Thank you Time Life   8 comments

…. that is said both with gratitude and some sarcasm.

The cover has stirred up all sorts of issues. I feel like Time was trying to encourage this “Mommy war” that the media is always talking about.  A lot of moms buy into the Mommy Wars which is evidenced by the comments regarding the cover, not even the whole article. Comments about how extended breastfeeding is sick and child abuse. Others say the picture is pornographic and that the woman is damaging her son, who incidentally is only three. I feel Time chose a very mature looking three year old to make it looks even more extreme.

I would guarantee that the women making those negative comments have not done ANY research concerning the long term benefits of extended breastfeeding. There certainly is a lot of it.  LA still nurses at 20 months. For us this works. In my mind I have that we will start weaning around two years old… we are just about to start night weaning. For many of my friends this is way too late for their comfort level. For others I know this is too soon. But this is what works for us and it is, frankly, no one else’s business.

Many of my friends have told horror stories about friends and family bullying them to stop nursing, as early as 6 months. They push formula or mock them, they tell them they will spoil their child etc. I suppose I am lucky to have friends and family who have not done this to me. Although I have a friend who says I’m just so outspoken that if someone tried that I’d just dump a load of information on them to shut them up… this too is possible.

I do have one friend who messages me about every other month to ask if I’m still breastfeeding. There is no chatty email that this comes up in conversation. I’ll simply get an email that says “Are you still breastfeeding?” I’ll write back, “How are you? blah blah blah… yes we are. Things are going well.” I will get a reply that ignores all my pleasantries and says, “When are you planning on stopping?” It just makes me laugh although I’m aware she is expressing some sort of morbid curiosity or disapproval.

I suppose if I think about if I’ve received some disapproval of the fact that LA slept in our room until she was 1. I know a couple people who made negative comments that we didn’t sleep train or that I still fed her at night for comfort. But most of my friends respect my decisions, or at least keep harsh opinions to themselves. I don’t mind opinions or questions… just the ones aimed at making me feel bad.  And some of the negative comments I’ve received have been both sides… for example some of my parents who co sleep made negative comments that we did not and those that did cribs from day one were not approving of how we kept her in our room. I definitely received some comments from people regarding our decision for LA to be born in a birth center. Two that stand out are “Babies were meant to be born in a hospital” (which made me laugh because they only have been born in hospitals for the last 90 years, before that hospitals were pretty much where you went to die) and “Are you trying to prove something?”
You can’t please everyone… and that’s fine.

Even before this cover came out I was going to write a post about all these different labels we have for mamas- Tiger Mothers, French Mothers, Attachment Parenting, Disciplinarian, Baby Whispering… I’m sure there are others. Why do we have to label each other? I doubt anyone is 100% any one type.

I would say I ascribe to many Attachment parenting philosophies but after reading an article on French mothering I do many things, especially in regard to discipline, that they do… but again not all. When we label we have to pick. And when we pick one it seems none of us are mature enough to stop putting the others down. And there are things I do that aren’t any particular “thing” that I’m aware of.

Parenting is unique. No two sets of parents will ever do the exact same thing, even if they ascribe to the same parenting style. There are many types of parenting styles. All of this will combine into various type of people… which is the point. None of us are the same. We are all different but different doesn’t mean that one way is necessarily better. It may be better for one mom, but totally wrong for another.  Unless abuse or neglect is going on and the parent has made the decision out of love and the best interest of their child (rather than intimidation, ignorance or coercion) there is no wrong decision!

For example, I know one mom who told me that she “couldn’t handle” her child getting up once or twice a night to feed still at a year like LA did. But her child got up at 6 am every morning, something I personally couldn’t handle. I far preferred getting up once or twice for 10 minutes a piece with the exchange of sleeping until 8 or 9 every morning. It’s all about what works for each individual family.

It’s not to say we don’t judge ever. We make our parenting decisions because we feel they are the right ones, so we have our reasons why we think the alternatives are not as good. And it’s natural to be defensive of what we are doing… because we are all doing our best. But we can keep in mind that other parents are doing their best too. And we can make choices about how we treat others. Even when I strongly disagree with what someone else does I remind myself “I will do my best not to make another parent feel bad about their parenting decisions.”

Because there are other factors in every family and what works for one does not work for another.

