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Parenting without Attachments

by Sarah on October 10th, 2013

As time passes, I’m settling in more and more as a mom of two. We have a loose routine worked out so that we can keep things as calm as possible and I’ve set aside time where I can focus on each individually. I must say that we’re still struggling a little bit with Lily, and someone suggested that I take her on a date every week. Every Friday she picks something that she’d like to do and then we spent that time doing it, just her and I. Last week was an ice-cream and playing in the nearby rock pools :)

What I’m enjoying the most as a mom second time around is that I don’t need to be quite so rigid about my parenting style. Even though I didn’t follow a strict routine with Lily, I can see now, how anxious I was about certain things. I cared a lot about what other people thought! And I was so worried that if I rocked her to sleep I’d be doing it for the rest of my life. Or that if I fed her too often, people would think she was using me as a dummy. I had so many set ideas about the sort of mom I’d be and the sort of things that I would and wouldn’t do. Most of them though, just turned out to be ideas in my head, because they often flew out the window the minute I was presented with challenging situations. On so many occasions, all I felt was guilt and frustration.

In other words, I was incredibly attached to being a certain way, a certain parent and also attached to the outcome of my actions. For instance, if I started to rock her to sleep and it was taking forever, I would carry on rocking and rocking, even if I was feeling completely frustrated. I started to get anxious that she was sleeping too often in the sling and was determined to have her sleep on her own. Second time around, if  Matt doesn’t drift off to sleep easily, I’ll just pop him in the sling and he can sleep on me while I work. No big deal. I’ll actually say to myself, “I’m not attached to how and where he sleeps today”. Nor am I attached to how often he feeds. If he feeds every two, three or four hours, it really doesn’t matter. There’s not so much weight behind my every decision.

I saw an article on Facebook recently about parents letting their children cry themselves to sleep and how bad this is for their psychological needs. I used to be hugely anti  this too. Not that I’m totally for it either, but what I can now see more clearly, is that parents need to choose whatever works for them. Perhaps leaving a child to cry themself to sleep is psychologically damaging. But then, what about the child who gets screamed at or shaken because they won’t go to sleep. The mom hasn’t had a good night’s sleep for 18 months and is at her wits end. Which is better, crying to sleep or being yelled at by a raging mom? I think it’s pretty hard to say.

In a nutshell, I think being too attached to any parenting style or to any school of thought, can possibly just be setting parents up for a fall further down the line. Ultimately, what I’ve learned, is that as long as the decisions you make are truly from your heart, are done with full love, and are not based on any expected outcome, then you’ll be just fine. And so will your children :)

From → Life's Lessons

  • Kim gray

    Just what I needed to read. Thanks for this! We’ll said xx

  • Sarah

    Hi Kim! I’m glad it’s helped in some way. Definitely is one of the biggest lessons that I keep learning. Being a mom is more about how much love you give, and not so much about how you choose to parent. I think we all compare ourselves to other moms way too much!