What is it about being an attached family that lends itself to a minimalist parenting style? Are you criticized by others wondering why your children don’t “have the hottest new item?”
While the word “minimalism” only recently became part of my vocabulary, I’ve always been a minimalist.
Even as a kid, I was uncomfortable with excess and with clutter. It’s only natural that as I became a mom and embraced attachment parenting, that I would continue with the same value system.
“A newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three.”
During my last pregnancy, a couple of friends asked me if they could throw me a baby shower. It was difficult because I was afraid of hurting their feelings, but I turned them down. There simply isn’t much stuff I need. A few cloth diapers, a few comfy outfits for the baby, and that’s pretty much it! (Baby slings are lovely too, but the ones available in stores are usually crap.)
One of the beautiful things about attachment parenting is its focus on trusting your instincts. I think many parents instinctively feel that kids today have “too much”. Too much stuff, too much technology, too much crammed into their schedule.
But they are loathe to do anything about their feelings, because they would be swimming against the stream. The marketing machine has done an excellent job of convincing us that kids need a lot of stuff.
The reasoning is that if you can afford something for your kids, or if it simply exists in the marketplace, that means your family would be better off having it.
That simply isn’t true.
My dear grandmother, who is 93 years old, grew up in an age where the institutions of mankind could be trusted. She once made the remark “Well, if they sell it in the store, how could it be bad for you?”
(Here in the South we say, Bless Your Heart when we hear something like that.)
- Artificial baby milk is sold on store shelves, but my baby is better off without it.
- Disposable diapers are available, but I prefer cloth.
- Pacifiers, bottles, breast pumps, and other items designed to take the place of my breasts are offered, but my baby doesn’t need them.
- Cribs, swings, bassinets and a thousand other items that could contain my baby and keep her away from my body are sold too.
I could go on, and on, and on…
While I don’t judge parents who, out of necessity or preference, decide to use these items, they are things I’ve simply been able to do without.
Attachment parenting is easy on the budget, and easy on the planet.
Now that my kids are older, the difficult thing is to keep them away from too much technology and gadgetry.
Some people think preteens need cell phones, for instance. My boy’s friends have them. I refuse to provide my young teen with a cell phone. At this time in his life, a cell phone would cause far more harm than the tiny possibility of good.
I’ve also had to work hard to minimize video games, the internet and other screen time because I feel it’s harmful to my children and their physical and emotional health and brain development. The current thought among almost all the parents I know is that screens are either good or harmless for kids, but I strongly disagree.
I’m pretty sure the research backs me up on this one.
At attachment parenting’s heart is relationships. Connection. Attachment.
Stuff - whether it be clutter or technology – often get in the way of relationships.
See what the other Green Moms Weekly participants have to say about this topic and if you choose to join us and blog about this, be sure to link up here: Rachel at HappyGreenBabies
You might also enjoy reading: A Simple Kind of Mom