When Dash was born, before we left the hospital they brought us one last paper to sign. It went something like this:
Please accept or decline the following.
We hereby declare that we will raise this child entirely according to the principles of Attachment Parenting, never deviating from the laws set out by Dr Bill Sears in his canonical volumes, including but not limited to the following basic tenets:
- always wearing the baby and/or child, never pushing them in any type of wheeled conveyance
- breastfeeding on demand, at every peep, day and night, for the entirety of the first two years and thereafter as long as you possibly can
- sleeping like a big happy pile of puppies in a family bed until the day the child decides they want to sleep alone
- never, ever, allowing the baby to cry. At all.
On receipt of this signed declaration, you will be issued with an Attachment Parenting card. The Attachment Parenting Police may stop by your house unannounced at any point and your card may be revoked if such things as a stroller, a crib, or an open tin of formula are found in your possession.
Then there was a note:
Alternatively, you may wish to join the Evil Parenting movement. In this case, you will need form 666B, wherein you will avow to eschew slings, wraps, and carriers of all types; to wean the day your baby turns six months old or starts solids, whichever happens first – or to use formula from the get-go; to leave your baby in a crib in a dark room down the hall from your bedroom from day one and never ever nurse him/her to sleep; and to generally follow faithfully the principles laid out by either Ezzo or Gina Ford to the letter.
In big letters along the bottom, it said: THERE IS NO MIDDLE WAY.
Oh, wait. No, they didn’t.
We left the hospital with a new baby and a few ideas about how we wanted to look after him. When one thing didn’t work, we tried another. We ended up doing what worked, until it stopped, and then we looked at our options, read a variety of books, and tried again. After a while, the baby got bigger and those things were easier and different things were important. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Parenting is a journey, not a label.
Now can everyone please just go back to whatever they were doing last week?