Time magazine cover sparks parenting feud
Published: Monday, May 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 28, 2012 13:05
Recently, Time magazine’s cover that depicted a young mother breastfeeding an almost 4-year-old boy has generated quite a bit of talk. The article within illustrates the teachings of Dr. William Sears from his bestseller, The Baby Book. The idea of attachment parenting is exactly as it sounds. Breastfeeding into toddlerhood and beyond is only part of it. These mothers don’t use strollers; the baby is either carried in her arms or strapped to her in a sling. Allowing the baby to cry does not happen. The child must be attended to at every whimper and mollified with coddling and cooing. The child will sleep with the mother every night, including naps. If Dad wants to get frisky, that’s just too bad for him. Baby comes first in all things. The child even has priority over the parents’ relationship. And yes, breastfeeding, in some cases, has been known to go on until a child’s sixth year.
This type of behavior not only puts an unnecessary strain on the marriage but also stunts a child’s ability to develop the real-world skills that he or she will need in the future.
And who wouldn’t be bothered by the caption accompanying the Time cover, “Are You Mom Enough?” So, if you never leave your child’s side, if you don’t neglect yourself and your marriage, are you not a good mother? Why are single, independent and childless women so stigmatized in this society? I thought we were past the days where becoming a wife and mother was the prime cause of womanhood. Our gender roles have evolved to the point that we now have the freedom to be who we want to be. I don’t want to be a wife, and I don’t want to be a mother, for many reasons. I am not ashamed of this, and I am not defective. These views also do not cause me to look down on women who choose to be mothers as the fundamental element of their lives and happiness. With Time asking mothers if they are mom enough, they are pitting mothers against mothers and women against women. This should not be a competition. We have come too far in the solidarity of sisterhood to be brought down by something as silly as “my mom is better than your mom.” Don’t forget that it was a man who pioneered this movement. Just as we don’t want the government in our uteri, men have no place in telling us how we should and should not raise our children.
I have heard from the mother who claims to have raised three healthy, independent children, and I have heard from the mother who raised an aloof, tattooed misfit – both attachment mothers. It is undeniable that there are immense benefits that come from breastfeeding – essential nutrients and bonding, and it’s cheaper than formula.
However, no matter what, your child will eventually have to go out and make his own way, and you cannot be there every minute of every day for his adult life. If you do not teach the child independence at an early age, he will not develop the skills essential to be successful in the real world. It might sound harsh, but if you want to teach your little birdie to fly, you’re going to have to push him out of the nest.