Magazine released a controversial cover this month of a 26-year-old mom breast-feeding her almost 4-year-old son. As you can see from the pic, he is almost tall enough to reach the breast on his own, and he's certainly old enough to "ask for it" (a qualifier many moms use to determine whether or not a child should be cut off from breastfeeding).
When the May issue of TIME hit the newsstands, the posts popped up, fanning the flames of the "mommy wars," and giving readers the opportunity to take sides and start slinging arrows.
If you're looking for that kind of post, you're not going to find it here.
Instead, after reading the TIME article, and the subsequent posts on Jezebel MSN
, and other sites about the post, I was left with one question, "Why can't we all just get along?"
If there is one term that gets my blood boiling more than any other, it is the term "mommy wars." It's a term invented by the media to use whenever they want to start a fight (and sell their story). But we're better than that. We spend the better part of our days quelling petty arguments; why we would we want to engage in them with each other?
TIME was clearly going for the shock factor here. I mean, even breast-feeding advocates noted that this image his nothing to do with breast-feeding and everything to do with defiance. Jamie Lynne Grumet, the mom on the cover, is daring you to make an issue of her choices. And the caption, "Are You Mom Enough?" implies what? That moms who don't breast-feed their children until their teens are somehow not mom enough?
I'll forget for a moment that the article accompanying this image is supposedly about attachment parenting, a choice that does often involve extended breast-feeding but is generally not nearly as radical as this cover image would imply.
But I'm not going to debate the pros or cons of attachment parenting or extended breast-feeding or even breast-feeding in general. Because these choices are just that — choices — and they represent just a few of the gazillion choices that we as moms make for our kids every day. They do not define us, they will not define our children, and they certainly can't be used to determine whether or not we are "mom enough."
If you love your kids, and are doing what you can to help them become healthy, happy adults, you are "mom enough." And really, that's all that really matters. If there is one thing that women are good at, it is support. We support our kids, our spouses, and our friends all of the time. This Mother's Day, shouldn't we stand united as mothers by supporting each other rather than fighting with each other?
Are we "mom enough" to resist the petty temptation to judge each other?