Revisionary Parenting

October 12th, 2012 by Dionna | 25 Comments
Posted in Consensual Living, Consistent and Loving Care, Current, Guest Posts, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting, Reviews and Giveaways, Strive for Balance

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Today I’m happy to host a guest article from Gennifer Albin, a friend of mine and the author of Crewel. Read about Gennifer’s journey from SAHM to WAHM to WOHM (sometimes!) and how AP helped smooth the transition. And be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of today’s post – you could win a set of children’s books, as well as Gennifer’s new novel, Crewel.

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When I first started writing seriously I had a precocious three year-old and an infant. My early attempts at writing involved sitting down to nurse my daughter with my macbook perched on a folding tray table. I got pretty good at typing with one hand, and as I nursed on demand, I also got a lot of writing time. Unfortunately, it was a precarious set-up and one afternoon while standing with wiggling baby in one arm, boppy on my lap, and three year-old at my feet, I realized too late I’d misjudged how close I had moved the table. My chair knocked into it and a glass of water sitting next to my macbook baptized the keyboard. And thus began my transition to out-of-house writer.

Which leads to the first way parenting has changed for me since I started writing:

I became better at mutual parenting.

I have a very supportive husband who’s always been on board with breastfeeding, bed sharing, baby wearing and all my natural parenting inclinations. He would grab the sling and the baby when we went out to eat so I could finish my meal. He loved having the babies in bed with us. He fed me spoonfuls of food during the early nursing weeks when I was still figuring everything out. But for all his obvious enthusiasm, as a stay-at-home mom I clung to mommy guilt when it came time to ask for me time. After all, how could I ask him to stay home with the kids after he’d worked all day? He rebutted this every time with a reminder that I was doing important work, too.

After the water incident, he encouraged me to go out to the library and work an hour or two each night. I resisted at first, but slowly we fell into the swing of it. We perfected how long I could be away before baby needed to nurse. We communicated if our needs changed. For instance, if one of the children was having a particularly rough time, he might ask if I could come home early. And as things got serious with the book, I relaxed into letting him take over the primary care so I could focus on my career.

Now we’re both at home writing and learning how to keep a household running. I no longer cling to what I feel are my responsibilities as a mom. We work together to meet our children’s emotional and physical needs, and it’s working for us.

As book deals happened and editorial letters arrived, I learned to ask for help, and I stopped trying to be perfect. You might think I learned those things from becoming a better mutual parent, and certainly all these transitions are tangled up in one another, but at the end of the day, I’ve always been the one who does it all. The kid who does the whole group project to ensure it’s done correctly and on time. That was me. Even as I became better at sharing parenting with my husband, I wasn’t good at asking for his — or anyone else’s — help, which had a lot to do with wanting things to be perfect. Well, one thing I’ve realized is that in my pursuit of control, I often took on too much, ensuring nothing I did came out perfectly. Yes, delegating a task to someone else means it will be done their way, but that’s not always a bad thing.

I also learned that it’s okay to need help. My family and I went through a lot before I sold Crewel, and I got pretty good at putting on a brave face and pretending everything was fine — that I didn’t need help. Once deadlines started hitting, I figured out pretty quickly that not only did I need help, but that no one minds if you ask for it. My family and friends love me and they want to help, and realizing that helped me find my tribe.

I’d been a loner most of my stay-at-home mom years, venturing out occasionally to a play date or group activity but never gelling with anyone. Part of opening myself up to help was opening myself up to relationships. I made new friends with similar lifestyles, interests, and values. Existing relationships evolved and grew. My mother and I discovered that writing and painting share many of the same joys and trials. My children’s extended family grew beyond the obligatory family holidays to include adoptive aunts and uncles and cousins. Now I have a whole network of people that lend me support every day whether it be emotional or practical.

