I am not even going to pretend I know what it’s like to be a mother. I have a cat that I love dearly and carry around like my “little baby”, but we all know that pets and children are not the same thing (or are they?), and my small taste of ‘motherhood’ in no way prepares me for the real thing.
I don’t even know if I would be a good mother, even though at twenty seven, that “mom feeling” that some women have when they see a cute baby is definitely there for me. It’s pretty much centered on small babies though, not kids in general, and I feel the same way about dogs too. I definitely see a dog in my future.
Like almost everyone else, I have seen the newest TIME magazine cover, and I have an opinion. In case you haven’t seen it:
This irritates me for a few reasons. I believe in the “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” mentality, and to me, that applies here. I support the right for a mother to breastfeed in public, because when your baby is hungry, it’s your job to be able to provide. As a society, I don’t think we should ban mothers from being able to provide for their children outside a gross public restroom, but I would also expect that mother would cover up as appropriate. We wouldn’t exempt a woman from sitting outside with her bare breast showing, and I think we should expect the same from breastfeeding mothers. I will not apologize for this stance, because as progressive and liberal as I am, I would feel the same way if one of my sisters was breastfeeding in public. This image of a child ‘feeding’ out in the open actually makes me uncomfortable.
My second reason is that child in the photo is too old, in my opinion, to be breastfeeding. I realize there are many differing opinions about when a child should be weaned, but honestly, if a child is old enough to feed themselves solid food then they are old enough to be weaned off their mother. Although the photographer in this shoot admits that this situation is a bit unusual, the headline for the story reads: “Are you Mom Enough?”, and it just bugs me to no end. So, if a mother doesn’t subscribe to attachment parenting, she isn’t ‘mom enough’? If she doesn’t let her child sleep in the same bed with her until they’re three or four, she is somehow less of a caring mother?
Which brings me to my last irritation: Attachment Parenting.
The whole notion of this “concept” is possibly the most irritating of them all. To illustrate my point, I will take directly from Wikipedia (the obvious answer to everything):
Per Dr. Sears’ theory of attachment parenting (AP), proponents such as the API attempt to foster a secure bond with their children by promoting eight principles which are identified as goals for parents to strive for. These eight principles are:
1.Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
2.Feed with Love and Respect
3.Respond with Sensitivity
4.Use Nurturing Touch
5.Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
6.Provide Consistent Loving Care
7.Practice Positive Discipline
8.Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life
I’m sorry, but isn’t that just called “parenting”? I mean, if a human cannot handle doing/implementing any of those things listed above, they should never have attempted to become parents anyway. Why must we always go to extremes, and sub-define what should already be the norm? Because it isn’t the norm? Because we, as a society, suck so bad at raising children that we need to constantly define and redefine our parenting styles? Children should be disciplined when they’re naughty, they should get timeouts when they bite someone, they should sleep in their own beds at night to foster independence and ownership of their belongings, and they should be shown how to be loving individuals. I am not an expert on parenting, but the ‘extremes’ really bother me, and they always have.
All of this being said, I also believe that the parents need to figure out what works best for them. As long as you are raising a healthy, happy and kind child, I’d say you’re doing a fantastic job, and whatever your method: Kudos to you. One day, if/when I become a mother, I will have to make some decisions about how to raise my child, and who knows what kind of hippie nonsense I’ll come up with? Space Parenting? Wizard Parenting? LARP Parenting?
Happy Mothers Day, mothers:) Hope everyone has a great weekend.
I think setting mothers against other mothers because of things that may work for one family and not for another is just pathetic. If you wanna breast-feed til the kid’s 8 years old and that works for your family, awesome. If you don’t wanna breast-feed at all and that is what is best for your family, awesome. To each her own, and the mommy-judgment needs to stop. It sounds like middle-school (“You’re not cool/hardcore/athletic/preppy/goth/punk enough! Us vs them!”) and we should all be past that by now. Diversity is healthy and should be supported and encouraged, whether its sexuality, gender, breastfeeding, parenting or anything else.
Excellently said. Thank you for sharing your perspective on this.