Attachment Parenting vs. Traditional Parenting (in my house)

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Blending families… Have I mentioned it’s really difficult? My husband and I have ONE huge disagreement. We rarely argue, but when we do it’s always about this one thing. Attachment Parenting vs. Traditional Parenting.

When Joliene was born, my life changed. Even though I had no idea WHAT attachment parenting was, and had no interest in breastfeeding, co sleeping, or cloth diapering, However, I naturally became a “crunchy” or “granola” mom, and did all of the above! I did not read any books, initially, I followed my instincts. I do not know if it has to do with my personality, my own upbringing, or maybe it was just love? We all show love differently. (There are 5 Love Languages, after all!) I show love by nurturing. If I love you, I want to take care of you, I want to make your life easy, and beautiful and I will bend over backwards doing so, if I feel it’s what you need. I remember Jo being maybe a week or 2 old, and her dad telling me that I could put her down, she was asleep, and I said, “No, I want to hold her.” That’s all I wanted to do.

A lot of people, family included, judged my parenting style, saying “It’s harder. It takes too much time. You’re spoiling her. It’s not necessary. She will never be independent.” I shrugged it off, I didn’t care what anyone thought. I was doing what I felt was right for Jo and for me.

Flash forward to the last year or 2. I moved in with my husband (well, now he is my husband, anyways) and his 2 kids and it was quite the culture shock. His family had all banded together to raise his kids, and it was kind of a clusterfuck. It was amazing that everyone had stepped in to do their part, while James had been working full time. As dysfunctional as the family is, their hearts really are in the right place. However, I felt like I was coming into a… I don’t know, it was like walking into a house that is so thrashed, and you honestly have no clue where to begin. I had 2 new kids who had never had a bond with their mama, and were emotionally band-aid-ed together. 2 amazing little people who had known unimaginable loss, and virtually no consistency. A 4 year old who was playing Black Ops, and running into the street without a thought, and only ate mac n cheese. An 8 year old who spent more time gone at her grandma’s house than home, who was so shy, and at the same time so eager to to be a big girl. The kids already knew what was expected of them, they took a bath, used the restroom, got dressed and brushed their teeth on their own. They really were independent. But, to me this was so concerning, because I saw these little ones doing everything by themselves, not needing any help, any bonding, or support. It was unnerving to me. You may be thinking “How great! they were so self sufficient! It must have made life easier for you!” No… It didn’t, it made me feel useless, and sad. I didn’t know where to begin with them, how to develop a relationship, a parental relationship, at that. Here I am with my 3 year old who only recently stopped co-sleeping, who sat on my lap for every meal… come to think of it, we didn’t even have a schedule, as I had always been a SAHM, we just went with the flow of life, day to day. My baby wanted to be wherever I was, and I wasn’t comfortable with her running across the street to their auntie’s house because I had no idea how she would react without me… I had so many concerns and I had to find a way to fit. I loved that my baby wanted her mama, I loved that she was so connected to me, that we had our own life that virtually revolved around one another. Did I need time and space sometimes? Absolutely. Was it hard sometimes? Fuck yes. But I was comfortable. And I looked at my “new” kids, and I felt sad. It’s funny that I felt so sad ( and in all honesty STILL feel a huge loss, because I wish I could have been with them when they were smaller, I wish I had had the opportunity to bond with them like a mother, to hold them, and feel connected.) they were perfectly happy. They didn’t know that they were missing, and thank goodness for that.

Here we are now, and there are like 3 different parenting styles going on in my home! There’s my husband’s: “Tough love, take it or leave it style” ( for the most part, he still has his moments with “his boy” Lj has been blessed by being not only the baby, but THE BOY, in a family that A) is made up of mostly boys, and B) has an obsession with sports. They pride their boys on their physical abilities and skills and they tend to bully the younger, weaker, more sensitive children. ) My parenting, which is based on each child in that moment and can look insanely unfair, if you are out side of the box. And the CRAZY parenting that happens when we cannot agree, so we kind of take over “our own kid(s)” and don’t let the other have anything to do with them. Jenna kinda swaps back and forth between me and James depending on the situation.

Crazy parenting happens after an argument, usually involving one injustice or another that was done to one of the kids by the “other” parent. It can be the simplest thing that one of us blows out of proportion, like, Jo likes purple, but James gave her a blue cup (tough shit), and I was annoyed that he even gave her the blue cup KNOWING she would want the purple one, but I have been REALLY working on supporting my hubby, so I said, “Now your cup matches Jenna’s!” (In my mind helping her to see bright side, no she wasn’t going to get her cup, and no crying about a cup would not work, but, check it out, blue is nice, too!) Enter James, who knows I’m annoyed that he gave her the wrong color, so he gives her a new cup (completely diminishing BOTH of our attempts at parenting, because now, Jo got her way from crying, and James is now upset because he feels like his parenting is undermined, and I am frustrated because I feel like I backed him up and then he dropped the ball.) So then he gets annoyed by anything I do to “help” Jo, in this case, she didn’t like the sauce on her salmon, so I wiped it off (easy fix). Now we are both frustrated and we are both triggered by the other one so our “never-really-ending parenting debate” continues from the LAST time we had a disagreement, and we both have a billion examples of how the other one is not consistent, which sounds an awful lot like an attack on the other parent’s parenting.

