What Parenting Style Do You Prescribe To?

by flowers on February 24, 2010 · 23 comments


Now let it go.

I used to be an attachment parenting, naturally minded mama who homebirthed, used cloth diapers and swore my kid would never use a pacifier (or watch tv-ha!).

Now maybe I still do all those things. (Maybe, maybe not?–doesn’t really matter.) But what I’ve learned on my journey into this wild world of parenting is that self-identifying with certain labels and movements can at first be inspiring in a “wow-a guide to live by!” sort of way, but in reality they limit our potential of finding our fantastic flow.

I’ve had so many discussions with friends who were staunch APers, but guiltily whisper (we cried it out, used a pacifier, signed his soul to the devil etc.) delving into the world of the all too familiar self-guilt that riddles every parent’s heart.

I say-so what. Sure you would’ve liked a natural birth, a baby who slept so soundly you could dreamily relay what a fantastic night’s sleep you got snuggled up to them, or a child who didn’t have acid-reflux or car sickness in which a pacifier helped soothe those rough times. But that wasn’t what happened and we found our own way (even if we had to break some of the “rules”).

The more we free ourselves up from the very constraints we place ourselves in– the easier it is to find a unique flow that works for our family. I think every family could write a book. It would be called “The Jones’ Guide to a Happy, Healthy Family” or maybe “The Guilmett-Clancy Guide to Family Living”.

We all take the little pieces of wisdom we find and work them into our lives and most of the time applying them into our family actually changes the original game plan. Why? Because there are no parents who are exactly like you and no children who are just like your children.

Throw it all together and you get a one-of-a-kind, mixed-up, bejazzled, completely fantastic and uniquely amazing family. And your family deserves a style all of its own.

Free yourself: give up parenting dogma.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Devon February 24, 2010 at 1:34 am

This is totally my doula philosophy! What I try to convey to all of my mamas… I want to name it but that would be defeating the purpose, I suppose…
.-= Devon´s last blog ..Love Socks =-.


exhale. return to center. February 24, 2010 at 7:56 am

right there with you hillary.

a while back i started sharing “confessions” on my blog as a way to give voice to all the little ways i was “breaking the rules” and in doing so being true to who i really am.

i’m still sharing these kinds of posts but no longer labeling them as confessions because well…they are just me being me!!!

so incredibly freeing to let go of everyone elses rules and be who you are!!!!
.-= exhale. return to center.´s last blog ..5 days. 5 videos. ~ #2 =-.


renee @ FIMBY February 24, 2010 at 7:58 am

I love it! You know this is my message also. I do think each family could write their own book – as inspiration & encouragement for other people but not to say “this is how we’ve done it and you must follow the exact same path”.

You are speaking my language sister. I have never identified myself with one particular parenting or homeschooling philosophy. We are the Tougas family, we do what works for us and what is in keeping with our values.


paganmama February 24, 2010 at 9:23 am

What’s happened lately to me, to my surprise: people (ok, my mom and my therapist), knowing that we have a “different” (largely AP-inspired) way of doing things, want to know what “they” say about weaning, moving the baby to his own bed, etc. The implication is that we have a strict ideology and will do whatever “they” tell us to do.

We’re flexible and improvisatory, but because we have a different way of doing things, it’s assumed that we’re ideology-bound. Weird.


Lisa (faerie) February 24, 2010 at 9:28 am

thats awesome, so true. Most mummas use ‘a bit of this and a bit of that’ and can feel guikty talking to their friends that can be in each extreme. A friend of mine was almost apologetically telling me that her 3yo was still feeding. I think its fantastic, but every other person she told would tell her how gross that was. It can have an impact with what you share with people. We should be proud to all have our own individual parenting styles!
.-= Lisa (faerie)´s last blog ..Aussie Red Dirt =-.


~Tara February 24, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Amen, honey. The guilt thing is what really riddles relationships. It’s so important to keep in mind what you want to be doing while forgiving yourself for being human. It’s equally important to understand that listening to anyone but your own family is a recipe for disaster.

Labels can be awesome for conveying information without a 3 hour discussion of “How We Live”. Labels can help you find your tribe or understand yourself better. But no label will ever be perfect. And having compassion for ourselves and others is what it is important.

