Saturday, October 24, 2009

natural parenting

From the time Summer was born, we have been doing "attachment parenting". It's based on tribal child-raising practices. I have just come across this great article by Sagacious Mama, of why western style AP doesn't always work as well as it does for the tribal mamas. Basically, it's because we do not live in tribes. Of course! But how many of us try to replicate those philosophies - carrying our babes in slings during the day, sleeping with them at night, being there for every single moment?... Tribal mamas share those things with other family members. They are not the sole provider of care, and even when they are caring for their babes, they are surrounded by support 24/7, unlike western mamas who might get that kind of support just a couple of hours a week.

I am not saying that western-style AP cannot work, but perhaps there is a way it can work better than it is. I know there have been many times when I've felt drained and lost sight of who I am as a person and as a wife, in my attempt to be the best AP mama I could be. I think we need to start by better gentler with ourselves. Knowing it's okay to say "no" to requests that would over-stretch us, knowing it's okay to put ourselves first sometimes, knowing it's okay to have a trusted friend or family member stay with our kids for a while so we can have a date with ourselves or our partner.

In the absence of larger tribes, I see the value in extended families sharing a home, or at least sharing some land. Community living is becoming much more popular as people are realising that they have been missing something by living in crowded cities, yet so isolated from community.

I am proud of the way I have parented my children so far. I do wish though, that I would have had someone say "it's okay to let others be involved in this - it won't give your mama power away, your children will still love you". Maybe they did say that, but I wasn't listening because I thought that others would then do it their own way and not my way and that would be confusing for the kids. So..much better to have a stretched out mama who was sometimes too tired to be any thing for any one. No.

I cannot change the past, but I am ready to actively create my future that includes settling in an area where we can stay and form bonds and be a part of a community. A blend of tribe and western life. I don't plan on giving up the internet or libraries or my car. I do plan on growing food and growing friends and growing family and growing... connections. To find a balance of being present for my children, and being in touch with who I am, and not being afraid to share either.


Miranda said...

I have been thinking about community a lot lately and I have come to the conclusion that what I want to do cannot be done alone, in a nuclear family. We humans were meant to live in much larger groups. I would love it if my girls got to parent with help (me!) around.

Annette said...

I agree!

ruth said...

this totally resonates with what i have been thinking of late... we have been leaving our 8 week old with a friend so my husband and i could have some alone time (twice so far), and you know what? she was fine... infact, probably better for the experience