Natural consequences... You fight, you hold hands.
Natural consequences… You fight, you hold hands.

So here I am for almost 24 hours now trying to find a balance. Attachment parenting is based on the theory that we are shaped by our first attachments… “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.” I have spent my entire life looking for someone worthy of a true attachment, I have felt alone and abandoned and my first true bond was my little girl. Jo put me together, and gave me my first true attachment besides my sister. I literally cannot help loving her, and wanting to show her in the most selfless ways. I see how that can be weird to a traditional parent, a traditional parent’s habits for teaching their babies to be more self sufficient may be more natural to them. However, having attachment parented for almost 4 years now, I have seen Jo grow up in her own time. Maybe I didn’t force her to use the big toilet when she was potty training, but one day, she made the decision to take off the booster seat and “balance” on the toilet like a big girl. I feel that growing up naturally happens, and it’s not a big deal if she chooses to use a booster seat, because one day, she will decide she’s over it. One day she won’t want to be in my lap all day… Oh wait, that was today. I don’t know why, but today she has been perfectly content to play on her own, and do her own thing. Some days all she wants is to be in my lap or under my feet. It’s organic, and it’s silly to me, to force her to feel something she doesn’t feel, or put her in a situation that make her feel uncomfortable. James feels totally different, like he should be able to tell his kids what to do, or say or how to act, and in that moment they should obey. I give Jo time to process, I don’t spring things on her, I warn her, that we are going to the dentist next week, and I repeat it daily, so by the time we are going to the dentist, she knows, and she may not be thrilled, but she is a big girl about it. However, if I were to tell her the morning of, the world would end, and the dentist, likely would not get anywhere near her mouth. I believe that in time, she won’t require so much warning, and it’s not even an inconvenience for me to let her know ahead of time. I would be pretty frustrated if suddenly I had to be at the dentist in 10 minutes, wouldn’t you? I almost feel like the way I parent is respectful to the child. Yes, I lay down the law when it’s necessary, and I try to be as consistent as possible, but I feel like its fair and better for the child’s sense of self to have some control over their little lives. Whether its a purple cup, warning about a trip to the dentist, or a choice of strawberries or an apple.

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I don’t feel that this means Jo rules my life, I know that when you love someone you make changes and sacrifices to make their life easier, yes, but also, to better them, to encourage growth, learning and decision making.

Jo getting her own fruit! #MissIndependent
Jo getting her own fruit! #MissIndependent

You may pride yourself in your ability to say jump and have your child leap into the air, and I do have that experience with my (step) kids (depending on the situation…. ) and yes, it makes life easier, but I don’t know how “easy” parenting is supposed to be? Isn’t parenting about growing ourselves as we nurture a new life? Being a mother has taught me so much about myself, and I have had to make so many changes, and take serious responsibility. Knowing this, I feel our kids deserve some slack. Why must we be dictators? When we really are meant to be teachers. And I don’t know about you, but my favorite teachers were the ones who personally invested in me, pushed me to be better, and gave me some slack when I needed it.

They have their moments...
They have their moments…

Sleep!!!

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Sleep… I love sleeping, I am one of those people who would gladly sleep all day, will leisurely roll out of bed at noon (given the option), I will press snooze 12 times, and be a complete bitch if I am woken up before I am ready, rudely, by the doorbell, by the neighbors screaming children, by my screaming children, or if we are not going to Disneyland. I have always been like this. On my 16th birthday, my dad came in to wake me up and I threw a shoe at him. (Don’t throw shoes at your dad, you’ll be in big trouble, and it does’t matter if it’s your birthday.) Something about mornings just rubs me the wrong way. I can’t eat in the morning. I can’t even drink coffee before 9 or 10 am. I have read so many times that it’s best to drink 12 ounces of water first thing in the morning to cleanse your body and start fresh, yeah…. I would throw up. I’m not kidding, any water in the morning is slowly sipped on. Otherwise I wait until after my stomach has agreed that it is, in fact time to ingest something. I will also suddenly get a fever and throw up if I do not get enough sleep. I do not like speaking to anyone about anything in the morning. I especially do not like to be asked questions. My mornings last forever. I take my time waking up, I read my Facebook news feed like it’s the morning paper, I return text messages, and then get up, brush my teeth and head for the coffee maker. I then sit quietly and read articles about health, human rights, or my favorite blogs, and answer emails…. Then I am available. I’m caffeineated, I have had my space, I can deal with human contact now.

