CHICAGO, May 12, 2012 — Time Magazine, you should be ashamed of yourself.
Mother’s Day is upon us, a time to celebrate and show appreciation for moms everywhere. But just like a child who can’t resist pushing mom’s buttons when you know she’s looking for a little peace, you decide now is the time to ask if she’s “Mom Enough?”
In this week’s cover story, “Are You Mom Enough?” Time highlights attachment parenting, a practice first stylized in Western culture by Dr. Bill Sears and his wife Martha in their 1992 primer The Baby Book, and more appropriately called “attachment mothering.”
As Nathan Thornburgh points out in a side article to Time’s cover story, “It’s all grounded in the knowledge that children can – and often do – get by without a father in their lives at all. Sort of takes the pressure off.”
Never mind all of the research showing the importance of a father in the life of a child. That bond will apparently magically appear when the child is old enough to play catch. For now, Dad, the pressure is off.
At its core, attachment parenting has three guiding principles: breast-feeding, co-sleeping and “baby wearing.” None of these principles is bad for baby though there are those that feel a baby is at risk of suffocation during co-sleeping.
Enter the extremists. They’re not just in religion and politics. They’re everywhere.
In this case, the extremists are breastfeeding their children into toddlerhood and, in one case mentioned in the article, into the school-age years. They are sleeping with baby in the same bed. They are spending every moment of their lives with baby attached either at the breast or in a sling.
One mom mentioned in the article literally spent months moving from her bed to the couch and back again.
Like extremists everywhere, attachment-parenting extremists are considered strange by those with more conventional leanings. Unlike religious and political extremists, however, attachment parents are content to live their lives their way and let you live yours your way.
There are no attachment-parenting suicide bombers or shock radio shows.
And for the most part, more conventional parents are content to pass their judgmental glances, offer a snide comment or two, and move on with their carpool responsibilities. All in all, it is pretty much a live and let live atmosphere.
The reason for this is simple. Every mom on the planet believes she is doing what is best for her child. She knows she has made mistakes and will continue to do so. She knows she must find a way to put the guilt behind her and move on.
And she knows that every other mother she sees is doing the same thing.
She knows the advice offered by the mom of the colicky baby in the grocery store most definitely did not work for her own colicky baby. Every mom and every child is unique. There is no perfect way to raise all children.
Every mother out there knows that every mother she sees is doing the best she can.
So how dare Time Magazine ask any mother if she is “Mom Enough?”
She may choose to spend every moment of every day with her children physically attached to her. She may choose to continue a career that requires leaving the children for periods of time.
She may choose to breastfeed. She may not.
If attachment mothering leaves mom feeling fulfilled, it is the right choice. If it doesn’t, and Mom ends up resenting that she has sacrificed her individual identity, or Dad resents being isolated, then attachment mothering is not the right choice.
And what about the moms who have no choice? The decision to attachment-mother is not something all women can afford.
They can, however, feel the guilt of not being able to provide what Time’s headline suggests is “enough.”
Yes, Time Magazine. We are Mom Enough. Every mom out there who does the best she can is Mom Enough. Apparently, though, you are not sure about that. You question us and want us to question ourselves. I, for one, would rather question you.
Would you care to look any mom out there in the eye and ask her if she’s “Mom Enough?” Or are you afraid the answer wouldn’t be sensational enough?
Congratulations, Time. You got Moms’ attention. Now stop acting like a spoiled, attention-seeking child. Mommy has other magazines she wants to read.
After all, it’s Mothers’ Day.
To contact Julia, see above.
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