Adventures in Attachment Parenting: Renewed with Parent Support by Allison Silver
As your unofficial ambassador to attachment parenting, I feel obligated to let everyone know that October is AP month. Attachment Parenting International has announced that the theme for this year’s AP month is Relax, Relate, Rejuvenate, Renewed with Parent Support.
When you think of relaxing and rejuvenating what image comes to mind? For many of us we may think of going to a day spa, jetting off to a tropical hideaway, or just enjoying a cup of coffee with our favorite magazine. In fact, as I’m writing this I am sitting in a condo overlooking Lake Tahoe. But do we ever think about being renewed through the support of others? The basic premise behind this month’s theme is that the parenting journey is easier when there are others alongside us to support us. As parents, especially mothers, we think we can handle anything that life throws at us. But nothing says that we have to do it alone.
Do you remember the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”? There is a lot of truth behind that. What does a village provide? It provides support! For many generations families lived close to one another and provided each other with support. But in today’s society many families do not live in the same city, let alone the same state! As a result many first time parents, especially new moms, feel isolated and are unsure of where to turn for support. It also doesn’t help that society portrays seeking support as a form of weakness. So many of us keep to ourselves and carry the burden of mothering alone.
I am here to tell you that we don’t have to feel ashamed to seek support. In fact, it’s quite healthy. Mothering is more than a full time job and we all deserve the camaraderie of other parents who can provide us with the support that we need. As a new mom I appreciated it when my mother-in-law suggested that I seek out my local La Leche League group for breastfeeding support. She told me that when she was a new mom this group provided her with much more than breastfeeding support; it provided her with an outlet for socialization. When our daughter was five months old I managed to get both of us ready in time and attended my first La Leche League meeting. I was so glad I did. As I sat and listened to the other moms expressing their joys and frustrations, I knew that I wasn’t alone.
At that meeting a mom told me about a website where I could find other local mom groups. I was so excited and went home, found a local group, and began to attend local playdates and meet other moms in our community. I didn’t realize how unique this group of moms was until we moved in May. I figured that I would find a similar group of moms in our new community.
For most of the summer I have looked for local mom groups to attend and have checked out several, but haven’t found any where I have felt really comfortable. On the Attachment Parenting International website I found the contact information for a local leader in my area. I was so excited but when I called her she informed me that the group was more of an online discussion group and was not meeting formally. I am all in favor of online support, but it doesn’t compare to face-to-face contact.
About a week ago I decided that there had to be other moms like me that existed, so I started my own support group for attachment parents in my community. The response has been overwhelming. In little over a week I have had twenty-four moms join my group. We had our first get together at my house last Friday and it felt reassuring to once again be amongst moms who I could relate to and who could understand and support my parenting choices without judging me.
My challenge to all of you for this month is to find a group of like-minded individuals who can offer you regular support. I know many of us are overloaded and can’t even imagine committing to something else, but if it was a doctor’s appointment you would make time for it, right? Consider this an appointment for your health. Having people around us who can offer us support can be a huge stress reliever. If we are less stressed then we are less likely to get sick. And let’s face it, when we are less stressed we are better parents to our children. Let’s get renewed through parent support. And going to the day spa wouldn’t be a bad idea either!