Seriously, what is it? See, I thought fads were temporary fashions, notions or manners of conduct. Not something you could really apply to anything you’ll be doing everyday for the rest of your life. Like parenting.
But apparently, parenting is a fad, and according to this post on Today Moms, we should all read up on the latest style. In this case, “Detachment Parenting”. Ok, ok, I know this post is written tongue-in-cheek as a response to all the attention attachment parenting is getting lately, supposedly due to this NYT cover(although in my opinion, attachment parenting was doing a fine job garnering attention on its own). And I actually think a lot of what Sarah Maizes says in her piece is funny and true. I certainly share a somewhat similar parenting philosophy.
But that’s just it: it’s a parenting philosophy. It’s not a fad. It’s not going away, any more than my daughter is going away (and I wouldn’t want either of those events to happen!). So if I acknowledge that Maizes is being cute in her writing about so-called Detachment Parenting, then why am I writing about it?
It’s not so much the story itself, which I already mentioned that I can dig. It’s the headline: The latest child-rearing fad? Detachment parenting. It’s meant to get people (parents) up in arms, no matter which side of the fence they parent on. Attachment-leaning parents? Appalled that someone would think of, much less practice or write about, something called detachment parenting. Rolling over and turning off the monitor when the child cries? Abandonment! Allowing the child to sleep in a space separate from the parent in the first place? Unthinkable! (Read my sarcasm here, folks).
And then there are the people who do lean toward a more hands-off, independent style of parenting (again, I mostly identify myself with these people). The very wording: detachment parenting, has negative connotations. I would never go around telling people I’m parenting my child in a detached fashion. Heck, it’s hard enough these days to admit that I’m trying to raise her to be independent. At four months old? Well, yeah, I happen to believe that if I don’t start now, I may never get there with her. I happen to believe that at four months old, she is capable of a certain amount of independence, and I want to encourage that in her. She needs it, and I need it. What’s not to love?
Let me back up a bit by confessing that one of the biggest shocks to me after becoming a mom was how incredibly judgy other moms are. A piece of advice or a sideways glance is often a thinly veiled nod of disapproval. Here I was, thinking that being a mom would be like joining a club of other women who had been there, done that. Well, yeah, it is, but those moms also want to compare and judge all day long. Baby not sleeping through the night yet? One mom told me to put cereal in her bottle. When I explained that I wasn’t against her having solid foods, but only wanted to introduce them with a spoon because that’s how she’s going to have to learn to eat anyway, I felt pretentious. Another mom suggested that she just wanted to cuddle, and I should just get up with her and cuddle, or rock with her, or sleep with her, or quit my job and give her more attention.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in parenting so far is that you have to know what you believe and stick with it. If you don’t you’re going to spin your wheels, following everyone else’s advice and maybe never finding something that works for you. It’s a reality that, no matter what trick you use for any situation, somebody, somewhere, will judge you for it. Sad, but true. I’ve found that my job as a parent is to stop caring what other people think and just go for it.
So…a parenting fad? Nah. I don’t think anyone really believes that, Today Moms, and I’m not sure, but I think we all see through your attempt to sensationalize parenting choices and put us at odds with one another (again). I do, and I’m not loving it.