The Obsession With Labels…

Written by Molly McMullan for her blog, Life With Tristan.

The Obsession With Labels…

And why frankly, they’re bullshit.

According to the internet, there are 5 common types of parenting. Positive, attachment, unconditional, spiritual and slow/nurturant parenting. That’s 5 types of what you should and shouldn’t be doing as a parent and why you shouldn’t stray from that bracket to minimise confusion.


According to internet quizzes my parenting style is attachment. This means I attend quickly to my sons emotional and physical needs and we are very close at any given moment. I often get comments about co-sleeping and why I shouldn’t be doing it, the fact that my son gets upset when he isn’t close to me and can’t see me and why this is because I don’t leave his side if I don’t have to; everything I do as a mother, as most mothers will find, is critiqued and ‘better’ advice of what I should do is quickly passed on.

Since the day of announcing I was pregnant I have had a bucket load of ‘advice’ but to be very honest, most of it has been unhelpful and taken with a pinch of salt. What kind of mum do you think you’ll be? Will you breastfeed or bottle feed? What kind of nappies will you use? Were common questions I was asked, followed by reasons why I should or shouldn’t be doing these things.

My style of parenting has quickly become, in my own words, whatever the hell works for my family.

We co-sleep and have since birth, because I love the cuddles, I love not having to worry I can’t see him and I find it so much easier as a breastfeeding mum. We use cheap disposable nappies because we simply don’t have the time or energy for reusable nappies. I give him a dummy and plan on doing it until I feel it’s no longer necessary, it settles Tristan and he enjoys using one and spits his out if he no longer wants it. I spend several hours a day cuddling and kissing and talking to him—I love making him laugh and smile and I love the closeness I feel with him.

So why, when I’m loving my son and raising him to the best of my ability do I still get comments and unwelcome advice? I appreciate that people are only trying to help, but my son is healthy and incredibly happy. I’m sure most mums feel the same.

What is the obsession with labels? And how you should and shouldn’t be parenting? If my son is healthy and happy, should there really be a focus on what I’m doing to achieve this? And if it works for us, why change it?