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Humor / Motherhood

A (Funny) Lesson on Attachment-detachment Parenting

A (Funny) Lesson on Attachment-detachment Parenting

My kids and I are having a fabulous summer. If we’re not swimming, we’re hiking, playing with friends or traveling. I fully realize these years are fleeting and I’m making the most of my time with them.

The only snafu is this thing called work I’m supposed to be doing. And by the end of the summer, you’d better believe I’ll be in dire need of some alone time to finally be productive. As much as I enjoy having my kids around 24-7, school is a much-needed respite for all of us.

I realize not everyone shares my opinion. Several years ago when my daughter was about to enter preschool, our community had a big ol’ garage sale. My husband Jamie and I stopped at a house a few blocks away and struck up a casual conversation with the home owners. It took only a few seconds for me to realize I was talking to The Urban Legend of our neighborhood. Err…or I guess that would be Suburban Legend.

Rumors have circulated for a few years that this woman sent her child off to college and decided whilst in her 40s to start from scratch and get pregnant…20 years after the first. And she was rewarded with not one but twin girls my daughter’s exact same age.

Well, I was ecstatic to meet The Legend! We immediately hit it off and talked of future playdates. My husband Jamie asked if she was sending them to our local elementary school and she responded affirmatively. I then asked if they were going to preschool.

“Yes, they’re going to ________.”

“Oh great! That is where my daughter is going in the fall!”

“Well, admittedly I am pretty reluctant to send them. I just don’t think I can bear to be without them. You know what I’m talking about?”

I thought of my “How Many Days Until Hadley is in Preschool Countdown Chart.” And my mental spreadsheet detailing what my little guy Bode and I would do with six tranquil hours every single week without his sister.

“Yes, I know exactly what you mean.”

Later in the car, I relayed our conversation to Jamie. Dubiously, he looked at me and eloquently assessed the situation:

“Those are not our kind of people, Amber.”

Hear, hear. 🙂

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.


  1. I am a detached attached parent. For the most part I enjoy having my kids around but there are times when I just wish they would leave me alone and go play.

  2. I really think that has more to do with her age and that these are her last kids than her style of parenting.

    Having a fairly big gap in my kids if we choose to have another (10 years) I KNOW that I will savor every moment more because it is the last that I know I will have as a mother.

    I just have a different outlook now vs. then. I was 21 when I had my first and was obviously in a different place.

    It’s a big difference, I think. Lots of moms i’ve talked to feel like that about their last babies.

    (I do tend to be more of the detached parenting style though…)

  3. Love Jamie’s assessment. I often wonder which kind of mom I’ll be.

  4. Detached here! I’ve gotten postitive repsonses, as well as the people who immediately stick their noses in the air and walk away because just talking to me could be dangerous to their parenting skills. Just remember, you are the perfect and best mom…for YOUR child. God intended for you to parent your child, not them.

  5. I think you’re correct that a lot of circumstances come into play. I am much more of a detachment parent with Hadley because she is so fiercely independent, whereas my little guy is a lot more clingy.

  6. I’m probably on the detachment side. I want my freedom and sanity and I think it is really important to help my kids to learn to be individuals who don’t need me. That one is hard, though. I still want them to be little and need me!

  7. Oh, did you not hear – I’m the new president of the Detatched Mothers of the Nation Club – we have weekly seminars on not sneering at the mothers who cry at things like preschool graduation ….. okay, okay, so this kind of club doesn’t realy exist but if it did I would SO be the president! Oh, and I try not volunteer too much at the schools, it gives the child a false sense of attachment.

    PS: I do love my children though. Just for the record

  8. Jdude – record taken. 🙂

    And Tizrah, there definitely is a fine balance!

  9. I seem to ebb and flow between the two. Most of the time, I’m more detached though. I like to do things with them, but I’m not an entertainer!

  10. I have to say that I totally relate to what Jamie said… and exactly how I felt (often) after my daughter was born. Not sure which “world” I belonged to, but knowing that I didn’t belong to the “hovercraft parents”… those that won’t allow their kids to get messy, fall down, basically disallowing them the opportunity to deal with the world. Ughhh. I love my daughter (who is now 8) and am eternally grateful that I was raised by a Mom who believed that we should deal with the world… guess what you’re referring to as detached… with a strong family attachment, as ‘individuals’.

  11. As the school year comes to an end all I can think of is how many weeks until school starts again.

  12. I used to look forward to those quiet hours when I could work while my kids went to school. I like them better as big people and enjoy being around them so much more now. I am sad when summer is over and love the weekends when we can play. And I often get a little tear just thinking about my oldest graduating and going to college. Boohoo!

