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It's TIME To Stop Fighting the Mommy Wars

By Katherine Stone |

mommy wars

Are we mom enough?! Huh?

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?” HeartTightening. 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.

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It's TIME To Stop Fighting the Mommy Wars

Catherine Connors | Her Bad Mother

"No mother should ever question, even for a minute, whether she is 'mom enough.' Regardless of whether or not she co-slept, breast-fed, organic-fed, cloth-diapered, baby-wore, WHATEVER - she is enough. If she loves her children, makes her children laugh, keeps her children warm, ensures that her children feel loved and cared for - she is enough. We are all enough. More than enough. We're moms."
Find Catherine at Bad Mother Confidential

More on Babble

About Katherine Stone

katherinestone

Katherine Stone

Katherine Stone is the founder of the most widely-read blog in the world on postpartum depression, Postpartum Progress. She writes about parenting and maternal child health on Babble Voices and Babble Cares, as well as at Huffington Post Parents. Katherine is a mom of two and lives in Atlanta. Follow her on Twitter at @postpartumprog. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katherine's latest posts →

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40 thoughts on “It's TIME To Stop Fighting the Mommy Wars

  1. Diana says:

    Love this! Thank you!

  2. Cindy Reed says:

    I have said it before and, apparently, I’ll have to say it OVER AND OVER. I am NOT AT WAR with ANY OTHER MOTHER. Unless they are trying to get the last Saturday swimming lesson slot. Then I might pull out my weapons. Great post, Katherine. Happy Mother’s Day, indeed. To ALL of us.

  3. Kacia says:

    Everyone said it so well, but Morgan’s last sentence: “I am more than enough” really struck a chord. A BEAUTIFUL chord.

    I’m so tired of this argument + the judging. Thanks for posting this, Katherine!

  4. Nicole says:

    I actually cancelled my subscription with Time. They have been presenting poor journalism for some time, and this cover story was the tip that sent it over. I refuse to continue to buy something that would go this far to sell magazines. They had an opportunity to project breastfeeding and parenting styles in a bright positive light, but instead wanted to sensationalize a controversial topic (only in this country though).

  5. Ashley B says:

    This made me cry – a perfect response to a terrible article. Inspiring!

  6. Lorette Lavine says:

    Well said Katherine…mothers should not be subjected to this sensationalism from a news magazine like TIME or any for that matter.
    I agree that this was a poor choice but to couple it with Mother’s Day is particularly offensive but it will churn up a storm that is for sure. Maybe we should
    just buy up the copies and have a bonfire with them on Mother’s Day!

  7. casey says:

    This does not display breastfeeding in a positive light. And the title,talk about trying to pit moms against each other. I would be all for it had they taken the opportunity to present it positively and trying to start controversy. I breastfed my daughter til over 2 so I’m all for extended nursing but I did catch a little flack for it and presenting it like this is supposed to help? I think not!

  8. Morgan (The818) says:

    YES. Love bomb is the perfect way to describe this. And you, really. Great response.

  9. Mandie says:

    Well said and thank you. I have been sitting here on my laptop for an hour or two just fuming over that horrible cover. Picking apart my almost 3 y/o’s life thinking what can I do better with #2 who is due in July. Well I’m done instead I am going to go play with my son and give him extra hugs and kisses and just breathe in the knowledge that my son loves me and I’m more than enough Mom for him. Thanks for the well written article!!!

  10. Karen says:

    I think we would all benefit to reading this little slice of brilliance on Rachel Simmon’s blog today: http://www.rachelsimmons.com/2012/05/mommy-vortex-ode-to-moms/

    by Rosemarie Copeland-Baldwin. I hope it’s ok that I’m doing that. It’s not my link, but she nails it.

  11. Ashley says:

    “You are enough.” *cue me to start blubbering like a baby* (pun intended)

  12. Shannah says:

    Thank you! I have very similar feelings, the most important part of parenting is loving your child(Ren) and we should be supporting each other instead of getting all wound up about details and tearing each other down. This is another peice that makes me feel supported. <3

  13. Vicky says:

    I agree whole-heartedly with Morgan and Deb! I am more than enough. We do what we need to and what we can and that is enough. The kids are alright. Well said everyone!

  14. Tragic Sandwich says:

    What a needlessly divisive and judgmental headline. We are all “mom enough,” no matter what parenting philosophy we follow.

  15. Kathy says:

    Agreed. Let’s stand together. Not against each other.

  16. Alicia says:

    I stand beside and support any fellow mom who is doing her best for her children whether I do the same things or not. The only time I’m at war with another mom is if they’re hurting their child or trying to hurt mine.

  17. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom) says:

    Thank you Catherine!

    I’m standing in applause.

    This is what I just wrote on our Facebook page about your post…

    “This post from by Catherine Conners Strollerderby: News for Parents is the ONLY story you need to read about the ridiculous Time cover story.
    (NOTE: I selected NO Thumbnail on this post b/c I am SICK of seeing this obnoxious photo that is manipulative and intended to sell magazines and spark fights.)
    ~Susan”

  18. CheleChestnut says:

    AMEN! And just a side note, I hate the saying Mommy Wars! Also, the fact that we need to support in each others decisions in parenting. Completely agree however some Mom’s have no choice, it’s medical reasons they cannot do what is on that cover. I’m one of them and this whole thing just brings tears. I just wish people would understand that instead of finger pointing b/c that is exactly what they are looking for!

