As soon as I got pregnant I started researching parenting. I looked into various styles and ideas and fell in love with the loving, caring way of parenting offered by Attachment Parenting.
I followed the principles and held my baby close, popping him into a cute baby carrier when we were out and cuddling up to him in my bed when night time came.
When asked about my parenting I would proudly declare that I was an AP mum. I wore the title like a badge of honour and felt secure knowing that my parenting had a style, an ongoing theme. No making it up for me, I knew exactly how my baby should be brought up.
As my baby grew I became more confident in my parenting and new mum status. I stopped following the rules so closely and started freestyling a bit, like using a pram if I was going to have shopping to carry, it really was easier than using a baby carrier. I still held my beliefs in attachment theory and the parenting style associated with it, and never strayed too far away.
I soon stopped telling people I was an AP parent. It wasn't a conscious decision, I just didn't feel the need to announce it anymore. I'd latched onto a label when I needed it to help with the insecurities new motherhood can bring, but when I felt more confident I no longer the label.
It was around the same time I noticed some of the other AP parents on Nice Mums Devon and other sites. The majority of posts on NMD are asking for advice, and mothers from all different backgrounds, and styles will comment what they think is useful. It was the AP parents that always stood out with their comments. Often they gave what I consider good sound advice, but there was another reason their comments stood out. While the other mother would comment once, the AP 's would comment and comment and comment again, often making clear their horror that someone would dare to consider leaving their baby to cry for a split second or someone not baby wear. They'd push their beliefs so much that their advice giving appeared to quickly turn to what looked like bullying, criticising anyone who didn't do things their way.
I've noticed the preaching that comes from AP mums all over the internet, and watched Peaches Geldof parroting her memorised facts and figures on ITV, to be hailed a hero by all those who forgot the same mother chatted on her phone once while her baby fell out of the pram.
Its not Attachment Parenting thats the problem, but the parents themselves. Their refusal to consider any other ways to parent, and condemnation of those that do things differently with the implications of 'bad parent' hanging in the air.
I like the principles of AP, but the playground bullies of the AP world have made it an embarrasment to be associated with it. So I've moved onto my own style of parenting. It doesn't have a name or any well publicised principles, its just called being a mum and involves doing what feels best for my child. I don;t need a label or to make any declarations about how others are doing it wrong or right, because who really knows in the end when each child is so very different. I love my new way of parenting and am pleased to say I am not embarrased by it one little bit.