I admit that at first glance, the cover of this week’s Time magazine made me uneasy. Maybe it was the look in the 3-year-old’s eye as he uses a step-stool to breastfeed. Or maybe it was the title, “Are you Mom Enough?” that hit the wrong nerve. Or maybe it was the super hot mom in skinny jeans with inexplicably perky breasts for how much nursing she’s been doing.
Whatever the reason, I don’t like it.
But I think what I disliked most of all was that this cover was clearly a ploy by the marketing geniuses at Time to make moms mad. They are cashing in on the mommy wars, plain and simple. In fact, the cover photo and headline are grossly misleading because the article is about an attachment parenting technique championed by Dr. Bill Sears. It is not about what makes you “mom enough” as the cover so sensationally declares.
The folks at Time knew exactly what they were doing. And as predicted, everyone came in perfect cliché form to either applaud or renounce the image of a woman breastfeeding a 3-year-old boy. Some call is voyeurism, others call it a motherhood triumph.
I have to admit, I am uncomfortable when I see older children breastfeeding. But at the same time, I realize it’s not my place to define what is best for a certain child or a mother. I breastfed my babies until they were 14 months old and loved every minute of it. It was one of the best things I ever did for my children and for myself, but it was my choice.
So as I’ve read the reactions to this week’s cover, I’ve been trying to suspend my judgment. I’m even trying to acknowledge that the people over at Time were just doing their jobs. Their job is to sell magazines, so mission accomplished. High fives all around!
But my job is to raise my children. My job is not to compare myself to other mothers who may or may not look fabulous in skinny jeans. Like all mothers, my job is to love the heck out of my children.
Do I love the idea of a 3-year-old breastfeeding? No. But who cares? I don’t have to love it.
What I do love is that this mom on the cover loves her child so much that she is willing to make sacrifices to give her son what she considers the absolute best for him.
If we could all spend less time bickering about the “right” way to mother our children and more time applauding those who are raising children with love and sacrifice, we would probably have more women doing just that.
What do you think of the TIME cover? Are you as sick as I am of the media pitting moms against each other?