Working Does Not Make You Exempt from Attachment Parenting

OK, so just because I bravely took on the title “Attachment Mama” does not mean I’m the official spokesperson for the Attachment Parenting philosophy.  I’m my own solitary trumpet — just one little Mama blog out there among thousands.

With that caveat, I’d like to say I do not believe working mothers can’t be AP mothers. Some may suggest that I’m holding this belief as a defense mechanism to assuage some guilt that I’m feeling as I gear up to re-enter the workforce full-time.

But I don’t think so. I think it’s a shame that many women believe Attachment Parenting is a standard they can’t live up to for one reason or another, and that it’s especially impossible to live up to if they work.

Principles of Attachment Parenting such as: feed with love and respect, respond with sensitivity, ensure physically and emotionally safe sleep, and provide consistent loving care tend to translate to:  breastfeed, avoid sleep-training, co-sleep, keep baby close physically and do not leave your baby for extended periods of time.  I believe all of the principles are great tools for developing secure attachment and connection with your baby — and I also know how easy it is to go down the unhealthy path of beating yourself up for not being “AP Enough.”

I’ve had small, passing worries about things like putting my baby on the floor to play while I cook or clean, thinking I should really have her in a baby sling but don’t feel like it. And I’ve had bigger, longer frets about my choice to wean my eldest at 17 months when I was sick with pregnancy with our second.

For myself, and all other mothers seeking to rid themselves of anxiety-producing perfectionism, I’d like to be a voice for the Attachment Parenting practice that encourages us all to step back a bit and focus on the concept of Good Enough.

I also refuse to advocate for a parenting practice with any kind of implied socio-economic exclusivity.

Seriously!  Parents that must work to support their family should not be exempt from practicing Attachment Parenting. Nor should parents that choose to work because their emotional cups are filled when they work and  are then better able to connect with their children.

So what does Attachment Parenting International (API) recommend for working moms seeking to ensure attachment through consistent care when the care-giver must be someone else?  On their web site they suggest the following:

  • Explore a variety of economic and work arrangement options to permit your child to be cared for by one or both parents at all times
  • It is extremely important to have continuity of care with a consistent, loving, caregiver
  • Parents should expect and encourage their child to form an attachment to the caregiver
  • Frequent turnover of caregivers can be very damaging to the attachment process
  • Make the transition to a caregiver well in advance of any separation so that it is a gradual process and is comfortable for the child
  • Minimizing the number of hours in non-parental care as much as possible provides the best opportunity for a child to build secure attachments with parents
  • Holding and cuddling helps parents and babies reconnect after being apart. Include the child in day-to-day tasks, and spend non-work time with family

API offers additional advice for Moms going back to work here.

One of my favorite Attachment Parenting bloggers works full-time and has written some great posts on the subject as well.  Check out PhD in Parenting and her post from a few years ago on balancing her career and family.  She rocks.

As I make my transition back to work, I will share the process here.  My hope is that with my husband working from home now that he will be able to take some time during the day with both our children, but especially our one-year old to minimize non-parental care.  I also hope to ease her transition to being cared for by a new person when the time comes to hire or share a nanny.

Wish me luck!  Of course I’m fretting a bit……  😉

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5 Responses to “Working Does Not Make You Exempt from Attachment Parenting”

  1. Paige says:

    I agree! I work full time and not only do I attachment parent I think it helps that I do. Co-sleeping and nursing is some of the most precious time I get with my daughter. I have certainly never found AP hard but very natural and so full of joy! Great post, good luck when you go back to work.

  2. Dawnie says:

    I love you Monica and I respect and understand your decision! You’re going through this process with such care. Your girls are so lucky. You’re in my prayers, friend!!

    • Thank you Dawnie! I am grateful for the beautiful time I’ve had and am working to put some things in place so that when I am home I’m able to be fully present to them. Thanks for your prayers! xoxoxo

  3. […] I wish all Stay At Home Mama’s the absolute best in their chosen path, whether it is to mother full-time, to be a part-time “WAHM” or to go back to work full-time.  I believe attachment parenting is fully possible with any of these paths. […]

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