Adventures In Attachment Parenting: Eating My Own Advice by Allison Silver
Before I had our daughter I was working my way up the public school ladder, so to speak. One of my many assignments was to create and present parent education workshops to the parents of our preschool students. I presented a new workshop roughly every four to six weeks and even threw in a couple make and take workshops as well. My presentations ranged from understanding behavior to potty training and everything in between.
During this time in my life I felt very confident spouting off words of wisdom that I had gained from my many years of academia. Not only had I spent many years acquiring this knowledge but I had also applied the information that I was sharing in my own classroom. So I had first hand experience, right? Most of the parents were very pleased with my workshops and seemed grateful for the information that I was sharing with them. My mother even attended one of my workshops when she was visiting and commented on how much I knew my stuff. But really, in all actuality, I knew nothing!
Not all of the parents appreciated my advice and throughout the years there has always been this one mom that has stuck with me. Early on in my career I gave a mom who had a young son with Autism an article on nutrition. She looked at it, looked at me and said, “Thanks, I will put this on the shelf with all of the other crap you give me!” I was taken aback by her response and a bit dumbfounded. I wasn’t sure how to react to her abruptness or what I had done to cause it. Afterall, I was just trying to help. But one thing is for sure, I did not give her any more articles!
Now that I’m a mom, I think about that experience and I totally get it. As moms we are all doing the best we can and when someone gives us a recommendation or an article to read it can make us feel inadequate, like we aren’t good enough or that we are doing something wrong. Sometimes after I attend our parent/tot class at Waldorf, I feel the same way. Each week our teacher hands out a parenting article and instead of thinking how great it is or how I can apply it to my life, I sometimes think to myself “Thanks, just what I need another parenting article.” I know, from my own experience, that our teacher is attempting to be supportive and share her knowledge of the Waldorf philosophy with us. But as a mom I can’t help and feel a bit judged. Like my parenting isn’t right or I should be doing something different. I really had no idea, until I became a parent, what a sensitive subject parenting can be. If you don’t believe me get a group of moms together and make some blasé statement about parenting! They will eat you alive! Seriously, parenting is right up there with religion and politics!
I think about the many parent education workshops that I have taught and laugh! Basically everything that I have instructed parents to do or not to do I have done the exact opposite with my own parenting! In fact sometimes I feel like the world’s biggest hypocrite. My husband always gives me digs about it he will say, “Remember when you used to say…….” And he is right, that is what I used to say, think, and believe. But the one thing I have learned during these past two years is that all children and families are unique and not one solution, parenting style, or technique works for everyone.
Let’s face it parenting is hard and most days we are all doing the best we can to just make it till bedtime! And in the long run it doesn’t really matter where your child eats, how many times they brushed their teeth, or what time they went to sleep! As long as it works for you and your family then who cares what anyone else thinks about it! If there is one thing that I have learned it is, to trust yourself as a parent and do what works best for you and your situation. And if what you are doing isn’t working then by all means make a change. There are so many resources out there and if you are interested I’m sure I can conjure up a PowerPoint or two!