Moms

The latest child-rearing fad? Detachment parenting

May 18, 2012 at 8:38 AM ET

Courtesy of Sarah Maizes /
Sarah Maizes demonstrates "detachment parenting."

By Sarah Maizes

“Attachment Parenting” is so last week.

All that bonding, baby-wearing and breastfeeding? Done. Over. So passe.

I am developing a new parenting style of my own – one I am confident will yield a future world leader, a captain of industry, or at least a fairly enthusiastic therapy candidate.  I call it “Detachment Parenting,” and it’s the wave of the future. 

As the mother of three children under the age of 12 who have yet to be charged with any major crime - or spend significant time in the Principal’s office - I feel I am qualified to pimp my own unique parenting technique.   After all, if it works for my children, won’t it work for everyone else’s?

It’s not a complicated philosophy.  Like “Attachment Parenting” (AP) it’s actually quite intuitive.  Dr. Sears suggests that AP is what we would practice if we lived alone on an island.  Which is great.  If you do live alone on an island.  But I don’t.  And with three children, PTA obligations, gymnastics, basketball practice, art classes, tennis lessons, tutors, and more pets than people in my home - I’m far from alone.  Mama’s got stuff to do.  Like buy groceries.  And nap.

And while the recent Time magazine cover shows a hot young mom with a toddler dangling from her boob like a tassel on a stripper, wearing a defiant stare that dares me to be “Mom Enough,” I imagine my own magazine cover – a 40-something year old me with a quizzical “how the h-ll did this happen?” stare, holding a child at arms length by his forehead while his outstretched, pudding-covered fingers try to get at me.   

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Detachment Parenting is actually very cutting edge in its natural rubric.  After all, what parent hasn’t heard their child shriek and responded internally with an instinctive, “Oy.”   

Let’s say your child wakes every night crying for you.  Do you really want to roll out of bed and run to their side swiftly before any tears hit the pillow?   In DP, you simply roll over and turn off the monitor.

Need to accomplish a task without interruption?  An AP mom would never dare to attempt this.  But a DP mom can accomplish any single task with minimal interruption using only some Legos and a pack of gum.

And balance?  Well, AP parents can rub each other’s heads gently while their little imp snores between them.  DP can parents lock the door and get it on.

It’s so simple. 

Of course, like Dr. Sears, I can only offer “Tools.  Not rules.” And each family is so different.  But what’s great about DP is you can adjust the levels of benign neglect to suit your own family’s needs. 

Of course, I’m still honing my philosophy, figuring out the specifics.  But I’m very optimistic. 

I can’t be entirely off course because my kids still love me.  At least that’s what they tell me when I put them in bed at night.  They kiss me and hug me happily and I enjoy every morsel of their love.  Then I close the door to their room, content that that is where they will stay, and go to my room to watch “Family Guy.” 

Of course, the minute they leave for college (God willing!) I’ll be filled with regret.  I’ll miss them, and wish I had taken more time to stop and smell the roses – or at least let them wipe those pudding covered fingers all over me.  

But for now this works for me.  And for them too.  Just as long as I keep a huge stock of Legos and gum.

Sarah Maizes is a writer, speaker, comedian and founder of  MommyLITEonline.com, a parenting humor site.  She is the author of  Got Milf? The Modern Mom’s Guide to Feeling Fabulous, Looking Great and Rocking a Minivan” , and her new children’s picture book “On My Way to the Bath” will be out on May 22nd.  In her spare time she…wait…she has no spare time.

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