Attachment parenting, pared down greatly to mean you intentionally create a secure, loving attachment or bond between parent and child, is adored by some and loathed by others. It’s one of many parenting philosophies, and my personal take is some of it is stuff you would do naturally, some makes sense but I wouldn’t have thought of it, and some of it is pushing it a little for me. Regardless, I’ve found myself to have a very attached child. Perhaps too attached, if there’s such a thing.
He desperately wants to be with me at all moments of the day, physically touching me if possible. He wants to be carried, held, rocked, and rubbed. When he was little, this was great. I’d inadvertently stumbled upon a way to make my child feel secure. He was perfectly content to be wrapped up close to my chest wherever we went, preferring a carrier to a stroller. He fought sleep with a passion, but would doze peacefully in my arms or nestled in my shoulder in my bed. He would hang close to me in new places, never running off and causing trouble.
Most of the time this attachment was oh so sweet. What mom doesn’t want their baby close by? But then it slowly started to wear on me. See, he was only attached in this way to me, the mom. While he loved his daddy and grandparents fiercely, it was me he wanted for everything, all the time. When sometimes all you need is a minute to yourself, this seemingly innocent love can wear you down in the most unexpected way possible. Nonetheless, I let it continue, sure he would grow out of it when he was ready; when he was more confident and independent.
Now at three, nothing has changed. Well, almost nothing.
He doesn’t nurse anymore and will run off to play on the playground on his own, but besides that, he’s still about momma for all things all the time. Three is still young in so many ways, so maybe he really does still need the security of his mom, but it’s also fairly grown up, in ways I don’t necessarily want to admit.
Is three too old to need mom for every little, tiny thing? By going along with this, are we inadvertently causing bigger problems to come down the road? Will it lead to guilt and frustration on my part?
He wants me for everything you could think of and more; would it be better to stop meeting his requests so it won’t be so hard later, or are we simply meeting his needs at the time?
He wants mom to brush his teeth, take him potty, pack his lunch, take him to school, put him to bed, get him more ketchup, make his breakfast, watch TV with him, read him books.
Most of these are things I do anyway by default, which is probably what got us here in the first place. Maybe it’s comfort of routine and consistency. But there’s going to be a time (and there have been plenty already) where someone else needs to do these things and it can’t cause a major meltdown every time. It’s stopped us from signing up for soccer or swimming or music because he won’t leave me. So is he too attached, or is this simply the slow process of a child growing up in his accord, on his own schedule?
To this, I don’t know the answer.More On