You might have seen it by now.
You might have even seen it before it came out, like I did.
Time Magazine, in an apparent celebration of Mother’s Day, published the following issue on Friday:
“Are You Mom Enough?”
The title immediately infuriated me. The challenging, smug look on her face, the nannie-nannie boo-boo (no pun intended) expression on the half of his face that we can see…I was shocked and horrified.
…And I was immediately heartbroken for all of the mothers that would have their open wounds of Mommy Guilt seared with the acidic poison of this blaring statement.
Let me first beg you to believe that this concept is a fallacy.
Motherhood is not about achieving some nirvana of Completely Self-Sacrificial Devotion to your children. Motherhood is already one of the most self-sacrificing acts of the human race as it is, without turning it into some Extreme Sports Competition of who can do it the hardest, most impressive way.
Whether we’re breastfeeding our soccer-aged son on the cover of a magazine or not, we’re ALL working with agonizing intensity to do what is best for our children.
Motherhood is about bringing your child up in the way HE should go, not in the way anyone else tells you it should be done.
Whether that’s breastfeeding until they’re three, not breastfeeding at all, letting them sleep in a crib, letting them sleep with you, or a myriad of other parenting decisions.
I read the article and all of it’s associated supplements, and surprisingly enough, none of it was offensive.
It was a biography of Dr. Sears, the founder of attachment parenting. The author interviewed he and his wife, talked about their own upbringing and experiences that influenced their ideas, and then poked holes in many of his theories, as well as a bit of fun at some of his more extreme ideas.
The article actually leaned in the opposite direction of the cover.
But here’s the thing. The cover, which is all that most Moms will ever see, tells a story of harsh, classist, guilt-ridden judgment that almost none of us are doing enough for our children.
And, thanks to the virility of this photo on the internet, there are going to be a lot of Moms barraged with the image this weekend, on a weekend that is supposed to be in celebration of Moms, and in appreciation of Moms.
Did Time Magazine think about the pain and heartache that a statement like this could inflict?
Did they think about how it would make Moms feel that physically couldn’t nurse their babies?
Did they think about how it degraded women who couldn’t get pregnant? Or who were on the heartbreakingly intense roller coaster of fertility treatments?
We are hard enough on ourselves.
We are hard enough on each other.
We do not need the national media perpetuating our already existing Mommy Guilt – guilt that constantly hounds us, screaming in our ear that if we don’t do it a certain way, then we must love our kids less, and we will end up with detached drug-dealing seven-year-olds, and we ourselves will grow old lamenting our poor parenting job.
So here’s my plea.
Please remember this weekend that you ARE Mom enough. That God has equipped YOU to raise your specific children, and that He has given YOU the instincts to know what is best for your child.
Listen to God, listen to yourself, listen to your husband, and take everything else with a grain of salt. Or maybe a pound.
Dr. Sears, your friends, and your family might have good advice, but in the end, you and your husband are the only ones equipped to make the best decisions for your family.
Again I plea, let’s Coexist. And that includes you, Time Magazine.
Happy Mother’s Day, Ladies.
You ARE Mom Enough.