If you’re a parent, you’ve most likely seen the newest cover of TIME Magazine which shows a mother with her 3 year-old son breastfeeding while standing on a chair, with the headline “Are you mom enough?”. I first took notice of it last Thursday when just about every other post on my Facebook News Feed had the picture of the cover on it with a tag line question such as “What kind of mom do you want to be?” While most mothers reading this were uneasy with the picture or disagreed with attachment parenting, the majority of mothers were just plain disappointed with TIME putting out such a story, creating what is commonly referred to as “mommy wars”, especially so close to Mother’s day. Some mothers were so upset that they didn’t want to comment on it one way or another. While I understand their reason for concern, I think there’s nothing wrong with a healthy debate and conversation on parenting styles. And so, buying into the hype, I went and purchased my copy the day it hit newsstands.
First off – the story. I read it, and I have to say, it doesn’t really have anything to do with “are you mom enough”. It doesn’t preach to say that attachment parenting is the best method. In fact, it even says that some mothers who follow attachment parenting are so caught up in the details and they read too much into it, that it drove them to feel incompetent and perhaps, act out in extreme measures. To offer a quick summary, Attachment Parenting, the idea brought to main-stream public, was made famous by Dr. Bill Sears in his book “The Baby Book”.
Sears’ theory is based on the following key points: 1) Breast is Best and babies should feed on demand, 2) Parents should respond to their baby’s cries immediately, 3) parents should share their bed with their baby and 4) the importance of baby wearing.
Here’s my point of view on the whole topic. When I first became a mother, I promised that I would never (again) judge another mom. Easier said than done? Sure… do I think it’s weird that a 3 year-old is still breastfeeding? Yes. Is that judging? Maybe… Would people judge me if they knew that I let my son watch TV and he’s not even two years yet? Yes… (although no one has told me yet to my face). Did people think it was weird that I swaddled my son until he was six months old? Sure, but did I stop? No! And that’s my point. Every mom, as long as they’re acting in the best interest of their child, no matter how different their method is from yours, should do whatever they have to do, if it’s the right thing for them and their family. I can’t reiterate that last sentence, or underline it, or bold it enough. Stop and re-read it again. It’s so important. Moms carry so much self-induced guilt and pressure as it is, the last thing we need is someone else to tell us what we’re doing is not right or what we should be doing is this and that. Why do we always seem to be mothering other moms?
If a baby is fed, clothed and loved, does the HOW matter? I don’t think so. Being a mom is not a competition. Being a mom is being the best mom that you can be; without comparison to anyone else. Similar to the saying “Happy wife, happy life”, there should be a saying along the lines of “Happy mom, happy family”.
That’s why I’m choosing to be more than just mom enough. I’m choosing to be the best mom that I can be!
PS. As the famous Zoolander once said “Lucky for me no one I know reads your little TIME magazine or whatever its called.”