Hey, Time I am Mom Enough

"Hey,Time I am Mom Enough"

So Time magazine has stirred the mommy war pot and the millions of moms who are doing their best and probably suffer from feelings of inadequacy on a good day can now look at the Time magazine cover while they place groceries on the belt, amid children screaming can now wonder if they have done something else wrong by not breastfeeding their child for three or four years.

It plays into the insecurities of moms everywhere. Moms are under enough pressure these days not to have to face a magazine cover screaming out, “Are you Mom Enough?”I will say with all honesty I do not judge the woman on the cover. If she wants a child attached to her for that many years, good for her. And I would think it might take a bit of courage to put your face, and other body parts, to the theory of “attachment parenting.”

It is more her child I feel sorry for. If that boy child can make it through his college days without someone finding out he is that kid and blowing that photo up to a 20x30 and hanging it in a common area of his dorm, then he can count his blessings. Of course if this child were older, as I was told before seeing the article myself, that he was four or five, then it might seem more offensive to some and just plain crazy to others.

Attachment parenting isn’t new. I read about it when I was pregnant more than 10 years ago and it wasn't new then. The phrase itself was penned by Dr. William Sears and what he basically states is that the more sensitive and emotionally available a parent is the better the child will develop into an emotionally stable adult. The idea is to always be available for your children, handle them with kindness and compassion and a gentle hand. Most of the parents I know do this on a regular basis.The website for Attachment Parenting International states eight components for attachment parenting. They seem like common sense to me: preparation for pregnancy, birth and parenting, feed with love and respect, respond with sensitivity, to name a few. But anyone could take any of the eight components, twist and turn and reorganize them until they look like the woman on the Time cover — extreme.

We mothers have enough coming at us on a daily basis. Magazine covers scream at us constantly. We shouldn’t have wrinkles or sagging skin, we shouldn’t gain weight. We should be home with our children, we should be feeding them home-cooked, organic, healthy meals three times a day. We should be teaching our children to read, write and add before they reach kindergarten all while keeping our houses organized and our marriages exciting and spontaneous.

Just thinking about all that is expected of me makes me want to crawl into bed and emerge when my kids go to college, which apparently they won’t if I don’t read to them 20 minutes a day, seven days a week beginning at conception.

If you had asked me 15 or 20 years ago what kind of mother I would be, I would have gleefully exclaimed, ”The Martha Stewart of all Mothers!” The baking, playing, cooking, smiling queen of motherhood. That was pre-sleep deprivation, pre-sore nipples, pre-baby fat (mine, not theirs) and definitely pre- “not tonight honey because it could result in another baby. I am not an “attachment mother” nor am I a Tiger Mom. I am not even sure I completely understand that whole concept. My own parenting style could probably be dubbed “bubble parenting.” I have decided the best way to handle motherhood is to do what works for us in our house and not ask for advice or what others mothers are doing. I no longer read articles about fabulously organized, PTO fundraising women who seem to not require any sleep at all.I do not compare what I am doing, for better or worse, with other moms. I don’t ask about bedtime routines or feeding schedules or video game rules. I don’t read articles on how I could do what I am doing better. The information is too overwhelming and sometimes it just isn’t the right fit for our family.

We have apparently done some attachment parenting, mostly by accident, like letting our kids sleep in our bed, hoping just to get them to sleep only to have a terrible night ourselves being kicked or snored at. My father never let me sleep in my parents bed when I was scared or couldn't sleep. I do remind him of this particular flaw in his parenting quite regularly but despite that, I turned out pretty well-adjusted and he got plenty of sleep.

My husband and I have tried approaching our children gently when reprimanding but until they know that behind the gentleness is a parent who means business, your authority goes nowhere fast. Kids can smell weakness the way they can smell chocolate hidden in your underwear drawer, or wherever you chose to hide your chocolate. They can prey on you and break you. I have chosen to not be broken.

The truth of motherhood is it is a messy business. It is exhausting and exhilarating and when you scrape it down to the very marrow, it is as individual as each person. No two women will come at it the same way. Some of us are shaped by what we had growing up and others by what they didn’t have. Some women have trouble letting go and some are fine with the progress of their kids and hardly look back beyond a wistful moment or two.

In the end, we all hope to raise happy, healthy children who grow into happy well-adjusted adults. So if you are wondering if I have read the whole Time magazine article the answer is no. o perhaps it is unfair of me to criticize the article. I don't really criticize it as much as I criticize the choice of title and cover photo. My children are way beyond being breastfed. And if you might be wondering if I consider myself “mom enough,” the answer is yes, I am mom enough on most days. And for now ignorance is bliss and I plan to stay in my parenting “bubble” and let the controversy swirl around me.

Because let’s face it, controversy sells and Time hit the motherload.

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