The only complaint I have about many parents I meet is educating themselves. I do tend to be hard on parents (and I should not be but I’m working on that) who do not educate themselves before making parenting decisions. I suppose also I’m hard on parents who know the benefits but don’t care because of convenience or other small things… but I suppose that goes back to what I said that no decision made from love can be wrong.

And as I said before I thank Time for making this a topic of conversation. Because when a topic becomes conversation usually some level of education is achieved. Based on what I’ve read of the article, the title and the picture I feel they were trying to sensationalize Attatchment parenting… the stranger it looks the better for their sales. I can only hope some mothers will read the article and takes what works for them and leaves the rest.

I’m annoyed with Time because I feel the whole idea of encouraging Mommy wars, especially the idea of “Are you mom enough?” is trying to pit us against each other. I’m about to post a blog post concerning recent ratings of the US in regards to womens health issues. If they keep us fighting each other we will never turn around and fight to improve things for ourselves and our children…. which is what we should be doing!

A friend of mine recently posted the following quote on her page. I don’t know where it comes from but I think it is perfect…

“Motherhood is — should be — a village, where we explore each other’s choices, learn from them, respect them, and then go off and make our own.” 

I wish we could all remember this….

 

 

 

 

 

Total side note… when I went on Pinterest to find the “Are you mom enough” response I had to search for it. A ton of pins of the original cover came up… most of the comments were “Wtf” “What is wrong with this woman?” and “Someone should go get that child a glass of real milk.” The last is my favorite because she clearly doesn’t know that mothers milk is far more nutritious than cows milk.

Personally I’m aiming to have LA weaned around 2 because that is where I am comfortable. To be totally honest the idea of nursing a child who could be in pre school or kindergarten makes me very uncomfortable. But that is my issue and my feelings and I wouldn’t impose them on anyone… and I wouldn’t make horrible comments on pictures judging that mom. I don’t do formula, and while I realize it has a purpose and is a blessing for women who need it I do not like that some women just choose it, not out of necessity, but because they want to keep perky breasts or can’t be bothered etc… however I don’t make nasty comments on pictures of children eating it from bottles. Even though I don’t feel it’s the best choice I leave that mother to parent her own child and am infinitely glad that the child is being fed and loved… even if it’s not how I would do it.

And that’s my point… it may not be how we would do it but it’s love and care and that is what counts!

PS Moments after posting this I saw this great article about how breastfeeding to 3 and above is anthropologically beneficial… and how in most of the world, the US excluded, it is the norm.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-05-11/breastfeeding-rates/54909940/1

Advertisements

8 responses to “Thank you Time Life

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I love this! You are so mature and well-balanced in this very thoughtful post. I’m too angry to write one at all. I believe the same – that parenting decisions made with love and knowledge are rarely wrong. Personally, I nursed both of my children until 2-ish, because that’s what worked for us. With this whole debate going on, I googled “breastfeeding” wanting to see what the current recommendations are (my children are 10 & 15 now, so it’s been awhile) and was pleased to see that the WHO recommends breastfeeding until 2 1/2 years (via Wikipedia). You’ve written an awesome post! Thank you!!

    • Yes! I’m about to write a post about the WHO stats that came out recently and how poorly women and children ranked.
      What’s funny about this debate is it’s not about the facts or the recommendations it’s about competition and judgement and people being uncomfortable with things that are different. But different isn’t bad… sometimes it’s good.
      I mean 60 years ago moms were advised to have a drink or a cigarette to relax… now we know how bad that is. It would have been different back then to abstain! Funny how things change!

      Thank you… I really just wanted to address some of the issues. There is so much Mommy judging and (most of us) are just out here doing our best! We want to be right… but the truth is that there are many good paths to happy, healthy, well adjusted children!

  2. Well said!! We should be lifting each other up, not tearing each other down. You are totally right. Why anyone has an opinion on someone else’s personal business always baffles me.

