I love mothers. I love motherhood (and also apple pie, but not baseball). For whatever reason, my life is centered around mothering, whether as the mother of two children, an advocate for women with depression related to pregnancy and childbirth, or a writer here at Babble.
My mother was unwell after I was born. She became a severe alcoholic, I believe mainly to self-medicate for an undiagnosed postpartum depression. I have a deep and painful understanding of the significance mothers play in people’s lives, and of the unfillable hole that is sometimes left when something happens to prevent or sever the links between mother and child. I also am grateful to know, as mother to my two happy, silly children, what invaluable, magical stuff those bonds can be, no matter what parenting style was used to form them.
Given my life’s history, one of my central beliefs is that we should hold mothers up. Encourage them. Let them know that they are the exact right mother for their children, and connect them to whatever tools and support they need to do the best job they can. This is why, when I see us arguing about methods of parenting, my heart hurts. That sounds dorky, I realize, and completely cliche, but I really do get a tightness in the center of my chest.
Tomorrow, just two days before Mother’s Day, TIME magazine will publish a cover story entitled, “Are You Mom Enough?” Heart. Tightening. The timing of the story, the inflammatory headline on the cover and the art-directed photo meant to titillate that accompanies it, are all part of a very purposeful strategy to divide parents and sell issues. What the story is about almost doesn’t even matter. What really matters is pitting people against each other and being sensationalist and poking at the walking bundles of raw nerves that are parents. I felt an immediate urge to fight against it, so I reached out to parents in the Babble blogging community asking for their response to the piece.
Many said they didn’t want to respond. They don’t want to play the game, fan the flames, sell more copies of the sensational story. Don’t react at all. I said I wanted to battle back against the media’s portrayals of the mommy wars, and one responded, “You are the media.” Touche. How do we talk about these things without spreading around the initial story that gets people arguing again? Are we ourselves guilty of doing the same thing sometimes? Should we even fight back at all? After all, my own mother always taught me that when you are in a tug-of-war with someone, if you drop the rope they’ll be the ones who fall down.
I agree we probably shouldn’t get all huffed up and surly. Kill them with kindness and all that. Instead, can we just say HELL YES we are enough?! Can we stand together in support of each other and the fact that all sorts of parenting choices lead to the same end, which is love? Instead of reading those other words, words that were designed to raise up the hackles in all of us, we’d like you to read these. Here’s a love bomb from Babble for all of you moms out there on this Mother’s Day weekend. You are enough. We are sure of it.