Parenting labels… what’s the deal?

PIN IT

I dont understand parenting labels. I don’t understand them at all. People say to me, oh so your an attachment parent? Some say this with a tone of judgement others with a tone of respect… either way, I find it a bit odd. People make this assumption because we do tick a lot of the boxes. We co-sleep, we breastfeed exclusively, we wear Bo… constantly. I’m not an attachment parent. I’m a lot of things but when it comes to parenting, I’m not anything other than Bo’s parent.

I don’t like labels (it’s probably not best to get me started on how people label children… I’m sure there will be plenty of time for that in the future). It frustrates me to no end that our western society is so quick to slap a label on something – whether it be person, behaviour or attitude… and then box it up and tuck it in a dark corner again, never to be revisited. I love many of the aspects of the attachment parenting theory and others I find very unrealistic for my lifestyle and my child. What I dislike most about it is its name, it assumes that other styles of parenting are detached, and I don’t like that at all. I believe that fundamentally we are all attached to our children. In researching for this post I discovered tens of “parenting labels” I’d never even heard of, including but not limited to the tiger parent, the helicopter parent, the slow parent, the free range parent… I mean, seriously? But then, I’ve only been in this game for the past four months, and had to look up what an “attachment parent’ was – so I obviously have no idea.

We (my husband and I) have our own parenting styles, styles that are often very different from each other. But we also have a set of common beliefs in the way we wish to raise our daughter. Respect is a huge part of the way we parent our child. Survival (not Bo’s, she’s fine, it’s more so our own) is another. There is so much chatter in the parenting world about eat, play, sleep routines… about feeding schedules, nap schedules, sleep patterns, bedding guides, what food to eat when, baby lead weaning… there is a name and a label for every-bloody-thing you could possibly imagine. There is talk of the manipulative child, there is talk of creating a needy child, a dependant child, an insecure child. There is talk of creating the selfish child, the demanding child, the wimpy child. There are huge, loud and often fear mongering debates about co-sleeping, homeschooling, baby-wearing etc. It goes on and on and on. We (humans) have been raising children since the beginning of time. Was this the way when our mothers were parenting us? My mother says, no. She didn’t even THINK to pick up a pregnancy book or parenting book to tell her how to grow/raise me… was she the norm? Probably.

But today our choices are judged by our peer group and many of those in generations who have already walked this parenting path themselves. But shouldn’t our choice as parents, our choice as to how to raise our own flesh and blood, our adopted children, the children placed in our care – be respected? After all any caring, loving parent makes these choices with the child’s best interests at heart. Isn’t that what matters most? That a child is loved. That a child is cared for… the best way the parent knows how. Since when did something so natural, so loving and so wonderful as parenting become some sort of sordid competition?

Parenting choices spur heated debates all over the internet… and even nastier ones in playgrounds all around the western world. I do wonder, do they have these problems in the east? Women (and Men) feel they have the right to comment, nay judge, other women (and Men) on their parenting. It’s outlandish really. I guess the only thing I will say about that (I’ve been very lucky to have lots of very supportive people around me even if they don’t 100% believe in the way I’m doing things) is that often the people that yell the loudest, and the people who are the fastest to judge – are the people who are most insecure about their own choices.

Chuck out the labels, and I’d bet we would ALL feel better about ourselves…

xox

Bo and I are having a lovely time in Perth, by the way. Photos, stories and love to come later in the week.

 

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  • June 20, 2012 - 10:40 am

    Teresa from A Mother's Haven - Thanks for the great post! :-) Labels tend to limit, rather than help. Like you said, just raise your child to be happy and healthy, and make sure that you as parents are also happy and healthy along the way – however that works out for your family situation!ReplyCancel

  • June 20, 2012 - 10:47 am

    Jade - I love this, just LOVE it! Well written Sash =)ReplyCancel

  • June 21, 2012 - 6:03 am

    Cassie Nguyen - Amen, sister! I think when it comes to parenting Loc and I are a bit of a Rubick’s Cube… A few squares of this, a few squares of that – and never do we have one whole side the same colour!ReplyCancel

    • June 23, 2012 - 7:58 pm

      Sash - That’s an awesome analogy for parenting Cass xxx You and Loc, as different as you are, are certainly doing it right! xoReplyCancel

  • June 23, 2012 - 7:03 am

    Kelly Mac - Well said! These labels will just pit us mamas against one another when we should be supporting each other instead!ReplyCancel

    • June 23, 2012 - 8:45 am

      Sash - I agree Kelly, now just to pass it on to all the other mamas out there! Everything is better Together.ReplyCancel

  • August 5, 2012 - 2:26 pm

    » Looking inward for trust. Inked in Colour - […] exceptions of course). If you’ve read much of my blog before you would know that I’m not into labels, in fact I hate them… So perhaps this is a bit odd for me to say, I kinda like this one. The […]ReplyCancel

  • January 14, 2013 - 6:23 pm

    tastytucker - First time reader here…found you through the 52week project! Your little girl is beautiful!
    I agree, as long as our kids are loved, cared for, safe, well fed and nurtured then we’re doing a good job! I’m a breastfeeder and loosely follow a routine only because it works for me and my girls and not for any other reason. Society needs to stop putting the pressure on to parent in certain ways and as parents, we need to support and embrace each others differences rather than judge! :)ReplyCancel

    • January 14, 2013 - 6:45 pm

      Sash - Hear, hear!ReplyCancel

  • March 6, 2013 - 5:16 am

    The Aesthetics of Maternity… | Inked in Colour - […] We class ourselves and each other. We are classed into groups, just like we were in highschool. The nerds, the jocks, the drama kids, the rebels, the art-freaks, etc. etc. Because of how we look, choices we make and how we present ourselves to the world. It probably doesn’t surprise you that I think this sort of pigeon holing is ridiculous. But it’s when these groupings start to define the way we parent or the way we are judged on our parenting that I find it all a bit distressing. The crunchy mama, the routine mama etc. etc. this unspoken class system that opens up for mothers to be judged depending on a gross generalisation of their parenting philosophy… […]ReplyCancel

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