Enough. Just enough. Yesterday could have been deemed the Apocalypse with the release of the newest Time magazine cover. I’m not one for confrontation, so I just read and didn’t comment. Yes, you are more than welcome to call me a wimp. However, this morning, I was talking about the whole drama with a friend during a play date and felt the need to get this out. This article could have been an amazing, well-written piece on the choices some parents make to keep their children close to them, regardless of the convience for them. It could have raised awareness for breastfeeding and helped push past the stigma of nursing an older child.
Instead, this article appears to have been written to do 3 things: create yet another mom-to-mom battle (Are You Mom Enough? is the official title of the piece.), create the notion that parents who choose to parent their children in an attached method are nut jobs and create a windfall of magazine sales. So far, I’d say all 3 goals have been met. So pardon me while I address each one.
To begin with, do we really need another reason for competition between moms? I submit that we do not. What you think about my parenting decisions is none of my business. I don’t need to know. I don’t care if you think I should have traded in my boobs for bottles months ago. Quite frankly, I don’t see why you care… they’re not yours… you aren’t the one feeding my child. Just a thought. Additionally, breastfeeding gets a bad rap because of covers like this. If you go to the actual write up on the behind the scenes in Time, you’ll see photos of gorgeous, comfortable, loving mothers (including the cover model, Jamie Lynne) with their children. These women, participated in the shoot because they desired to raise awareness about the normalcy of breastfeeding and how does go hand in hand with attachment parenting. Not because they felt like being treated like an oddity. Breastfeeding doesn’t work for everyone’s family. It didn’t work for us when Liam was little. I wanted it to, but it didn’t. It didn’t work because I didn’t have any tools, information or support. I though that all you had to do was drink lots of water and buy a supportive bra… nature would do the rest. In my case, nature did not even try to do the rest. With Sylvi, I set micro goals of getting through the first month, then the first 6 weeks, then the first 3 months and so on. I did not make a plan other than to try and make sure she was healthy and growing. This time, I had the support and the education. And I wasn’t afraid of failure. This time, I would have happily participated in a campaign to raise awareness for breastfeeding!
Attachment parenting is far more natural than people realize. ”The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we’d like them to interact with others.” Please, I ask you, tell me how this would drive someone to an extreme. AP is something that seems freakish because our society doesn’t want to slow down and listen to our children. We want them to hurry through their development and meet the next standard. We want then to grow up so we can move on with life and get out of this inconvenient stage. We are taught that our children should perform and be perfect, when we ourselves are not perfect. AP isn’t about meeting a set of standards or following a rule book of crunchiness… one of my closest friends is an excellent example of AP; she co-sleeps, responds with more sensitivity than you would imagine possible, and respects her children’s individual needs both emotionally and physically. She doesn’t breastfeed. She has a situation that doesn’t make it practical for her to do so; instead she bottle feeds with more care and attention than most women I’ve ever watched. Even though we don’t see eye to eye on many issues, her parenting challenges me everyday to be a better, more sensitive parent to my children by listening to them and truly understanding their needs.
Sensationalism. Money. Sales. Quarterly goals. Whatever the reason for presenting this article the way that they chose to, for shame! Time magazine should be ashamed of their editing, their focus and their manners for creating a hailstorm of ignorance surrounding parenting of the attached variety. I’m grateful that Dionna Ford of Code Name: Mama chose to participate in not only the photo shoot, but also several interviews by her local media. I’m grateful for the Natural Parents Network for helping to educate and support parents who desire to parent their children as closely as they can. I’m so grateful for the La Leche League International and Certified Lactation Consultants… without them, my second breastfeeding experience would have also been a loss.
When I first heard about this article, I was so excited. I could hardly wait to get my hands on a copy of Time. Yesterday, I was sad and disappointed. Today, I can see this as a positive as so many people are starting to ask questions. I can only hope that they keep asking and find the answers that make sense for them… that’s why groups like Natural Parents Network, La Leche and others exist… to take the mystery out while simultaneously creating a community of support for mothers, fathers and children. In the end, we are all “mom enough” because we care enough to give up ourselves for our children… let’s just not start a fight about what methods we employ to achieve that goal.