But the one thing that never really changed was how Attachment Parenting naturally fit into my lifestyle as my family transitioned through the publishing process. I breastfed my daughter for two beautiful years. My children slept in our bed until they wanted their own. My son still occasionally crawls in with us in the wee hours, and our daughter dreams in her own toddler bed at the foot of ours. Most of the changes I experienced in parenting were my own; AP provided a foundation for my children during these transitions.

We find adventure in the everyday, and our attachment roots have produced four independent, curious people that are happy to explore the world, always knowing we’re secure in our relationships with each other.

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Gennifer Albin is a recovering academic who realized she could write books of her own and discovered, delightfully, that people would read them. She lives in Kansas with her family and writes full-time. Her debut novel, Crewel, the first in a trilogy, will be published in October 2012 by FSG/Macmillan.
You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook. She also blogs infrequently at genniferalbin.com and weekly at The League of Extraordinary Writers.

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Enter to Win!

Now that you’ve read Gennifer’s story, enter to win a set of books from her publisher, Macmillan. They are giving one of my lucky readers the following:

CREWEL/Gennifer Albin
BEAR HAS A STORY TO TELL/Erin & Phil Stead
A IS FOR MUSK OX/Erin Cabatingan
ABE LINCOLN’S DREAM/Lane Smith
HELLO BABY/Roger Priddy

All you need to do to enter is to leave a comment on today’s post. Respond to Gennifer’s story, or tell me one way that attachment parenting has helped you and/or your children make a transition.

Enter by commenting no later than 11:59p.m. on Monday, October 15, 2012.

(Psst . . . Crewel comes out the next day!)

photo credit: Chiot’s Run via photopin cc

Disclosure: I was provided with an advance copy of Crewel. All Amazon links are affiliate links.

25 Responses to:
"Revisionary Parenting"

  1. As a full-time work outside the home mom (by necessity, not by choice) of a 2.5 year old and another coming next month, my greatest challenge is to find my tribe, as you called it. AP is the only way I could stand being away from my son 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  2. Vanessa Betcher   clayadventures

    Thanks for writing this. I think I will need to read it over a few more times for it to sink in. I am a full time stay home mom to my 2 year old son and we have a great quiet routine at home. I feel more comfortable at home and rarely go out with him. He has only stayed at our house with my mom for a few hours a handful of times maybe its time I share him a bit more. I also follow AP and hubby had been very supportive at the same time we are loosing our connection in our marriage and that is taking a toll. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts here!

  3. Erin   gardensofplenty

    I think having kids is such a blessing because it teaches you the value of opening yourself up in whole new ways. I am fiercely independent, but the birth of my daughter made me realize that I do, indeed, need to ask for help from my husband and extended family in order to maintain my sanity. Now that I am back to work, I am continually finding ways to be a better Mom. It starts with allowing my husband the freedom to take charge around the house and do things his way. When I let go and let others in, I get a break. And my daughter gets even more love from all the helping hands surrounding her. It’s a great win-win.

  4. Andrew Patterson   DyadicEchoes

    Oh wow! I totally get that. I’m also a person who doesn’t ask for help and I know I need to. I have a hard time letting go of the “I have to be perfect” feelings. Due to work schedules, I actually spend more time with the children then my wife does. I too have a hard time asking her to deal with them so I can get writing done.

    Thanks for sharing, Gen.

  5. Bere   ForgetAboutTV

    Honestly I am not a parent nor it is in my near plans to be one, but I am glad that you are finding the time and the way for your kids to have their family and the attention they need while growing up. It is stories like this that should be shared more often to encourage other parents and tell them that there are ways to make it work.
    Thank you.

  6. domestic diva

    Thank you for sharing. I think most families struggle with time and balance (I know mine does).

    Thanks for the chance with the books.

  7. Vanessa

    Thank you for this, it was something I really needed to read today. I have two boys, 3 and 6 months and have been struggling to find a balance so .i can begin working from home again, it has been a struggle finding that me time, and energy. I’ve been trying to do it after both are in bed, but it hasn’t been working out well.