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That was all before Isagenix, anways. Isagenix changed me! My first cleanse blew me away, but more importantly, it blew my fiance away! Poor James has to walk on egg shells in the morning so as not to piss off the Big Bad Wolf that lives in me before 10 am. Not anymore. For no reason at all, a few days into my first cleanse I started waking up around 8 am. I was wide awake, my mind was clear, I still was not hungry, and I still had to wait to drink my shake, BUT I DID NOT NEED COFFEE! I’m not kidding, and it’s crazy because if you know my family, you know that coffee runs through our veins! Growing up, my dad who is 27 years sober, went to AA meetings (where they serve coffee), led groups (where they serve coffee), worked in rehabs (where they LIVE on coffee), led Bible Talks (where they serve coffee), and eventually began roasting his own coffee beans as a hobby, he started buying raw coffee beans from Costa Rica and Panama and roasting them, so we had the best, freshest, most delicious coffee possible. My family HATES Starbucks, in fact, I’m probably not even allowed to say that word! It’s like calling on The Coffee Devil, or something in my family. My dad even has a running tab at his local coffee shop! Who has a coffee tab? IF I wanted to, I can even go to Element Coffee (in Camarillo) and order a drink, and put it on my dad’s tab. My mom does not believe in decaf, and my sister drinks coffee all day long. My parents might not even own a regular coffee maker, they do have an esspresso machine, and they make coffee by the individual cup by heating water, and pouring it over this little cup thing that sits on top of your mug. It took me a while to figure that one out. Also, they never pre-grind coffee beans. They always grind as needed.

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So you get the idea, coffee was my life source, and one day… it wasn’t. I still love coffee, don’t get me wrong. I drink it on weekends now, since weekends can be “cheat days”. I have started looking at coffee as a treat instead of a necessity. The IsaLean shakes give me all of the energy I need, and have given me better sleep at night. Having better sleep means needing less sleep, which means I am up earlier, functioning faster, and I have a better attitude!

 

Why is sleep so important? For one, you are recharging, you are resting your mind, giving it a break from all of your stresses, you are giving your subconscious a chance to take a deeper look at your problems. Your pores open when you sleep, which is why you should always wash your face before bed! Not sleeping enough stresses your body out and can cause weight gain! For those of you who have done the Belly Blaster (ask me about it!!!) with me, I have explained that part of the reason it works so well is because the protein and calcium puts your body into a deep sleep, and you lose inches over night! Better sleep means a better mood, mental clarity, and more energy.

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I was talking to a couple moms about sleep training this week. Sleep training your infant can be tough, but sleep training your toddler is HELL! Trust me, I know, I tried teaching my daughter how to sleep in her own bed when she was a baby, and that was such a failure! She co-slept until she was 2 years old. Honestly I did not mind much, I kept her on my schedule, and I breastfed until then, so she always needed me close, anyways. But I can see the benefits of having your child sleep in his/her own bed. For one, it destroys your sex life. I did not notice because I had lost interest in sex the moment I got pregnant in the first place. So a few years of co-sleeping did not bother me, in fact, I liked it. Nap time was a pain. She never had a scheduled nap time so she would just pass out while nursing and I would gently try to escape, but most of the time I was stuck. I watched Desperate Housewives, Prison Break, and House straight through on DVD during the first year!

When I finally did sleep train, she was old enough to understand, and defiant enough to pee every time I put her in her room. No we are not talking about a puppy… my daughter used to literally take off her panties, and pee at me. That’s what I get for potty training her when she was 14 months old. She knew how to hold it, and would pee to get out of naps. She would also occasionally throw up at me. Once, she was so tired she sat on her potty in the hallway and fell asleep peeing, and fell off, and I found her passed out, completely naked in the hallway. Eventually she did get the idea, and one of the best things was that she had “lovey’s” I think I got the idea from “The No Cry Sleep Solution”. (I mentioned it in my blog “Bonding”, if you want more details.) Now, she recommends A LOVEY, my daughter has like 25 lovey’s. She is extremely attached to her stuffed animals, and “squishies”. (Squishies are weird rubbery squishy toys that Jo is obsessed with.) It works for bedtime though, if she has her “friends” she is content. We have some nights where she does not want to sleep, but if you threaten to take her friends, she’s over it. She does not even need a night light, she is not afraid of the dark because she has her friends.

Dancing with her lovey
Jo (4) and her lovey

I do suggest sleep training sooner than I did. Everyone needs sleep, and it’s fair and respectful to your kids for them to have a safe comforting sleeping space and time. Kids need structure, they feel safe when they know the schedule. And I think, as parents, we owe it to our children to give them enough sleep, and to give ourselves some down time. Having time in the evening with James is very important to me. If James were not around I would appreciate the quiet by reading a book, scrapbooking, chatting with a friend on the phone or zoning out on TV. ME time is sacred. It should be to you, as well.

My friend’s mom reminded me of this a recently. The best way to get on a healthy sleep schedule is to get up at the same time every day. Even on weekends. I will be honest, I do not do this, I still stay in bed late on weekends, usually because James and I stay up late on weekends, but it is good advice, especially if you don’t like mornings. Once your internal clock figures out your schedule, mornings will be easier. Until then, try Isagenix!

If you have questions about trying Isagenix I would love to help! It’s risk free with a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee!!

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