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.