Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Attachment Parenting? And finding some "Me Time"

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Centered, Finding Balance

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they stay centered and find balance. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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With my older daughter, I began working from home while I was pregnant so that I could stay with her. I studied every choice before making parenting decisions and my entire being was centered on motherhood. In hindsight, I am not so sure that was the healthiest choice for her, for me, or for my marriage. I remember that just 3 months after her birth, I received cash for Giftmas and was told to spend it on something fun - no bills! I had been interested in making chocolates and used the money to start that new hobby. I vividly recall the first time I made candies. It was so great to do something just for me! Still, I was an obsessed mother and think I may have been too attached. I nursed for 3½ years and homeschooled through second grade.

Now I am older and (perhaps? hopefully?) wiser. This time around I am still doing extended nursing. Our nursing relationship is one year and going strong. I can not imagine not nursing at this point! My husband and I have decided to homeschool our daughter using a state provided service. The biggest difference is that I work full time outside the home. It broke my heart to go back to work after 6 short weeks with my new Starshine, as I liked to call her. On days when she especially doesn't want me to leave, it still breaks my heart to go. I still consider myself an attachment parent, but I guess that only applies when I am actually at home - or at least with my child. When I'm not at work, I tend to take her everywhere I need to go. I mostly don't go anywhere she can't go.

So between working full time and being completely attached to my baby when I'm not working... how do I find / make time for me? I share in the household chores. I cook for my family occasionally and lately even bake. But what about true "me time"? I'm not sure I've been doing much of that. I guess my "Me Time" is when my family is asleep and I'm surfing the web. I enjoy reading blogs. I like keeping in touch on Facebook.

There is a hobby I've wanted to have as well as an old hobby I'd like to renew. The new hobby? Geocaching. The hobby I'd like to renew? Photography. However, I don't have the technological equipment for Geocaching. And my really good camera needs to be cleaned professionally before I can take photography up again. I haven't had the money to put into either hobby. I don't know that I've had the time, either. I did try to find one Geocache recently, but flopped without the proper tools. The nice thing about that hobby is that I can drag my family along with me! I'd like to take up camping as well, but am intimidated by the start up and skill set required.

So I have some ideas of how I'd like to start spending more time on me... I just haven't gotten them going yet. I sometimes feel guilty about not spending enough time with my daughter, so I'm keen on "me time" ideas that can still be done together. What family-centered hobbies do you enjoy?


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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated October 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Balance — Sheila at A Gift Universe has put her baby first — and has no regrets. (@agiftuniverse)

  • A Moment for Mama — Starr at Earth Mama has learned how to recharge on the run, so she doesn't miss a moment with her children.

  • Take a 30-Minute or 5-Minute Me-Break — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now discusses the merits of taking small daily breaks to maintain balance. (@DebChitwood)

  • Achieving Balance — In a guest post at the new Natural Parents Network, Heather explains how yoga has helped her find balance in her personal and family life. (@NatParNet)

  • A Stitch in (Quiet) Time Saves Momma’s Mind — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma didn't realize she needed "me" time — until she got it and had no idea what to do with herself. (@kitchenwitch)

  • Attachment Parenting and Balance — Michelle at The Parent Vortex believes that the last item on the "attachment parenting" list is both the most important and the most overlooked. (@TheParentVortex)

  • Little Breaks Bring a Little Balance — Jen at Grow with Graces finds balance - some days! (@growwithgraces)

  • Finding Balance — Are you a Type A mama? Dionna at Code Name: Mama is, and she needs your help to find balance. (@CodeNameMama)

  • (high)Centered — Stefanie at Very, Very Fine has had a spa gift certificate sitting on her nightstand since last year, a symbol of her inability to take time for herself.

  • Taking Time for Me — Marita at Stuff With Thing takes refuge in the world of books, with her daughters immersed in reading beside her. (@leechbabe)

  • Writing as a parent: October Carnival of Natural Parenting — Lauren at Hobo Mama didn't let parenting put her passions on hold. (@Hobo_Mama)

  • The Dance of Balance — Balance isn't static. It is dynamic, it is a dance, it is about keeping in touch with you. Read this wonderful bit of wisdom from Seonaid at the Practical Dilettante. (@seonaid_lee)

  • Rest Hour - a Primer — Do you get 15 minutes to yourself each day? How about an hour?! Mrs. H. at Fleeting Moments shares her tips on how to incorporate a "rest hour" for adults and kids.

  • Separation Is Critical — Only through enforced separation with the end of her marriage did Jessica at This is Worthwhile realize she should have taken time apart all along. (@tisworthwhile)

  • Bread, Roses, and a Side of Guilt. — Betsy at Honest 2 Betsy isn't ashamed to admit that she enjoys a pint once in awhile, or that her daughter recreates it during pretend play.

  • The World from Within My Arms — Rachael at The Variegated Life finds balance despite her work and her husband's commitment to art through attachment parenting. (@RachaelNevins)

  • Balancing the Teeter-Totter — Rebecca is rediscovering balance by exploring her interests and passions in several different categories. She shares in this guest post at The Connected Mom. (@theconnectedmom)

  • Balancing this Life — Danielle at born.in.japan is slowly learning the little tricks that make her family life more balanced. (@borninjp)

  • Uninterrupted Parenting — Amy at Innate Wholeness has learned that she does not need to interrupt parenting in order to find balance.

