The TIME Magazine cover article on Extended Breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting is causing a stir for two main reasons:
One, which is what I addressed briefly, is whether EB & AP are accepted as normal choices for families to make. People have chimed in with opinions on both sides, and I’ve already stated where I stand.
The second is one that I’ve decided I need to speak on as well out of my concern for the feeling of my mommy friends and other readers. It’s the issue of whether practicing extended breastfeeding and other tennants of attachment parenting make for better moms.
The TIME cover reads, “Are You Mom Enough?” and depicts a mother nursing her older toddler.
Fanning the flames of the Mommy Wars (which I’m sure have been going on for as long as women have been insecure and competitive… so forever), the title and subtitle (which describes what is depicted as “extreme”) puts both “sides” on the defensive (“I’m not less of a mom!” and “I’m not extreme!”).
This idea that there is a way to do all the right things and be “Super Mom” rubs us all the wrong way – probably because we recognize that each of us falls short of that ideal. Yet we argue and treat each other poorly for the sake of defending the parenting choices we’ve made.
Here’s the reality:
* For many of us, breastfeeding (even after infancy) is easier than the alternative(s). Convenience is one of the biggest benefits breastfeeding offers. I am not working harder (most days) to nurse (or co-sleep, or carry my babies in slings) than I would to formula feed or find another means of comforting my toddler.
* Many women can’t breastfeed, or have to stop before they’d like to, for reasons beyond their control. God has not abandoned these women to the “bad mom” camp.
* Plenty of other women may be *able* to choose to breastfeed (initially and past infancy), but don’t perceive it as a choice available to them due to lack of support or education. Perception is ofttimes reality.
* In any case (and there are obviously many more scenarios I could highlight), breastfeeding is not the only parenting decision that matters (nor is any other parenting decision on its own).
It’s a shame that this is the way TIME chose to celebrate Mother’s Day. The last things moms need is to feel inadequate! So, Happy Mother’s Day to all of my wonderful mommy friends whom I love despite (and often because of) our differences! I hope that today is a day of joy for you!
Other posts to check out:
Quotes from the Mom Walk – a post I wrote up recently that expounds on these thoughts.
Extended Breastfeeding Does Not Equal Extreme – Dionna (one of the models in the article) writes about the message the cover conveys for Huffington Post.
No, I Wasn’t Mom Enough – One moms trials with breastfeeding (I can’t IMAGINE working as hard as she did for her baby!)
We’re All Mom Enough – Hobo Mama critiques the slant the TIME article takes on AP.
From Breasts to Boobs and Back Again – a MAN chimes in. Disclaimer: I don’t know this guy from Adam and I’m not necessarily endorsing anything else he’s written. There’s also quite a bit of strong language (and humor) in this post, so be forewarned. I love that he so candidly works through the reasons many of us are uncomfortable with the idea of nursing – especially beyond infancy.