WTF, Time Magazine??? What a provocative cover. The picture is disturbing – not just because this 26 year old mother is nursing her almost 4 year old (though that’s up for discussion as well), but how overtly sexualized they have made the act of feeding one’s child. She is super sexy and the casual way in which her child (who looks almost 8) is sucking on her breast is dramatic, to say the least. I don’t understand the exploitative nature of this photograph. I also don’t understand why a child who can clearly speak and feed himself needs to literally attach to his mother. Can he not receive the same nutritive value from pumped breast milk? I don’t know where that line should be drawn, nor do I need or want to draw a line. However, there is no need to flaunt it either. What kind of reaction will that child face at school?
I know I will raise a TON of ire if I so much as speak about breastfeeding since I formula fed both my kids. I won’t enter into that arena…there seems to be too much emotion surrounding the topic. I think people should do what’s right for them and their families.
What really gets my goat is the title, “Are you Mom Enough?” Why is there a competition for best mom? Why do we need to define our methodology? Why can’t we just PARENT??? Why does it matter whether our kids are breastfed or formula fed? I think my husband and I are proof enough that formula fed babies turn out JUST FINE. I have plenty of friends who were breastfed and are terrific. I have plenty of friends who have severe emotional problems and issues with their mothers DESPITE having been attachment parented.
Whether our style is helicopter, attachment, detachment, freebird, authoritarian, authoritative, indulgent, or uninvolved, we are all parents in the end. Can we all just agree that no matter what we do as parents, we are bound to mess some or all of it up? Do we really need to judge and critique other people? So what if I’m uncomfortable with a woman breastfeeding her 4 year old – I don’t have to watch. And, should I care that you don’t believe in my way of sleep training my kids? Because I just don’t care. I also don’t want to hear from you that my child will be worse off for not having been breastfed. I wanted a bit of detachment after carrying each daughter around for 9.5 months. I was grateful that my husband, mother-in-law, brother, friend, nanny, random person in the street could feed my kid when all I wanted was to rest for a few minutes. I do what I need to do in order to maintain sanity amid the chaos that is parenthood.
And furthermore, let’s stop the fight between stay-at-home moms and working mothers. Again, we all do what we need to do for ourselves and our families. I know plenty of SAHMs who text, email and chat on their phones all day and barely notice their kids. I know working moms who are completely present each moment they spend with their children. I also know a slew of parents who fall somewhere in between.
So am I mom enough? But, of course. Are you mom enough? Hell, yes. We each parent in the way we need for ourselves and our kids. Let’s stop casting aspersions and laying on guilt. We already have enough guilt in our lives, there’s no need to gild the lily. Stop comparing yourself to other parents. Stop comparing your kid to other children. Look at the “man” in the mirror. If you’re happy with your reflection, then you’re doing something right. If not, fix it. Putting someone else down will not make you better. I don’t have a parenting methodology. I encourage parents to be happy, and in doing so, their children will learn to be happy. I believe in making life easier. I believe in enjoying my kids. Life is hard. Parenting is hard. Let’s not make it harder.
And, by the way, where’s dad in this whole conversation?!? Is he dad enough?