  8. ashley smith

    I attempted reentering the workforce after using my third. It was a miserable failure. Lol. Who knew I couldn’t be everywhere at one time?!? While attempting this life change my littlest dude would follow me around with a guaze wrap andbeg to get on my back. Babywearing and continued nursing seems to help ease his anxiety about me being gone so often. My twins also eased their anxiety by nursing to sleep again (something they had phased out) and began sleeping in our bedroom floor. Love my babies ad the bond attachment parenting provides us

  9. tatania

    My little one is about to start preschool and i am about to go back to work and shes 2 and a half! so nervous. Love my babies and the bond attachment parenting provides us! So well make it through this.

  10. Andrew   drewf

    I work full time and my wife stays home with our little ones. I find myself putting the kids to sleep at night to get in some extra snuggle time. I struggle with the time I am away from them. They grow up so fast.

  11. I just wanted to congratulate you on publishing your book!
    You give hope to the rest of us working at home and hoping to “make it” that if we work hard and perservere we can get there too – even with a gaggle of kids in tow. Color me inspired!

  12. Melanie

    Attachment parenting has completely opened my eyes to a happier world! I am still struggling as I am in nursing school which is grueling enough itself and am a single mama. Time is something I wish there was more of these days and I am slowly but surely learning to ask for help when I need it. My mom is very good about helping me out to give me time for myself…so thankful for my DD and my parents :)

  13. Amanda Dunn

    I’m so happy for Gennifer. As a WOHM, I find the balance of AP parenting and achieving my career goals to be the perfect fit.

  14. From the beginning (i.e. before kids), we’ve set up our work to center around our family.

  15. Laurie

    Loved the story today. I’m a “recovering academic” also and loving being home and available to my family. Its a lot harder than I imagined it would be because days when all I do is cook, clean, do laundry, etc it feels like I have done nothing at all. Maintaining a home is a lot of work and I need to remember the things I did in a day to feel like I have “earned some me time”.

  16. jennifer

    AP was made me a happier person and has helped me through PP depression!

  17. Jen

    Thank you for this post. I am currently working on being more comfortable asking for help. Great post!

  18. Lyndsay   hisfeministmama

    I particularly appreciate your thoughts on mutual parenting and how honouring more of your own goals you are able to allow your partner blossom as a parent. Love this and you have expressed my thoughts exactly.

  19. this gives me hope that I can parent and write – and be successful at both.

  20. Amy Phoenix   presenceparents

    When I realized that my children and I would form an attachment, regardless of how I parented, I started to focus on fostering a *healthy* attachment. Nurturing a strong, healthy relationship with my kids is a life choice and has helped us through many a transition because my priority is in that instead of day-to-day stuff that is sure to change.

  21. Shannon @ The Artful Mama   The_ArtsyMama

    It has definitely made it easier for me to go back to work because I know my children feel secure in their attachment with me and we can have a rebonding as soon as I come home. Plus I share attachment practices with caregivers to help ease my children’s upsets during the day.

  22. Lesley

    Genn, I find your story so inspiring! As a fellow mom-in-transition (I recently became a WOHM after being home for 5 years) who also writes and edits on the side, I agree that AP has made things easier for me & my son. It has helped give me the perspective that focused bouts of time-ins right when I get home from work help fill up my little guy’s love cup so he’s not clingy & whiny the whole rest of the night. It’s given him confidence and security that he knows, from past experience, that I’ll always be there for him, even when we don’t spend most of the day together. And yes, a million times yes, asking for help and building community around myself has helped tremendously. Thanks for sharing your story.

  23. Heather Krcha

    In having my third child within four years, I’ve fully realized I HAVE to have help to continue parenting AP style. It’s been a revelation and relief to me. I’m no longer hesitant in waking my husband in the middle of the night to take one of the kids while I’m nursing the baby. Thankfully, my husband has been ready to fully embrace equal role APing- I just had to recognize I needed the help on my own.

  24. Kyle

    Love her points about knowing our limits and building community. Our children benefit from their village, not just their family.

    I am so happy for Genn and what she has accomplished.

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