I think the only real sadness to any parenting is parenting unconsciously. And following a dogma can be just as unconscious as not.
.-= ~Tara´s last blog ..I think it’s called exhaustion… =-.


Amber February 24, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I love this post. I really, really love it.

I have considered myself AP, but I definitely beat myself up over not following the checklist exactly. Eventually, I realized that my parenting goal is more about following my child’s lead and striving for family balance than checking things off a list. It works much better for me to think that way, because it allows much more space for individual circumstances.
.-= Amber´s last blog ..Dishwater Blues =-.


Maria February 24, 2010 at 5:08 pm

You said it very well! I like to raid the “experts” for the ideas that I like/ work for us and ditch the rest! Keeping at the centre respect for everyone in the family!


Zanna February 24, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Just came by to say a big “Yeah that!”


deb February 24, 2010 at 5:36 pm

“free your mind and the rest will follow” – totally agree w/ this post – been thinking likemindedly for a while now on this topic – and now can’t get that darn En Vogue song to stop playing in my mind :}
.-= deb´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.


Ricki Booker February 24, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I LOVE this post!


Nicki February 25, 2010 at 9:37 am

So true! Labels – whether in parenting, in relationships, in almost anything – limit what is seen and perceived. If we just parent, we are doing what is necessary!
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Are You Comfortable With Your Body? =-.


Kelly February 25, 2010 at 10:11 am

Great post- how true! I was recently at a book club where a mother kept making comments towards other mothers against circumcision, time out, sugar; you name it- if a mother brought up a subject she disagreed with- she let that mother know. I think as mothers we need to celebrate that there is not ONE way. This mother’s intentions may have been in her mind good- but she came across judgmental and ugly. It’s one thing to have conversations about what works for your family and another to point fingers.
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Beating Dough or Fun Things to Do with Your Kid =-.


exhale. return to center. February 25, 2010 at 2:00 pm

was looking for something in my archives and found this piece i wrote a while back. reminded me of this conversation, which i am still reflecting on.

.-= exhale. return to center.´s last blog ..5 days. 5 videos. ~ #4 =-.


Jasie VanGesen February 25, 2010 at 3:11 pm

I totally agree and love that you wrote this. It’s SO hard to do right by our kids and aourselves all while under the pressure of society and ideology and rules and expectations… just let it all go. :)
.-= Jasie VanGesen´s last blog ..epiphany, like whoa. =-.


amandaginn February 26, 2010 at 12:09 am

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I need this today.
And probably tomorrow, too.
.-= amandaginn´s last blog ..Feb. 25: I love… =-.


tiffany February 26, 2010 at 10:39 am

Yes! I totally agree! Do your best, and at the end of the day, if you have loved your baby, you’ve done the very most important thing. Let the rest go!
.-= tiffany´s last blog ..Preparing for childbirth (GIVEAWAY!!!!) =-.


Lindsey March 4, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Thanks for this post. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that it’s ok to just be you and not worry so much about fitting into a certain group. Why oh why are we so hard on ourselves?
.-= Lindsey´s last blog ..Charlie’s Birth =-.


Capital Mom March 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Man, I am working on it but it is hard!


Heather Dessinger March 7, 2010 at 10:54 pm

When I was introduced to AP during a Family Studies course in college, I felt it was more consistent with my instincts that the parenting styles I had seen. Unfortunately, reading about subjects in books is NOT an ideal way to gain parenting skills (for me). I tend to take things too literally and sometimes lack creativity when a situation comes up that the book didn’t cover. That is why I am so grateful for friends that are open enough (risking judgment from some) to share what works in real life for them! Blogs are great, too. So glad to have discovered yours!
.-= Heather Dessinger´s last blog ..Daddypotamus: My First Impressions of Mommypotamus =-.


Jesica March 15, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Can I just say – THANKS! I was having some major momma guilt today (still am, but this eased it a bit)


Dee August 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

This is great! The older my kids get (or maybe the more children I have…or both!), the less I feel the need to identify with a specific parenting style. We do what we feel is best, take what we need, and leave the rest.


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