It has been one of those days… Two failed nap attempts. A toddler who constantly wants to nurse.  The perpetual sounds of cranks and whines. There seemed to be nothing that would please him.

I kept it together pretty well, but late this afternoon I finally lost my patience. I missed the mark when it came to my job as a mother. It kills me to not be the epitome of the gentle, attached mother that I want to be (and that I usually am). But today (and really, all week) things have just been off track. He is extra whiny and needy, and my patience is stretched thin.

On days like this I could use more ideas for grounded, gentle and patient parenting. A few things that work for us so far…

What helps me set the tone:

  • A prayer to start the day, and intermediate prayers asking for God’s mercy throughout the day.
  • Beginning the day with a playful/joyous spirit.
  • Really focusing on him for the first hour of the morning (after my coffee is made, of course!)
  • Getting enough to sleep. Lately it’s been hard for me to go to bed on time.

What helps me try to get both of us back on track (or what helps me keep my sanity):

  • Taking the time to pay 100% attention to him for a while. Read books, play outside – whatever he wants is what we do.
  • On the flip side, letting him watch TV. Sometimes it is either this or I might jump ship.
  • If my husband is home, I am a big fan of letting them have one-on-one time. This is definitely a win-win for everyone.
  • Take a trip to the mall or Target. Take a walk. Water the plants together.

What are your ideas? If you have older kids, tell me: does your patience grow as time goes on? I sometimes wonder if I would be more patient if I had more perspective on just how young Calvin really is. I hope I don’t come off as sounding horribly impatient; my husband always tells me that he is amazed by my patience with Calvin. But when that patience cracks… boy, do I hate that.

Advertisements

That I wouldn’t mind sharing a bowl of cereal with a baby.

I’ve mentioned “attachment parenting” or “AP” several time already but I haven’t really gone into what it entails. I first learned of AP about five or six years ago thanks to the wonderful message boards at Mothering.com. As I prepared to have children there was no doubt in my mind that I would parent in an AP style. Since then I have found that many non-APers have misguided views about what AP entails. Common misconceptions include:

  • AP parents don’t discipline their children
  • AP parents coddle or spoil their children
  • It’s too hard to be AP / AP is unrealistic
  • AP produces overly dependent children

To be fair, there likely are AP parents that are like this. There are parents everywhere that are like this. But this is not what AP is about, and most AP parents can’t relate to these statements.

At it’s core, AP means that you believe that your baby/child is a person worthy of respect and not an inconvenience that needs to be managed as such. It’s about a long-term committment to meet your child’s needs. It’s about integrating your children into your life. It’s about parenting from the heart without the baggage of cultural views. AP parents strive to be in tune (“attached”) to their children.

At first glance any decent parent would say “hey, I do that!” But then you later find all sorts of exceptions: they don’t meet their child’s needs at night, they don’t nurse the child except when it is convenient to do so, they discipline using a short-term fix rather than a long-term focus, their attitude sends a clear message that their child is an inconvenience. Now that I’ve criticized some parenting practices, let me be quick to qualify that I am not an AP poster child, nor am I anywhere near the perfect parent. But I do believe that there is a lot we can learn from attachment parenting practices – a lot that flies in the face of the way that our modern culture tries to parent. Read the rest of this entry »