TIME Cover Raises Questions for Moms

'Being mom enough' is the topic of recent magazine article, but it's up to individual moms to decide what exactly that means.

This week, across the United States, another virtual firestorm erupted in the mom world when Time Magazine released its latest cover. The cover photo featuring a mother standing up and breastfeeding a three year old child who is perched atop a stepstool has, without a doubt, turned more than a few heads. 

In addition, the caption, “Are you Mom Enough?” has caused a controversy that is sure to go on for a long time to come. The article itself, titled “The Man who remade Motherhood” is about Dr. William Sears and his style of parenting commonly referred to as “attachment parenting."

First and foremost I need to make very clear that I’m not anywhere near brave enough to even begin to discuss the subject of so called “attachment parenting” in an article. It’s not my style of parenting and, frankly, I don’t know enough about it to pass judgement. To be perfectly honest, I simply don’t think it’s my place to criticize anyone’s parenting style and, frankly, that’s what bothers me so much about this particular magazine cover.

Let’s be totally honest.  Being a mom is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult tasks a woman could ever take on. Isn’t it time that we, as moms, stopped criticizing each other’s styles and, perhaps, started learning from them instead? Shouldn’t we respect each other’s choices instead of trying to force our beliefs everyone we meet? Isn’t possible that each one of us has something to share?

No two children are completely alike and, on that same note, no two moms are either. While a style of parenting may work in some households it is highly unlikely that it is a perfect fit for every family.

As far as I’m concerned breast feeding, co-sleeping and “baby wearing,” as the article refers to, are all very personal choices. No one, in my opinion, has the right to imply that deciding for or against them makes a woman more or less of a mom.

What kind of message does that kind of judgment send to a young mother?  Honestly, who would want to jump into motherhood with that kind of pressure hanging over them? 

A magazine cover that implies that you are only “mom enough” if you choose and are able to breast feed your child through their preschool years sets a new mom up for potential failure before she has even had a chance to begin. Yes, some moms make that decision and are successful with it but, frankly, there are plenty of great moms who do not too.

In a world where, sadly, there are so many parents who simply don’t parent at all, shouldn’t we support the moms who are working hard to raise their children no matter what their particular “style” is?  Isn’t it more important that a mom decides to love and support her children than for her to feel compelled to breast feed and share a bed with them?

This past weekend we celebrated Mother’s Day. A holiday dedicated to appreciating moms and all that they do, Mother’s Day certainly wasn’t established to only recognize moms who are, as the cover implies, “Mom enough” to deserve respect. Mothers Day is about recognizing all that’s good with moms and about realizing how lost we would be without them.

Yes, I will admit, I have a real problem with moms who don’t take their job as a parent seriously.  I don’t, however, have a problem with moms who simply don’t agree with me. Truth be told I enjoy hearing different points of view and strive to be open minded enough to learn from each one of them.

My life is filled with amazing moms, especially my own, who each have their own style. Every one of them brings different experiences to the table and every one of them has something to share and to teach. None of them are perfect and all of them, including myself, have made a mistake or two along the winding road of motherhood. 

While I strive to do my best as a mom I can honestly say that there’s no hope that I will ever be perfect. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I ever want to be.  For me part of being a mom is growing up and learning alongside my child and hoping that, someday, we can both look back and be proud of everything that we both did along the way.

Kim McCabe May 15, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Christine, what a balanced response, great article. The reaction to Time's cover is exactly why those of us who choose to long-term breastfeed do so discretely, especially after aged two or three, and especially our boys. Our society is so unused to seeing chlldren nursing that many are repelled by it. Although a common and acceptable sight in other places around the world, in the west we keep it hidden from public view - and so most people remain unaware of how many chlldren nurse long-term. Generally we boast of a child's independence and have become ashamed of signs of dependency - and so the fact that many children like to nurse, or have a bottle, or creep into the parental bed at night is hidden. Now Time has presented us with a startling image for all to see. And debate. Time magazine has provided a great platform for those of us who wish to respond to their article to reach a much wider audience than would ususally be interested. http://ritesforgirls.com/having-kids-huge-responsibility/
Jackie May 15, 2012 at 11:39 PM
I must say ,this by far is my most favorite article written by you , Christine . I agree with your point if view whole heartedly !! If it's not "are you mom enough" , it's a skinny airbrushed perfect mom on the covers of these magaines , again making it almost impossible to live up to the media's standards on what a mom shoukd look like or how she should mother her child . The question alone "are you mom enough ?" seems to have been used for the sole purpose of causing controversy and that ,Time Magazine , you did . Thanks for yet another great article Christine !!
Christine Berry MacKenzie May 16, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Once again...thank you all for your feedback and support!!
Carla May 16, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I agree with Jacqueline, well said Christine. I do believe "Time" got exactly what they wanted as far as starting a firestorm of one's opinion! With social media, and blogs it was on all my news feed and Mom blogs and what not. My comment or opinion has and will stay the same. As a mother who nursed her child for what I thought was a healthy 10 months, all the while on being a working mom, 10 months "for me" was what WORKED for me, although judged for not nursing long enough! However my opinion was of this on any social media I posted..."I nursed for a healthy 10 months, until my child bite me, I was done. For me I would have gone till the age 1, nothing further, that was my personal feeling and CHOICE! I have friends and family that breast fed past 2 and 3, and that is THEIR personal choice. I am a huge believer that God created women's breast for the sole purpost to feed their babies. However,, circumstances do arise and bottle feeding is just as well. I said this over and over again! Differnet Stokes! Christine great article....love, love your column!
Christine Berry MacKenzie May 16, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Thank you so much for your feedback and you kind words Carla! As a mom I work hard to not judge others for their choices and hope that they will do the same for me. Motherhood truly is the hardest job on earth!!


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