Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ode to my husband or Attachment Parenting can be rough on Dads too

I love my husband and for all the silly fights and disagreements we've had the last year, deep down in my heart, I know he's my soulmate. Of course being my soulmate also means he knows how to push my buttons which I swear sometimes is done solely for his entertainment. But I digress.
As new parents and as adults who have spent a good 10 years together sans a wee one in the house, disagreements and arguments abound. I know this. I also know it's not a reflection on our love or lack of for each other. It's simply our growing pains as humans shifting our priorities from ourselves and each other to our child.
The one thing that we both agree on though is the bettermint of our child. Parenting is about trial and error and during our short foray so far, we've learned that we lean toward attachment parenting.
I'm not an expert. I'm merely a Mom who is learning as she goes. I read alot. I research alot. I ask alot of questions. The one thing I found was how there are particular articles on the challenges of attachment parenting for women living in a modern society.
Yes it is true that attachment parenting has its challenges but name anything associated with parenting that isn't a challenge. For me as a woman, I can spout out a list of things that are challenges for me. Breastfeeding was a challenge but I conquered it and I'm proud to be an extended breastfeeder. Working and continuing our attachment parenting principles have been challenging but I'm not the only woman doing it. Focusing on nighttime parenting after a hectic day is a challenge but it can be done. Attachment parenting is adaptable and if you find your heart leans towards AP, you make things work.
Well, all these articles focus on moms but AP is tough for dads too. My husband is a great AP dad. Now, he doesn't wear her as much anymore and much rather prefers to have her walk by herself or stroll her but that doesn't make her any less of an AP-er.
I'd like him to focus on her more and less on his laptop somedays but she continues to have a healthy, solid relationship with her Dad and is developing extraordinary cognitive skills. I know all parents say that. What makes AP great is that even within a couple, the principles are focused on differently making for a more well rounded child, in my opinion.
I know that my husband thinks some of my views and opinions are a little too crunchy but he knows I truly believe it is in the best interest for our daughter. For the most part, if it doesn't completely go off the deep end, he smiles and agrees with me. Sometimes he disagrees but he still abides by my desires. This means no sippy cups. Our efforts have paid off quickly with a toddler who can drink from a straw and a cup. This means, no TV even as background noise. Her concentration is strong. Her vocabulary growing every day and her ability to play quietly by herself is welcomed. This means keeping her nap and sleep routine sacred. She's happy and has minimal tantrums and can express herself readily.
It's tough on us, as parents and as spouses but in the end, we think it's worth it.
What's truly tough for my husband and I really do admire him and appreciate him all the more is how he defends me and our family.
Personally, even though I defend my beliefs, I always question myself. I ask myself am I being too rigid in my views on natural, pesticide free foods for my daughter? Am I allowing her nap routine to rule my day too much?
My husband probably doesn't beat himself like I do but he's got folks questioning him probably quite often about our views. Being a stay at home dad is hard. Being a stay at home attached dad with parents and in-laws that don't quite understand the principles is even harder. Still, he's firm and he'll tell anyone who asks, I'm trying to raise a self confident girl who will one day grow up to be a self confident woman who doesn't fall for the short skirts, heavy makeup, princess type mass marketing promotes. No, we don't like anything that says princess or branded items. We focus on her talents and developing her cognitive skills. We cherish her being a kid and will protect her right to continue to be a kid for as long as possible. We take pride in our family unit being a team and will promote this necessary foundation.
And he does all this while balancing on the delicate tight rope that is the grandparent/parent/in-laws relationship.
So, thank you DH for protecting me, our daughter and our family. I don't know if the triangle gets better or worse over time but as a team we'll muddle through it.