Adventures in Attachment Parenting: Happy to be Older and Wiser by Allison Silver
I never knew before the birth of our daughter how much I would love being a mom. This past year I have even thought, “Maybe we shouldn’t have waited so long to have our first child. Maybe we should’ve had our first child earlier.” I started thinking about it again this past week when my mother-in-law called me and told me that her father’s eighteen-year-old caregiver had emailed her resignation stating that she was pregnant.
Pregnant at eighteen! Holy Moly! I can’t even imagine being pregnant at eighteen! So many things started going through my head. Is she eating a good diet? Is she taking prenatal vitamins? Is she getting prenatal care? There are so many things that I think about now that I wouldn’t have had even a clue about when I was eighteen. I don’t know about you, but looking back, I didn’t even know who I was at eighteen. Of course, like most eighteen-year-olds I thought I had it all figured out! But little did I know how much my life would change in just a few short years. In fact, I am positive that I would not be the mother I am today if I would have started my family at eighteen.
The more I think about it the more I am convinced that there are some real benefits to having a family later than sooner. As a mother I am much more confident in my parenting choices. When you are younger so much of what you believe in is influenced by others. Being older I have much more life experience and real world knowledge than I did when I was eighteen. If I would have started my family when I was younger I don’t think I would be able to stand up against societal pressure and follow my maternal instincts.
I most likely would not have researched parenting styles and decided to pursue the attachment parenting philosophy. Attachment parenting requires people to put their child’s needs before their own. My husband and I met in our mid-twenties and as twenty something’s we were still very much wrapped up in ourselves and our own needs. Putting a child’s needs first was the last thing on our minds.
There is no way that we would have been ready to handle the financial or emotional responsibility of raising a family when we were younger. At this point in our lives our relationship is solid and we have much more financial stability. We have both worked very hard to be at a point in our lives where we can make financial decisions such as allowing me to stay home. Staying home with our daughter would not have been an option if we would have started a family when we were younger.
Time is a big factor. Last week when we wFere on vacation we went to a local community park and I met a grandmother who said, “I love my grandkids. I now have the time that I didn’t have with my own children.” After she said this I thought to myself how grateful I am that I do have the time. I have the time to spend with my daughter right now.
Overall, people are living longer these days and are able to start their families later if they so desire. This gives them time to figure out who they are and what they want from life. If we had children earlier, it would have been much harder for us to travel or pursue higher education. All of these experiences make us the people we are today.
I am at a point in my life where I am able to devote my time to our daughter and not be resentful of all the things I could’ve or should’ve done. In fact, I love spending this time with her. I’m not certain that I would have loved it so much when I was eighteen or even in my twenties. I feel confident that this is where I am supposed to be in my life right now.