Monday, April 28, 2008

API I AM

When I met my amazing group of mama's I got well versed on slings and carriers real quickly (I should have known I when the friend I met first had a blog called "Adventures in Babywearing" lol). My first thought on getting a sling was due to convenience, I didn't really think about the advantages or benefits that Jonah might get as a result of it. He liked being carried around (what baby doesn't?!??!) so I really needed something to help keep him close, but let me have a free hand (or two!) to get the work around the house done. I bought myself an amazingly wonderful and beautiful sling and put it to use. It did the job, but Jonah wasn't a big fan at first. I was discouraged and I felt he was too old already to really like it. Over time though, he did come to enjoy it for the most part and the bond I felt holding him close was indescribable. To this day, we still use it time and time again, whether we are at home or out and about. (SShhhh...Daddy even wears him sometimes, but I don't know if that's something he wants everyone to know about...lol)

Not only was babywearing something all my new mama friends had in common, they also were (are!) some of the sweetest and kindest mother's to their children I have ever met! The way they talked to their kids and refrain from yelling at them when something went astray impressed me and the more research I did into "attachment parenting" the more I started to figure it all out. Yet, I felt discouraged (again) because I didn't fit into the "attachment parenting profile", I didn't breastfeed (I didn't know any better), I didn't babywear (near as much as other mama's), I didn't co-sleep (we do now!), I didn't make my own baby food (but did feed him the best food I could find), and I have a tendency to get frustrated when the little guy throws me a curve ball...so as much as I wanted to fit into that perfect mold of the mama's I admired, I felt I never could. All I knew was that I loved my child more than I knew was possible and I hug and kiss on him...a lot. And when I am outside of my tribe o' mama's, I don't see that as much as I'd like. Do I love on Jonah too much? No, I don't think that is possible.

Also, before I even knew these mama's I vowed to never smack/hit/spank my child, and never tell him "no!" without giving a valid explaination. Now, sometimes I do go astray and just say "no!" without telling him why, but for the most part I stick to my guns. If I get frustrated, I try my very best to not raise my voice, to remain calm, and understand that he is a little person, and not a robot that I can control. I give Jonah a lot more credit than I thought I ever would. I allow him to explore and challenge himself
The more research I have done, the more I begin to realize that these mama's aren't going to judge me. They aren't going to shun me from the club because of the reason's I am not their perfect twin in every single mama-way. These mama's are understanding, compassionate, patient women and not the type to outcast me because I thought breastfeeding was gross because I didn't know any better.

I came across this post over at API Speaks and it brought me that comfort. Therefore, I don't feel like an outcast anymore. I feel like I can proudly call myself a part of the AP group. I love my son and do many things that some mama's may not agree with, but at least within the AP Club, I feel understood and accepted and my judgements are verified. It's a good feeling to know that the decisions I have made for my son are okay, when so many people disagree (doctor's included). These women give me a sense of pride for allowing me to be a part of their group. They give me hope and support to be the very best mama I can be.


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5 comments:

Life With All Boys said...

There is no one right way to be a good parent. We are all just doing the best we can for our children.

Not Just Any Jen said...

I think boxing yourself in as a AP parent is limiting at times, and anyone who would judge you in these terms is not really acting as compassionate as they say. You need to pick and choose what works for you and your family and know you're doing your best! You are am amazing mom!

Carrington said...

Aw, I loved this post! I'm so happy that all these ladies have given you the confidence that you needed to follow your "mommy instincts".
:::Love::::

To Think is to Create said...

Really great post, Jen. From the heart, passionate. Loved it. :)

Yes, it's not about judgment. It's about doing what we feel is best for our babes.

Tasha said...

I found your blog through the babywearing bloggers on Stephs (Adventures in babywearing)site. I just wanted to say I really enjoyed your post. I was a young mom and did many things "by the books" and the attachment parenting was not part of it..I also do not fit in the mold of the perfect attachment parent, but do find the value in trying to be the best parent I can be. Thanks for sharing that even though we don't all fit it, we can have friends who help make us better people. I really enjoyed your site :)