parenting

My Parenting Style? Afghan*.

*The blanket, not the country.

Part of being a parent is constantly questioning every single choice you make regarding your child; everything from how much TV they watch, to how you enforce house rules, to wondering if you’re raising a good human.

Because at the end of the day, we want our child to be a decent person.

In my early morning social news gathering, an article in my feed described four parenting styles. However, I think my parenting style is the 5th, not listed style: Afghan parenting.

Haven’t heard of it? that’s because I made it up. However, it works. Stick with me!

My grandmother – my mother’s mother – crocheted afghans. Big, colorful blankets that would grace our sofas and the ends of our beds. One of my most vivid memories of my grandmother was the time she spent crocheting. I can still see her sitting in her chair, legs covered with what she had finished thus far, knitting needles lightly tap-tap-tapping against each other, lips silently moving as she counted out her stitches.

When I was young, my grandmother would crotchet for me afghans for my bed, a new one each time I redecorated my room. I got one to match the hot pink comforter I bought for my freshman dorm for college. And I received a crisp, white one for my wedding shower. Afghans were how my grandmother showed her love. In addition to blankets for humans, she would also crochet little blankets for my dolls, to keep them warm in their cradles. When everyone in the family had at least 3 afghans, she began knitting lap blankets for the elderly who were long-term inpatients at a medical facility near her house in California. There was my 80-something grandmother knitting lap blankets “for the old people” as she used to say. 

Here are all the reasons I equate my parenting style to an afghan blanket:

  • Afghans – like parenting – are a labor of love
  • Afghans keep you warm and safe. (This is your number one job as a parent!) 
  • Afghans have holes in them so that while they keep you warm, your body can also breathe. This built in ventilation is very important in parenting: you should cover them when they need it, but also allow them a little freedom. Or, you can do the ‘one leg in and one leg out’ method, which is what I predict the teenage years will be like.      
  • Afghans are soft but a little scratchy too. You should be soft as a parent, but you need some hard edges, too.
  • Afghans are reliable. 
  • Afghans are familiar. 
  • Afghans are sentimental. You don’t buy an afghan, you inherit one or someone knits one for you specifically. 
  • Afghans can be a little smothering. They can be heavy and hot, and you may find yourself trying to push it off of you when it’s too much. Admittedly my parenting style is something like that. I want to keep Little Mister close to me, and hold on to him for dear life. Of course, I can see how this might be considered sMOTHERing.
  • Afghans can go to college with you, but you them away from your roommates (too embarrassing) and only take them out when you’re alone and you are missing home. 

And, like an afghan, I will eventually not be used for warmth or security, but I will sit untouched at the end of the bed. And possibly put into a trunk. Or the attic, Or the basement.

And even if I’m not being used or needed everyday, Little Mister will know I’m still there, miraculously holding my shape, possibly smelling slightly of moth balls, waiting for him when he needs me. 

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