Attachment parenting always made sense to me, mostly because, what’s the alternative? Not attaching to my kids? There is no way I can NOT be attached, plus it is a nice name. It evokes cuddles and crafts, and conveys the sense of self-sacrifice inherent to parenting.
I quickly learned that attachment parenting, however, is not for me; neither is free-range, helicopter, or any style. My 3-year-old daughter, and 8-month old son taught me to embrace the yogi ideal of non-attachment in parenting. Let me explain…
First things first, non-attachment does not mean non-love. In fact, true non-attachment is the opposite of a lack of love. Non-attachment provides the ability to love the heck out of others as they are, in the moment. It’s choosing love with every breath. It’s honoring the way children change from second to second, and saying “I see you now, and I love you as you are. Right now.” That being said, non-attachment parenting from the yogi perspective has nothing to do with specific parenting styles, and everything to do with releasing attachments that hinder us, our children, and our relationships.
On the surface, this may sound like a “no duh,” but how often have you heard an exasperated parent say things like “What happened to my child?,” “I don’t know why she suddenly stopped liking (fill in the blank),” or “It’s like she woke up a threenager.”
Reality check, changes do not happen overnight.
Parents often fail to notice the small day to day shifts as they happen, clinging to a version of their kids that no longer exists. Attaching to past or future versions of a child leaves no room for growth, and often causes disappointment. That being said, non-attachment parenting has little to do with a parenting style, and everything to do with releasing attachments that hinder us, our children, and our relationship.
Are you pushing your kid in a direction because it is the path they show to you, or are you pushing them towards what you want them to be, or worse, what YOU want to be?
Parenting style is often an attachment for mothers. We want to belong to this group, or be seen in a certain way. Unfortunately, the kid is sometimes the last one considered. I teach yoga, and while I hope my kids embrace a yogic lifestyle, when my 3-year-old wants meat, I let her have it. Forcing vegetarianism on my child may benefit my image, but does not actually help my child.
We all have mothering attachments. A big one of mine was babywearing. I was going to be the best babywearing mama ever! At first my daughter loved it, but then she began to refuse. While I was devastated, continuing would have denied her burgeoning independent spirit. I wanted to be a babywearer, but my baby didn’t. Luckily my son loves to be worn, and while I do love wearing, I am no longer attached to it. When we are non-attached to an outcome, we become more grateful. Watching my little man choose to be worn over and over fills me with gratitude. I say “I get to wear today!”
Releasing attachments doesn’t mean you don’t do them, it means you don’t do them out of habit or expectation. Habits are rooted in the past, and expectation in the future. Dwelling in them prevents us from being here, now. Attachments, however small, need to be released whether it’s organic eating, babywearing, sleep training, vaccination choices, being Pinterest perfect … let it go, all of it. Detach a style, viewpoint, diet from your identity as “Mom.” Hold lightly, making choices based in the now. This doesn’t mean your choices will change, but your life, level of gratitude, and relationship with your child will grow in magical ways.
Practice and non-attachment are core principles in yoga philosophy. Practice leads to mastery of the mind, which allows us to release attachments. Non-attachment parenting means never giving up, and always letting go; this takes practice. Sometimes we’ll get it, and sometimes we won’t. When we fail we will move on, as we will when we succeed, always releasing the past so that we may be in the present. The present moment is our only guarantee.
Non-attachment parenting is watching my son cry because he can’t eat dog hair and saying “I love you now.” It is seeing my daughter devouring bacon and saying “I love you now.” Love now, without expectation, and without motive.
Make the choice to love now, and now, and now.
Practice and non-attachment are core principles in yoga philosophy. Practice leads to mastery of the mind, which allows us to release attachments. Non-attachment, or Aparigraha, is the 5th Yama in the Yoga Sutras, and is often considered the most difficult to follow. Non-attachment in parenting means never giving up, and always letting go; this takes practice. Sometimes we’ll get it, and sometimes we won’t.
What type of parenting do you practice? What are the benefits and drawbacks to your methods?
Teaching permeates Channing Anderson’s life. Teaching English locally for 6 years, she became a registered yoga teacher in 2013, and specializes in prenatal yoga. In 2014, she took the leap, making mommyhood and yoga her full-time focus. Channing is the studio manager and a teacher at Pink Lotus Yoga Center, and works with clients privately through her company NamaMamaste. in 2007, she met Tim. Married two years later, the couple welcomed their first child, Hadley, in 2012, and their newest, Atticus, in 2015. Tim teaches part-time at Chapin High School, and Channing helps manage his test prep business Attest. In her spare time, Channing practices yoga, paints, and reads everything.