Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A whole lotta hullabaloo

It seems like everyone has a lot to say about the recent Time magazine article “Are You Mom Enough?” on attachment parenting. Many people are outraged by the controversial cover photo. Others are angry about the article’s title, which insinuates that a mom who isn’t into attachment parenting isn’t “mom enough.”

Some have accused Time magazine of fueling the Mommy Wars flames, and I agree that it has. However, I’ve loved reading the responses to the article over the last couple of days. I think, in some ways, the article has actually brought moms together, united us against the magazine’s attempt to further divide us.

Take this post over at Aiming Low, for example. This blogger reminds us how amazing we all are, no matter what parenting choices we make. She says that as long as children are not being hurt or neglected, there is no right or wrong way to raise kids, and I completely agree with her. I’ve bookmarked this post so I can read it on days when I doubt myself.

That’s why I love my mommy-friends. Even though we make different parenting choices, we lift each other up. We encourage and support each other, and we learn from each other. We would never judge one another for being a different kind of mom.

One of my friends says she makes her own baby food because “it makes her happy,” and she’s never once looked down on me for choosing to feed Quinn from a Gerber jar. I adore her for that reason and many others.

Another friend gave birth to her daughter in her home, in her bed, with a midwife and no pain medication at all. And she’s never once judged me or any of our other friends who had epidurals or c-sections. She’s got an amazing spirit.

Another friend stopped breastfeeding when her daughter was just a couple months old and switched to formula because that made the most sense for her situation. None of us have ever criticized her or thought she was a bad mother. (In fact, I think some of us were a little jealous that she didn’t have a baby attached to her boob 80% of the day.) I admire her boldness and courage to make this choice.

One of my favorite “mommy books” is When Did I Get Like This? by Amy Wilson. She has a whole chapter on breastfeeding that cracked me up. She writes, “If you don’t breastfeed your child for the first year, you’re a horrible mother. But if you breastfeed for one day past your child’s first birthday, you’re a hippy freak.”

Haha! That is so true. Quinn is down to nursing just once a day, before he goes to bed. I’m sure that many of my friends and family back home think that I’m a hippy freak out here in California because my fourteen month old son isn’t completely weaned yet.

I always thought I would be done with breastfeeding about the time my kid sprouted his first tooth. I thought for sure that it would take just one bite of the nipple before I pulled it out of his mouth and never gave it back.

But then, you never really know what you’ll do in a certain situation until you’re actually in it.

As moms, especially first time moms, we’re all looking for answers. We often want someone to tell us what the right thing to do is. That’s why articles like this can be so dangerous. If it tells you what you’re doing is right, then that’s all the validation some moms need to be all like “Boo-YAH! In yo face!” And then they get all mean and nasty to other moms whose choices don’t match their own because they have Time magazine in their corner. The opposite is also true. If the article tells you what you’re doing is wrong, then some moms will get super defensive, lash out and be just as nasty.

No matter what our values are, what our choices are, we’re all right. We’re all good moms. We have fabulous children who will grow up to be fabulous adults.