Friday, May 11, 2012

I am enough: a Mother's Day declaration

time magazine

When I saw the Time magazine cover story announced yesterday, "Are You Mom Enough?," my initial reaction bore mixed feelings. On the one hand, I applaud the message sent by mothers who want to show that breastfeeding at any age can be a good choice for them.* Above all else, I am tired of the "mom wars," in which we judge and berate each other's parenting decisions, particularly the decision to breastfeed. We even go so far as to create laws that would hinder those decisions. There is such a sad double standard in a society that allows barely-clad breasts to advertise sex on billboards but restricts mothers from feeding their children wherever and in what way they see fit to do so.

On the other hand, I don't like the inflammatory way the question on the cover of Time was posed, even though I understand the idea that a magazine sparks debate to sell issues. I feel know I am enough and want other moms to know that they are too. Isn't there a way the media could present this current attachment parenting trend without pitting moms against each other? After all, parenting philosophies are rarely all-or-nothing propositions.

Even more broadly, I am exhausted by the amount of caustic remarks I see in general on the Internet. They remind me of an interaction I'd like to forget from my early twenties in which I unknowingly yelled at and hung up on a friends' mom, who I had accidentally speed-dialed a bunch of times (Sigh. It's a long story). Oops. The good thing about that day is that I finally committed to memory the sweet-as-pie instruction I received growing up: You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Or in my case, always act as though you are speaking to your best friend's mom (because you just might be).

I felt a sense of relief when I saw this article on Babble, this one in Huffington Post, this one on Elephant Journal calling for an end to the mommy wars, and that's why I declare to you today that HELL YES we are enough. Being a mom is the most difficult job I know of, and it should come with acceptance and praise, not criticism and blame. I hope you know you are enough and don't doubt it for a second on Mother's Day and every day, even when taunted by the media.

And now, as a budding Bostonian, I will end with a typical Beantown valediction for this fine holiday: Say hello to yeh Mothah fah me.

And give her a big hug too. Happy (early) Mother's Day!

*N.B.: Lest the woman on the cover feel overly judged for her decision to pose, I am posting a link to a smart article she wrote for BlogHer challenging statements made by breastfeeding advocates. Judge not lest you shall...well, you know.

Editor's note: This post is a part of Seasonal Celebration SundayNatural Parenting Group's Monday Blog HopJust Write, and Works for Me Wednesday.


lola said...

oh yes the time cover! what a storm it has brought, and i too agree that we must end all mommy (parenting) wars. we all do what we think is best for our own families, that being said, i just blogged about the very idea of being enough as a mother and how i would know if i had and was giving enough to my two sons. it is something i always think about. it's not about being a good mother, it's about giving enough of myself to ensure they are experiencing life to their fullest.
ya know?
what's a day of mothering with guilt and worry thrown into the mix?????

Jane said...

Very interesting ... Happy Mother's Day Justine! I hope you have a great day :)

The Lone Home Ranger said...

I know what you mean, Lola. I frequently reflect on how I'm raising my kids and compare my parenting to that of friends and family. I think it's good to keep improving on what we're doing; perhaps it's best to consider parenting as a skill to be honed and not judged.

Becky Elmuccio said...

I am also tired of the mommy wars. Thanks for a smart post on this topic.

Wanda said...

Great post! I agree. Butt out and stop comparing! As a mom, that can be the most damaging thing to do to yourself.
What worked for my family may not for another. I made "mom" choices that fit my family unit. The people around you are NEVER going to agree with every choice you make. Why try to please them?
Please the ones God has entrusted to you.....your hubby & kids!

One more thing. Nursing babies. When I was dragging around 3 under 4 and nursing (I only nursed one at a time) a baby. It was very difficult to find a private spot for nursing mothers. Now (my kids are 18 19 & 21) I see the swankiest furniture and private areas in shopping malls/stores. I can't help but feel jelly! All those times I sat on a toilet seat or hid in a fitting room....BOO!

Rebecca said...

Beautifully said. In total agreement. Motherhood is a learning curve that never dips, we all make mistakes and learn from them on a daily basis- there's no room for judgement in my head, that's for sure! Thanks Justine for coming to Natural Mother's “Seasonal Celebration Sunday.” I would love to see you again next week!! Rebecca x


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