  • Knitting for My Family — Knitting is more than just a hobby for Kellie at Our Mindful Life, it is her creative and mental outlet, it has blessed her with friendships she might not otherwise have had, and it provides her with much-needed balance.

  • Taking the Time — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker has all the time she needs, now her girls are just a bit older.

  • Please, Teach Me How — Amy at Anktangle needs your help: please share how you find time for yourself, because she is struggling. (@anktangle)

  • A Pendulum Swings Both Ways — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment found herself snapping with too little time for herself, and then veered toward too much.

  • Finding Balance Amidst Change — It took a season of big changes and added responsibility, but Melodie of Breastfeeding Moms Unite! now feels more balanced and organized as a mama than ever before. (@bfmom)

  • At Home with Three Young Children: The Search for Balance, Staying Sane — With three young kids, Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings knows parents sometimes have to adjust their expectations of how much downtime they can reasonably have. (@sunfrog)

  • Attachment Parenting? And finding some "Me Time" — As a mother who works full time, Momma Jorje wants "me" time that includes her daughter.

  • A Balancing Act — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes has concrete ways to help keep centered with a little one and a new baby on the way, from exercise to early bedtimes to asking for help. (@sheryljesin)

  • Aspiring Towards Libra — Are your soul-filling activities the first to be pushed aside when life gets hectic? Kelly of KellyNaturally.com aspires to make time for those "non-necessities" this year. (@kellynaturally)

  • SARKisms for Sanity — Erica at ChildOrganics has found renewed inspiration to take baths and laugh often from a book she had on the shelf. (@childorganics)


  • 11 comments:

    1. I think both photography and geocaching could be family activities - they are both potentially out in nature, so your partner and children could be off running around, helping you hunt, or posing for pictures. You could also let the kids take their own cameras, if they were so inclined. Our family down time isn't spent on any one hobby in particular. We usually do fun things like zoo trips or trolley rides, things that get us out of the house for little to no money. I'd love to find something that we could all enjoy together - perhaps now that Kieran is getting into a more "preschool" stage (rather than a toddler stage), that will be more of a possibility. I'll be interested to see what other people have to say about family activities!

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    2. I so hear what you're saying. Sometimes I need time fully away, but often I just need to relax with my family, and that's all right, too.

      I think your hobbies sound fascinating! I hope you can get your camera cleaned, since that sounds more immediately doable. But geocaching sounds so cool. Is there a club you could join that would let you share equipment?

      As far as your question goes, I take ballet by myself, but I do try to include Mikko in the experience by dancing with him and watching ballet DVDs at home. We also all take photographs and enjoy little family outings, like to a corn maze and pumpkin farm a couple weekends ago.

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    3. I love the idea of finding things to do as a family. I don't really have any family-centered hobbies, so it can be tricky when I need "me time" and my family needs me at the same time. It would be great to be able to combine those!
      I have a friend that does geocaching and she really loves it. Definitely family-friendly!

      I think that being a WOHM while practicing attachment parenting and trying to find time for yourself is about as tricky as it gets!

      So glad I found your blog through the carnival. I look forward to following your adventures and reading about your adventures in homeschooling!

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    4. This is simple, but I really love taking walks around the neighborhood with my little guy. Going at a baby or toddler's pace takes some getting used to, but it's really fun to stop and smell the roses a bit. I also take the baby along on all my errands and take the time to explore a little -- baby loves window shopping!

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    5. Have you heard of Letterboxing? It was what Geocaching was before GPS. It might be a low-tech way to explore your interest. http://www.letterboxing.org/

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    6. Geocaching is such a great family activity. We started when the kids were just babies and even planted a "Birthday Cache" for my oldest when she turned two. The note pad is a birthday card with extra paper attached.

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    7. We like to go hiking as a family - it's very low cost, can be as easy or challenging as you want, and everybody can participate as they are able. The hardest part for us is finding the time (of course!), and getting outdoors if it's raining.

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    8. @Sheila - indeed, sometimes I just like to take her right outside our apartment and walk around with her. You really have to be ready to go at a toddler's pace beforehand to help you stay patient, I think. So far, I love letting her walk to the car. It is still very new for her.

      @RealMommy - I recently saw a link to letterboxing and only glimpsed over it. I always thought it was just a *different* form of geocaching. I hadn't realized that you didn't need the technology doo-dads for that hobby. I will take another look! Thanks so much!

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    9. I can totally relate. I'm another mama who works full time outside the house. When I'm not woroking I am with my son. That's my life - work or kiddo time. Time for only me - what's that? I don't even have 1 pair of jeans that fit me and don't have holes because I can't tear myself away to go shopping! At this point blogging is pretty much the only hobby I indulge in for myself. I do enjoy hiking and spending time outdoors though and have found that hiking is something I can do both for myself and with my child.

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    10. My me-time-with-the-little-one simply involves getting outside. When he's not at preschool, it's a daily necessity. We go to Prospect Park or the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and just wander. If I take the Critter out for a run in the jogging stroller, then I stash a bag lunch and a blanket underneath the stroller and after my run we have a picnic lunch next to the lake in Prospect Park. It's one of my favorite things to do with him. Though I guess we won't be having many more chances to do that this year, if at all, alas.

      Best wishes finding some me-with-family time for yourself!

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    11. omg i found your blog while searching "elimination communication" and just saw you mentioning geocaching! I LOVE GEOCACHING!! havent really gone since the birth of my son but cant wait to start it up again! i've found over 1400 caches! soo fun; i highly recommend it!

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