  19. Survivor says:

    Not all types of parenting are good – I grew up in a narcissistic family and years later I still struggle with all the damage they have done to me, need therapy.

    1. carolyncastiglia says:

      I’m in therapy – don’t wait another day! Best decision I ever made.

  20. Tragic Sandwich says:

    This headline keeps making me angry, because too many of us question ourselves too often as it is. Time Magazine doesn’t matter. What Time Magazine thinks of motherhood doesn’t matter. What does matter? http://tragicsandwich.com/2012/04/24/listen-to-the-people-who-matter/

  21. Ronit Kfir says:

    ” What the story is about almost doesn’t even matter.”??
    What type of argument are you raising if you don’t refer to the CONTENT?
    You can’t seriously be that naive to not know that headlines and covers are meant to make you open the issue and READ. I think this is a provocative and GREAT title and cover, and it has made me very curious to read it. I think it is highly unprofessional of you, as a journalist, to refer only to the cover, and judge it.
    How would you feel if someone attacked your article only by its title and photo, without reading it?
    And as for the question – i love the reference to “are you MAN enough” – i think this is totally genious – as women have now addopted the masculine competition to this field – and are constantly competing who is the best mom, trying so hard to show the world they are “winning it all”. Motherhood became a badge one wears and flaunts, and I completely hate it.
    The best example i can give you is from here (Israel) where lately there’s a necklace that’s been popular in Suburbia – with little boy and girl icons. You wear it with your kids’ icons, and it “tells” how “successful” you are as a mom (or as a person? or a woman?). I have never seen anyone with “only” 2 kids wear it, unless she is “on her way” to the third (having less than 3 kids in Israel is not something you flaunt). I always look at this as the way pilots used to mark their planes – making motherhood something public that you have to show , and find it totally tasteless. This is, for me, an example of “are you mom enough” played very subtly.

  22. May says:

    Amen. You summed up my thoughts on this irritating cover exactly.

  23. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom) says:

    Woops…

    I’m so sorry Katherine…

    I mistakenly saw Catherine Connors image in the slider and thought the post was written by her.

    Brilliant post Katherine… thank YOU!

  24. Erika K says:

    Could there be a more divisive self-worth-sucking question than the one on that cover? “Mom enough?”

    A very simple “Mom” says all that needs to be said. The way they use “enough” as a qualifier cheapens the most beautiful job in the world.

    Stupid magazine.

  25. Of course I read the article Ronit. My piece, and the words of all those who participated, address the problem many people have with the title of the article, meant to make us all question whether we ARE in fact mom enough. I’m not commenting on the article itself, about attachment parenting, because that’s what they want us to do. They want us to start arguing about the way we raise our children. Not going to do it.

  26. Martha says:

    Love it. Thank you for recasting the discussion … and happy Mother’s Day to you too!

  27. Michelle Grzenia says:

    Thank you! I know that I do not want to be in any kind of mommy wars with any other mother. We may not make the same choices with how we choose to raise our children but that doesn’t make any of us better than the rest. There is no such thing as one right way to raise a child. I am tired of the judgments and arguing amongst moms. I am happily bringing my child up the way I feel is most beneficial to him and I certainly know that I do not need to have other moms breathing down my neck, pointing fingers at me. I applaud the stand that you have chosen to take. Early Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there.

  28. Renee says:

    Well said! Thank you!

  29. Lala Mama says:

    <3 you and your post. I'm so freakin sick and tired of these Mommy Wars. What is this holier-than-thou attitude that people are taking about parenting??? This is very sad.

    I agree, we should be trying to support each other not cut each other down.

  30. ruth says:

    As mother and a postpatum doula for 20 years in NYC with a rich diversity of women i care for I can say first hand mothers/women feel the same way you do, it’s truly an invention of media to have women at “war”.

  31. Lindsay says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I am cancelling my subscription to TIME right now because I am not going to fan the flame they are trying to light. I am mom enough and you can be damn sure my children recognize that – I don’t need any other mother to recognize it for them. The issue here is that I am not going to cut down another mother for her choices in raising her children. What works for her might not work for me, but it’s HER CHOICE.

  32. Jessica says:

    Man am I glad you took the time to write this, K.

    Thank you.

  33. Cassie says:

    Nothin more to be said :)

  34. Liza (Mama Jabber) says:

    I agree. I don’t want to participate on the battlefield. Parenting comes from a place of love, not of adversity. Time magazine has clearly forgotten that.

  35. InBabyAttachMode says:

    Good post! This is my take on the subject: http://babyattachmode.blogspot.com/2012/05/parenting-for-lazy-people.html

  36. Angela says:

    Perfect! Thank you for this. All moms who love their children and are giving parenthood their best are enough!

  37. Linda, T.O.O. says:

    @INBABYATTACHMODE, that was excellent and so true. I did so much of that stuff due to being lazy and cheap.

  38. Ashley - Embracing Beauty says:

    I LOVE, love, love this post. I completely agree! We need to focus on what’s really important. I wrote what I HOPE was a “gentle” response to the controversy here: http://embracingbeauty.com/2012/05/13/are-you-mom-enough-mommy-wars-controversy/

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