in the pram, even though I also enjoyed baby-wearing…

I chose to send my children to mainstream school, despite the fact that I believe home schooling is a valid choice…

My five year old can rank his favourite fast foods in order of preference, despite my goal to feed my family wholesome, healthy foods…

Sometimes I yell at my kids, even though positive guidance is important to me.

Even though  I can’t tick all the AP boxes, even though all these less than text book crunchy things happen in our family, I still call myself an ‘attachment parent’ when I have to find a label, and, surprisingly, I am at peace with the parent I am.

Because when you get down to the nitty gritty, you realise that it is not about ticking boxes or striving to be more ‘crunchy’ than the next mum. It is not about keeping score or passing some imaginary AP test.

When you get down to it, you realise it is about your child, it is about your family, it is about you… and not anyone else. You realise it is about understanding and respecting children as humans. It is about striving to understand where our kids are coming from, remembering to respect their rights and most importantly to love them, always.

The list of AP Principles that once seemed like a magical test I had to pass to become a ‘good parent’, are now simply part of the tools I use to try to make the best choices I can, for my children, for my family and for myself. And I do that not because I want to be the most ‘attachment parenting parent in the whole wide world’… I do it because it feels right.’

How does your actual parenting differ from how you expected to parent?

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  1. Im really struggling with my idea of what parent I want to be versus the one I am at the moment. I recently left work to study full time with the overall goal being that I was home and present and engaged with my kids. But reality dictates that that isnt the case – Im slowly working out how I can be mum and me at the same time but its a lot of trial and error. I worry that Im too cranky or too focussed on books but last night when I wasnt feeling well my 6 year old told me to rest and that she’d put her little brother to bed…I found them lying together in his cot with her stroking his little head and reading to him. I realised that thats the parent I want to be – the one that makes those types of kids. Thanks Kate for reminding me x

  2. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Although I’m still striving to find peace. Four year old twins are testing my patience and then some. But you rock!

  3. OH I really loved this post, Kate! I really dislike labels for that exact reason! We definitely use AP parenting in our house, but #2 sleeps in her cot and NOT with us because *that’s where she wants to sleep*, but if you don’t do it exactly, does it mean you’ve actually failed…? And if you are going to ‘fail’ the test of parenting I highly recommend failing it early on, less distance to fall… 😉

  4. Pingback: Parenting Is NOT A Competition - Liberated Parenting

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