This is perhaps the most long-overdue post in the history of my blog. Several years ago, The Feminist Breeder wrote a post in which she answered the question, “how do I do it?” I’ve lost the link for her original post, but the gist of her answer was, not alone. She also asked readers to consider who makes up their parenting tribe—who helps them hold it all together. So, I immediately knew that I needed to write about my parents. My original tribe of birth as well as a very significant part of my present-day tribe. Maybe I haven’t written it because I don’t like to feel dependent on other people. I like to feel like I can do everything on my own and that I don’t ever need help. That isn’t true, obviously. (It also isn’t healthy.) So, one of the ways in which I get it all done (which, of course, is actually another post, because I NEVER actually “get it all done”!) is because of my wonderful, amazing, helpful, altogether incredible mom and dad.
I feel in a somewhat unusual situation in that I’m a “second generation” attachment parent. My mom was a homebirthing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing, and homeschooling mother before there was even really a name for many of the concepts of gentle parenting, let alone an overarching parenting “philosophy” or, dare I say, dogma surrounding the ideas. (In some ways, I feel like that has added a complication to my own parenting journey—while many parents joyfully discover attachment parenting and then grow into it with the thrill of having found the right fit for their families, I chose attachment parenting before ever having children of my own and thus instead of growing into it, sometimes had to fall from the pedestal of imagined ideals or the pre-conceived ideas I had about what a great, attached mother I was going to be. Again, a subject for another post!)
Anyway, my mom’s own parenting past means I’ve never once had to deal with any kinds of comments questioning my own parenting—she would never dream of asking why I have homebirths or homeschool or when my baby is going to wean. Big grandparenting score right out of the gate! Also, they live one mile away. That means my kids get to go visit their grandparents almost every day and I get two hours on my own to do all of my own work. Go ahead and swoon with envy. It is okay. If I didn’t have these two hours (sometimes closer to three), I don’t know how I would do it. I work in my online classes, I grade papers, I write blog posts, I write articles, I work on books, I write assignments in my own doctoral classes. I feel happy and “productive” when the kids come back home and they’re happy too. My parents also will babysit at other times if I need them (for example, having an LLL meeting or a birth class in town). My kids adore them. I don’t know what they would do without them either. It makes me so full of joy to know that my kids have other adults in their lives who love them almost as much as I love them (maybe the same—my dad told me recently that he had no idea he would love his grandkids as much as he loves his own kids).
Anyway, here’s to my tribe! I love you. I need you. And, I thank you.