Yesterday Time Magazine released the cover of their current issue. The contents were still not available but the cover showed a picture of 26 year old Jamie Lynne Grumet looking defiantly at the camera while her almost-4-year-old son stands on a chair to breastfeed. The provocative headline reads “Are You Mom Enough?” And the side text works to pit attachment parenting against more mainstream mothering as well as “the French rejection” (which is a veiled reference to Élisabeth Badinter’s Le conflit).
I cringed when I saw it. What does it mean to be mom enough? What benefit will it serve to position mothers against each other in some kind of machismo mommy-eat-mommy duel? I have a deeply feminist heart and my desire is always (always!) to support other women and especially other mothers. I work to stand behind those women who parent in ways that reflect my own style and those who parent in ways that are completely contradictory to my own way of thinking.
I have developed a parenting style that reflects what is in the deepest part of my heart. And for me that has included co-sleeping, (breast) feeding on demand, and pleasant night-time parenting. However, I will fight with all of my mama-bear ferociousness for other moms to practice crying-it-out, formula feeding (whether by choice or necessity), and crib sleeping without judgement. I will do that because other moms are my community. It is in their company that I am building my home. And it is by their side, as they exist in both my physical and online communities, that I have found my village.
So when I saw the Time Magazine cover, with it’s attempt to fan the dying flames of the supposed mommy wars, I felt an instant need to protect our community just as I would if a predator was attacking my home. My instinct was to bolt the doors and close the shades. We aren’t home Time Magazine. Please peddle your ineffective inflammation elsewhere.
And you know what happened? I wasn’t alone. Instead of jumping on the my-parenting-is-better-than-your-parenting bandwagon and dividing our community into waring sides, moms (celebrity moms, blogging moms, working moms and stay at home moms) instead focused their critique on the media’s representation of the supposed battle.
We, all of us moms, those who serve their children organic kale chips and those who open cans of Zoodles, stood as hostages for only a brief moment. Like contestants in the Hunger Games we were being asked to fight against one another for the enjoyment of those overseeing our struggle. But like Katniss, Peeta, Finnick, and Johanna, we instead banded together and refused to play the game. Moms who would never consider extended breastfeeding took to the internet to defend those moms who are still nursing happy toddlers. And, in turn, those extended nursers raised their keyboards to fight for the rights of non-nursing moms to feed their children without shame or fear of judgement.
Our village stood united. And for that I thank-you my Mamas-in-Arms. With this kind of solidarity and support I think that we can resist the conflict that serves only to divide and conquer us. Today we were a fierce bunch of warriors. And I think that the odds are ever in our favour.
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