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Are We Mom Enough? Babble Voices Tackles the Time Cover

“Are you mom enough?”

It’s a question that could make any unwitting participant in the Mommy Wars raise her shield and hunker down for battle. Tomorrow’s Time magazine cover poses this question, headlining a piece on how the rise of attachment parenting has redefined the way many view the relationship between mother and baby.

Is Time fanning the flames of the media-perpetuated Mommy Wars? Is it better, as parents with platforms like blogs and Twitter and email, to fight back or ignore an unabashedly controversial headline? Babble Voices bloggers weigh in on the cover heard round the stroller circuit:

Stefanie Wilder-Taylor (Baby On Bored: Electric Boogaloo)

Personally, I think that getting up in arms about an article that dares to look at attachment parenting, and how it’s made a lot of moms feel a whole ton of guilt, is self-defeating! Don’t you think that “fighting back” is only perpetuating the idea that we are all constantly fighting? What exactly is this fighting back against?

Katherine Stone (Strollerderby)

I’m actually not even interested in fighting back regarding attachment parenting. I’m interested in fighting back against the media continually attempting to put moms at odds with each other, regardless of the topic. I want them to stop. I want to show a bunch of amazing mothers who say they respect each other’s choices.

Megan Jordan (Threadbare Theory)

That’s exactly what Time wants; they’re stirring the pot. Seriously, to each his own when it comes to parenting styles. At the end of the day, I know mine is the best. ;)

Joel Stein (More Stories About Some Kid)

If you want to get mad at the media, I am the media. Also so are you.

Magda Pecsenye (Moxieville)

This is not about attachment parenting at all. They’re creating drama at the expense of all mothers.

Joanne Bamberger (PunditMom’s Spin Cycle)

As a mom of an adopted daughter who had actual attachment issues (probably because she was abandoned and in an orphanage for a year), I am offended that true attachment issues that many children have end up being ignored or marginalized to sell magazines.

SWT

I’m HAPPY that someone is taking the extreme views to task. We’re all pot stirrers. How can we fault a magazine for discussing it?

Isabel Kallman (Thinking Out Loud)

We are not all pot stirrers. There are ways to discuss issues, and there are ways to sensationalize things.

SWT

When you’re part of the media, any strong opinion you have will stir pots. I’ve experienced it a thousand times. It doesn’t matter if what you say is said in all fairness and only presented as one opinion. People will get pissed! It goes with the territory of discussing big topics like parenting.

Doug French (The Turbid Spume)

Of course, the real blow to Time would be not to react at all.

MJ

Doug, that was my point. I’m torn between giving Time the blank stare and supporting Katherine’s point by writing about the blank stare.

Catherine Connors (Bad Mother Confidential)

For what it’s worth, I think that a broad declaration, from moms and dads, that we ARE enough, is a forceful message, notwithstanding any debate about the Mommy Wars. I’m with Stefanie to the extent that I don’t see a problem with the media — which includes, as Joel says, us — discussing the tensions and pain points of the parenting community. But I do see a problem with the unrelenting cultural glare on moms, demanding that they do better. The “Are You Mom Enough?” question demands, I think, an answer: Hell yes we are, and please stop asking.

Cassandra Barry (More Stories About Some Kid)

Am I the only one here who sees nothing Mommy Wars about this? They are talking about how attachment parenting is the prevailing trend and dissecting what Sears’ views really are and how some of them have been blown out of proportion — I couldn’t agree more.

Alice Bradley (Write Anyway)

Is attachment parenting the prevailing trend? I live in Park Slope, and even here it seems like the fervent AP-ers are, well, at least not the majority. But maybe I’m out of the loop. My kid is nine, and have you ever tried to nurse a nine-year-old? They put up a fight, I’ll tell you what.

I feel like I’m missing something with this cover and all the anger surrounding it. It reads tongue-in-cheek to me. My problem with AP is that Dr. Sears always made me feel like I wasn’t “mom enough.” But that’s just me, with my faulty boobs and inability to co-sleep.

Kelly Wickham (Mocha Momma Has Something to Say)

The title alone — “Are You Mom Enough” — is plenty to start a war. Questioning mothering, NOT parenting, is clearly bait. So is this patriarchal “some male doctor knows best, you silly, stupid moms” juxtaposition. I don’t even care about that topic. The first person who questions my parenting gets a swift kick in the teeth. I’m not down for one more contrived guilt trip.

Mr. Lady (Cucumbersome)

Alice, it’s not just you. My boobs worked just fine and I co-slept, though only out of sheer laziness, and I just called it sleeping. I still couldn’t go near anything Dr. Sears had to say without feeling like an utter failure.

It wasn’t until I started ignoring what other people thought I should do with my kid that I realized that I was doing exactly what I should be doing with my kid: Raising him, by any means necessary.

Alison Kramer (That’s My Bestie)

I practice what would be called attachment parenting, pretty much in its purest form. For me it was not demanding work, rather, it was perfectly in line with what my heart and body ached for with my children — and I live a privileged enough existence where I was able to choose it.

In no way do I believe it is right for everyone. Motherhood is a relationship defined by the two unique parties within it, like any other. I’m anti-war, particularly Mommy War.

Asha Dornfest (The Accidental Expert)

Let’s imagine the reaction if the cover said, “Are you man enough?” Yes, this is Mommy Warmongering, even if the content of the article is more about attachment parenting than it is about moms fighting one another. It’s taking advantage of a vulnerable spot to incite reaction and sell magazines.

