I awakened this morning to the news of TIME magazine’s latest issue. As their Mothers Day gift to America they chose to go after parents who choose any parenting style other than that of “children should be seen and not heard”. The purposely-inflaming cover photo of a mother nursing her 3 year old (with him standing on a chair) was set up by the photographer because he thought it would be “edgier” and claimed that children that age don’t sit still easily. I suspect there was a little something extra in it for him if he got tongues a-waggin’. And wagging they are. But for all the wrong reasons.
I’ve been taking a meditation class but even meditation is not helping me to cool down on this one. TIME is claiming there is a battle in motherhood in America. Really?!?! Where have they been for, oh, I don’t know…forever? My oldest is 24 years old. Back then (and time eternal before) if you worked, you felt guilty for not being at home. If you were at home, you felt guilty for not working. If you breastfed, people pushed formula on you. If you formula-fed you were beaten up for not breastfeeding. Shall I go on? The world’s oldest profession is not prostituion, it’s motherhood and guilt is the gift that society hands you as soon as you find out your’re pregnant.
The shameful thing is that TIME had a golden opportunity to open up a real dialog on parenting. Instead, they allowed the “sexier” “hotter” topics of breastfeeding beyond what the AAP recommends as being extreme to become one of the moving tagets. Extremism is the nasty monster under the bed.
Feel the need to hold your baby rather than let him cry? Extreme! Want to eek every moment out of your time with your little one? Extreme! Feeling exhausted because you’re trying to juggle things? Extreme!
And to make matters worse, they hold Dr. William Sears up as the evil mastermind of attachment parenting. He took a beating today that is beyond believable. Let me just say this: attachment is as old as human beings. TIME could have read the whole library wing on this topic but decided to blame the poor pediatrician for something that was never his to begin with.
Parents, ignore the smoke and mirrors that TIME and society are using to alter your sensibilities. Here is the truth: Parenting is unbelievably hard. It’s also unbelievably wonderful. And it would be much easier if editors, writers and the lady standing in line behind you at the market didn’t judge you so hard. But, they will. So the solution is to take a really deep breath and then smile. Because guess what: YOU“RE the parent. Which means this is your child to raise, to learn from, to teach, to cry over, to cherish, to cheer, to break your heart in a thousand and one little ways and then mend it again with one big, sloppy smile. If your persecutors want to step in and do it for you, tell them to come on in at 3 am when everyone except the baby is exhausted and take over. But I can promise you that not a one of them will.
As for me, I’ll not be buying an issue of TIME magazine again. If I want mindless chatter I’ll read something more worthwhile, like PEOPLE magazine.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!! You are doing a great job, whether anyone else acknowledges it or not. And I respect each and every decision you make as the mom. Now go give that sweet baby a hug