  13. i think for the first few years of the child’s life, i’m definitely an attachment parent. it came naturally to me and has worked wonderfully for me and my two kids (almost 4 yrs and 18 mos). as they get older, they naturally venture out on their own (my nearly 4 yr old daughter is fiercely independent and her li’l bro is following in her footsteps).
    and while i enjoy the time that my daughter is at preschool, i still like to think of myself as attached. i guess i don’t feel like it has to be one extreme or the other, at least not for me. 🙂


  14. Can I be both?

    I homeschool, so that automatically puts me in the ‘attached’ category!

    But, we go around and find as many things for them to do independently and I’m so happy to see them going off on their own, which puts me into the detached category.

    I’m lol with the ‘those are not our kind of people’ comment. 🙂

  15. I think I’m a pretty good mix…I sniff and get all sentimental whenever my children finish a class or begin something new (attachment) but get so excited every time a new challenge enters their lives (detachment).

    My main goal is to build confidence and independence through a good combo of attachment/detachment parenting.

    Preschool this fall – yahoo!

  16. I’m desperately attached until they start bugging me. =)

  17. Oh my gosh I wanted to talk about this, but couldn’t think of the parenting style I had…DETACHED! That is it! My biggest thing is all the parents who sleep with theri kids. I sleep with my kids too, but most definitely not at choice but rather laziness of getting out of bed to put Zoe back in her bed. At least she goes to her bed first. Sorry I need some me time and sometimes I just want peace and quiet!

  18. amber dear,

    i am so with YOU, sister! amen amber!

    hehe, kathleen

  19. Preschool is a wonderful thing! I am already counting the days until Aug when it starts again. Maybe we will do the summer session after all.

  20. I snuggle with my kiddo in her bed for about 30 minutes while she falls asleep at night rubbing my pinkie finger. Me: ATTACHED!

  21. I love all these answers. Glad to see so many attached…and detached parenting styles. 🙂

  22. And yes, I think we can be both!

  23. I’m like you – fairly detached with my independent daughter & attached with my clingy son. She is just too much like me. Overall, I think she’ll be better off for it. Who doesn’t want an independent daughter?

  24. I am veering more to attachment because my kids have started veering to detachment. Funny how that works. Couldn’t wait to sign them up for things to get a break. Now that they are all about buddies and friends (they are 5 and 6), I want to be with them more.


  25. Loved the, “Hear, hear”

    I was very relieved to send each and every one of my boys to pre-school when they were old enough. It gave us both a break from each other. Perhaps the, “Suburban Legend” isn’t climbing the walls to let hers go to school because they entertain each other?…The only reason I didn’t want my boys to go was because I felt guilt because I thought I was SUPPOSED to ache for them to say. Now, I just am honest with myself and I don’t trusy anyone that isn’t ready to let their kids go to pre-school. It isn’t natural 😉

  26. I have one of each, attached and independant, I’m glad for both personalities, but as they are growing, I realize that they, in the natural course of time will leave home. So the person I find my attachment to is Pat (hubby). As we have aged and grown together, it suits me just fine.

  27. Am very much the detached parent. Course when it comes to social stuff (or his grandparents) the boy has always been a “don’t let the door hit you in the butt onthe way out” kind of kid.

    Some of those kinds of moms expressed alot of disbelief when I’d tell them Seth was spending the night at a grandparents house now and again within his first year. But now, THEY’RE the ones who find they can’t do a couple’s vacation or have a night out alone without the kids screaming and crying and freaking out. Hmmm. Maybe I’m not such a bad mom to be “dumping off” (at his very attentive grandparents’) my child afterall?

    Amber? You’re my kinda mama!

  28. I love to see them go and start new adventures.

    I had to laugh because I remember when my VT companion and I each had babies who were about 17 months old. We were counting the days until they would go to Nursery. We began visiting a mom who had a young baby and she asked, “What if you don’t want to send them to the Nursery?” We looked at each other and thought, “Are you nuts???”

  29. i’m your kind of people. i looked forward to each of my children going off to school. we all benefited from that time =)

  30. I, like so many others, thought I was supposed to be attached. So I threw myself into the world of slings and such with my first baby. But after a few months I realized a little time in the baby swing wasn’t so horrible. And when baby #2 came along, I just went with my instinct to give each of us a little “space” – and amazingly she’s a much more mellow and much less clingly baby. It makes me wonder if I encouraged my son’s clinginess – you know that whole “nature vs. nurture” bit?


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