Tanis Miller (Hogwash From a Hoser)

The only thing I thought when I saw the cover art for Time was wow, I wish my boobs were that perky after breastfeeding. And then I wondered if they had to Photoshop out any boob whiskers.

SWT

Yes, the article’s headline is not Time‘s opinion, obviously, it’s saying that this is the prevailing attitude of extremists in AP camp. We have all experienced the “only my way is right” and the “are you woman enough to breastfeed” mentality. I don’t know why people are so enraged.

AB

I think if there were a cover story titled “Are You Man Enough?” there would be zero outrage. Who would get worked up over that?

And when I was 26, my boobs were up by my neck. Thank god they’re more manageable now!

SWT

Is anyone here acknowledging that Time isn’t asking us if we’re “woman enough”? They are saying that the extreme end of the AP movement is asking us that. Don’t you think that’s important? I am so on board with Time on this one. Maybe they’ll hire me! Also, I love to pot stir. I have a talent for it even when I don’t mean to.

Ana Flores (Besos)

I detest Dr. Sears and the unfair expectations put on motherhood even more.

When I had my girl, I had no village to support me and my husband. Thankfully, I could take the time off from work to live my dream of being an ultra-attached mom. I read every single word in his book. Then I started feeling like a failure because nothing was as it “should” have been. This “guru” had failed me, and I had no one else to really guide me. Until I guided myself.

KW

I got pregnant at 14 and have successfully raised three children into adulthood, and not once did I give a crap what Dr. Sears or anyone else said about parenting. Because when you’re doing it to survive, it’s a privilege to be so self-aware as to feel the need to tell people, “I’m an attachment parent.” I’m Kelly and I’m mom enough and no one else gets to say I’m not.

*drops mic*

AD

I’m not interested in boycotting Time or forming a picket line. I’m interested in calling a large media brand on its tactics and generating worthwhile discussion around it. I want there to be an intelligent, inclusive response to this. I want the result not to be an outcry against Time, but an outcry of support and solidarity among parents.

Meagan Francis (At Home with the Happiest Mom)

I think attachment parenting was a nice idea until it felt into the hands of parents with something to prove. I have practiced many “attachment parenting” tenets, but I am not “an attachment parent.” I don’t like labels, as a rule. And I breastfed all of my kids until an average of two years, mostly because weaning is hard and I’m kind of a wimp.

I include Dr. Sears in the “parents with something to prove” group, btw. But I hope it’s not mom-bashing to point out that mothers have been instrumental in turning AP into something of a religion.

SWT

If so many of you are opposed to the extreme views of AP, then why are you upset with a magazine for shining a light on it? I really don’t understand! I loved the article. I hope it does sell a lot of magazines. I want people to become more aware of how extreme it’s getting out there. That will go a long way towards moms having more tolerance for other moms.

MF

I haven’t read the article yet, so I’m withholding judgment about it. I guess my issue with the cover/title, on first glance, is that it makes this particular mother and her parenting choices seem extreme. A lot of people won’t read the article, but will just talk about that crazy mom who’s breastfeeding the boy standing next to her. Then they will, by default, label all moms who breastfeed past a certain age extreme and crazy.

CB

Agreed!!! I kind of touched on this idea with my “Hippie Mom Superiority Complex” post. I should have just called it “AP superiority complex.”

Also, I want to say that while a lot of the response here seems to be “Time is inciting the Mommy Wars,” I see it as the opposite. They are showing the roots of AP and the man behind it, and the ways in which it wasn’t meant to get so extreme.

JB

This is why this is allpart of a cultural guilt trip — the whole underlying theory on attachment is bonding. Pop culture’s implying that if you don’t practice what has come to be known as “attachment parenting,” that you don’t care about your kids.

Shawn Burns (Parenting Off the Map)

Watching this Mommy War/parenting clusterflock is like watching hippies selling dream catchers to Indians and telling them how much better their lives would be if they stopped drinking themselves to sleep every night.

Accepting that a conversation is privileged doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have it, but noting how rarefied the air is up here might help us take shallower breaths.

Jane Roper (Baby Squared)

Right there with you, Shawn, but I think I side with Stefanie on this one. Having read the article more carefully, I see it not so much as bait, but as discussion of the origins of AP and why it has become polarizing. I also think that we’re all waaaaay more aware of this issue than the average person. I wonder what people who aren’t even aware of the whole Mommy Wars thing will take away from the piece.

JB

Shawn, agreed! This ends up being more about class warfare because, really, how many moms have the time we all just took to express our various views? Most of them are too busy to worry about anybody else, because they’re just trying to put food on the table and pay the rent.

MP

While we were all talking about whether to talk about it, I told Time to shut up on my personal blog. I did attachment parenting because it’s what my mom did with me back in 1973, and it worked out for us. Now I’m going to go research a Mom Lift because I’ve been thinking about the previous perkiness of my boobs.

Sarah Braesch (That’s Right. You Heard Me.)

I’m home with a sick kid. I am missing an Orioles game for this. If that isn’t mom enough, I don’t know what is.

MORE ON BABBLE:

Decoding the messages on Time magazine’s breastfeeding cover
It’s Time to stop fighting the mommy wars
The voices missing from the mommy wars — and why it’s important to include them

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