I let my daughter cry. She is not quite nine months old and sometimes I let her cry. Not all the time. Not every day, and certainly not every second of the day. However, I do let her cry. I see your accusatory glare at the store when she starts crying at the end of a long shopping trip. Maybe you grew up in the generation of children should not be seen or heard. Perhaps you are part of the new-fangled movement of “attachment parenting” that suggests anyone who lets the child cry even for a nanosecond is a bad mom. I see your dirty looks, and I let her cry anyway.
I have read your posts online about how if only I would pick up my daughter and not let her cry how much better off she would be. I have read all the posts commenting about what a lousy mom I am for letting her cry. The posts which suggest self-soothing is traumatic and not necessary and that if only I would adopt the principle of “attachment parenting” she would love me. I have heard it all, read it all, and absorbed the glaring looks at the checkout, the restaurant, and out in public. Here is my startling confession. My daughter loves me anyway. She doesn’t think less of me as her mother because I let her cry while I go to the bathroom or because I let her cry while I prepare supper for her brothers and father. My daughter loves me despite the fact that I wholeheartedly believe attachment parenting is nothing but a bunch of hogwash.
Sorry, I do, I believe that the phrase attachment parenting is only used to make other parents feel bad. Parents like me who believe that it is okay for a child to shed a few tears. Attachment parenting implies that if you do not give into the every whim of the child if you do not coddle them, carry them everywhere if you do not stop existing and make them the most-important person in the universe than you are somehow not going to have the same attachment. Your child will not be properly attached to you if you do not follow this set of rules made up by someone with too much time on their hands.
After three children, all who had on occasion cried, I can say with satisfaction that I didn’t need attachment parenting to make them love me or make them attached to me. I can honestly say I have not once experienced the moment of being driven to the brink of insanity and thinking that I cannot possibly go on as one blog suggests. I do think that if attachment parenting makes you this way then you are missing something that I and other mothers who allow our children to cry have learned.
I am a mother; I have been a mother for eight years. I am also a wife. I am a writer. I wear many different hats. None of them has stopped me from being me. So if I need to pee and the baby is crying well I have learned in the eight years of being a mom that my babies will love me anyway. If I haven’t had a cup of coffee or breakfast and the baby is crying, I know that they will be fine in the time it takes me to brew a cup or fix an egg. I love my children; I love cuddles and kisses; I love nursing and bottles. I love everything about being a Mom, and I know they love me, even if I do not hold them every second of every day.
If you want to hold your child from the moment, they are born until they start kindergarten that is fine. Please do not think that I love my child any less because I do not choose to “baby wear” or because I feel that attachment parenting is just another in a long list of ways we can belittle another Mom for not doing it our way.