In a culture where “doing” is prioritized over “being”, it is understandable that parenting would be measured by the same standard. There is no shortage of books, articles, and resources that reinforces this paradigm of “doing parenting”. The model is one where the focus is on what we “do” to our children in order to get a particular outcome. How to get your baby to sleep through the night. How to motivate your child to do chores. How to get your child to behave in a certain way.
And, what I notice is this. When we operate from this model, we create a culture where what we “do” as parents can be “done” by others….daycares, nannies, schools, counselors, therapists and so forth. And while all these other institutions have their supportive roles, they are not meant to replace the singular relationship between parent and child.
Sadly, even in the realm of attachment parenting, so often the emphasis is placed on the “what” of attachment versus the “why”. While there are definite attachment practices (such as baby wearing, breastfeeding, cosleeping, etc.), it isn’t the practice that leads to the secure attachment between mother and child. It is the attunement behind the practice. It is the mother’s willingness to tune in to the child’s needs, to “be” with the child. It is, at its core, an emotional connection with your child.
When we embrace “being” parents, the relationship becomes the priority, not what we are doing to our children. And when we prioritize the relationship, the connection, there is no need to rely on one size fits all “best practices” model because the unique relationship you have WITH your child creates the practice.