I didn’t really plan to be a mother and so I didn’t have any plans as to what kind of mother I would be. Once Briar was born, I discovered what kind of a mother I was, and in that I discovered myself. I discovered that I was naturally a co-sleeping, baby-wearing, responsive, attachment parent. In no time at all, my children became the centre of my world and gave me a new reason to live.
Through raising our children together, my relationship with my husband has grown new depth, respect and strengthened. We’ve grown closer to both our extendad families and gained new friends. I’ve found motivation to be part of a church community again and my health has improved greatly.
There are many times our parenting choices raise eyebrows or are questioned.
“Don’t you know its dangerous to co-sleep?” (Actually, no it isn’t, as long as Safe Sleep Guidelines are followed).
“Will Briar still be sleeping in your bed when she’s a teenager?” (No. She was ready for her own room soon after her second birthday.)
“You’re still breastfeeding a toddler?!?!” (Heck yes. World Health Guidelines actually suggest breastfeeding babies until age two!)
“You’re going to have such a spoilt, clingy, dependant child if you don’t put her down / sleep train / put her in daycare / leave her more often, etc.” (Have you met my daughter?)
When I look at my independent, confident, outgoing child, I am reassured that our parenting choices are right for our family and our child. Whilst I do get tired of the well-being advice from relatives (and lets face it, its always relatives as my friends wouldnt dare!) the evidence shows that children who form strong, secure attachments with their parents grow to be the most confident, self-assured and least anxious people.
This afternoon, we’re at Lollipops Playland again. We love this place and visit weekly. Briar can play to her hearts content, find playmates and ride the teacups. Meanwhile I can sit back and cuddle Gabriel and drink coffee.
So, you may ask, why am I reflecting on parenting styles whilst in Lollipops?
Not long ago, I heard Briar crying out “Mummy, mummy.” I stood up to see her very distressed and desperately searching the room for me. I realised a bin had been obscuring her view of me. “Briar, I’m here.” I called out, opening my arms widely to her.
She ran towards me but at the last minute slightly turned and ran right past me and jumped into the ballpit.
Knowing I was there meant she could run off and play independantly. And that’s exactly what I hope my children will always know: that behind them are two parents who’ll always have their backs, who’ll always be there on their side and who love them unconditionally, so that they can be bold, confident and independant adults.