  3. I have to say, after yesterday, I’m a bit raw on the topic of parental judging. Frankly, I am uncomfortable looking at that picture. Breastfeeding in general is not something I look forward to witnessing, but I just avert my eyes, simple as that, problem solved. Just my personal prudeness, which is ironic considering I breastfed my kids. Am I going to verbalize my discomfort to a fellow breastfeeding mom? HELL! NO! Why can’t these people shut their mouths and mind their own goddamned business or spend their time hunting down pedophiles and drug dealers who hang around middle schools and watching THEM like hawks. Geesh. And if they can’t have the prudence to do that, find away to approach the unsuspecting mama from a position of OFFERING ASSISTANCE rather than full-on defensive attack mode. You attract more bees with HONEY, for pete’s sake!

    • I definitely thought of you when I was preparing to post this today… because I knew you felt judged (even though those that know you and love you are not). I thought it was so beautiful how you were able to appreciate what that woman was doing… I think I would have just been angry and defensive.
      But you are totally right… I’m proud of breastfeeding and I know I have the right to not cover up, but I simply am more comfortable covering myself or being discreet. I’ve seen older women (especially) give me looks that I’m doing it at all… in public (gasp!)… even though I’m very covered.
      I have other friends who might be offended by the fact that I feel more comfortable being covered at all!
      People should just let things that don’t concern them go… and like you said if they honestly have a concern or question offer help and advice rather than attacks!

  4. 1. About the Pic – It’s outrageous. I also saw her interview where she said they don’t BF like that at home. And the photog wanted to do ”artistic” poses and TIME chose the controversial pose. She should have known. Of course they would spin it this way they want people to buy their magazine!
    2. The Slogan – I HATE IT! Are you mom enough? YES totally trying to cause a Mommy War. It’s awful. Obviously a MAN came up with it haha!
    3. Breastfeeding – I loved that I could do it. Some can’t. Some have troubles (like I did and had to express the milk and serve it in a bottle), Some choose formula but that’s fine too. In my book if you are loving and caring for your child there is no reason to judge. Some people are just grossed out by it and their mind won’t change.
    4. Extended BF’ing – If I could have kept going I would have gone till 1 year…max would have been 2. After they speak full sentences I just wouldn’t be able to do it any longer. I have a friend who’s oldest will be 3 in August and she still BF’s him as well as her 5 month old baby! I don’t know how she feeds them both. And according to FB (she made a comment about TIME she actually loved the article) that she intends to keep going until he wants to stop. She says he is leaning towards weening already naturally. For me it’s a bit odd over the age of 2. I def would not like to see that in public. I know in FL there are laws for BF’ing in public. I am not sure about here in France. It is encouraged here as well and more natural. But I don’t think many do extended nor past 1 year.
    5. Mommy Wars – Ughhhh I am so tired of them. I am a member of an online private forum for english speaking mamas here in Paris….and it’s a constant battle. The big thing now is BLW vs Purees, Potty Training 1 week method vs. when they are ready (this is what I did), CIO, Circumcisions, Baby Whispering, Co-Sleeping….oh and all of this attachment parenting. I for one am just fed up reading about all this stuff.

    I love Little Miss being in this Baby Stage but really can’t wait to reach toddlerhood and then I won’t have to hear about the “new” thing! Trust me it does get better (maybe just potty training is the only future controversy that awaits you). But I’m sure once Little Man starts Preschool it will start again with who’s kid is smarter and continue till he graduates from grad school blah blah blah 😉

    I read up on everything then we make our decisions on things. And I don’t regret anything. It was what was good for us and so far it works!

    Glad you posted this and glad you are annoyed by it too. Sorry but looks like you will be in Mommy Wars for many years to come as your family grows 😦 Hang in there!

    TN

    • 3. I do sometimes have a problem (which I probably shouldn’t but I do) with those that just choose formula. I guess I just can’t understand why you’d choose second best for your child. I understand when it’s needed because of issues or supplementing. But those that choose it because they want to protect their breasts makes me sad. I really try not to judge but that is one of my pet peeves. I didn’t initially really want to BF, like I told you I was more nervous about than giving birth… but I knew it was the best option for her so I pushed ahead. And luckily it worked out great….

      4. I just read an Anthropology article that nursing to at least 2/3 is the norm in most of the world. I would imagine this is including Africa and South America which does much more extended BFing. I think it’s great if someone wants to, it’s just not for me. The law in FL is that you can BF any time, any place, there is no requirement for modesty or discretion. But I don’t know how they cover extended BFing. But I do know a mom who openly nurses her 5 year old… hmmm

      5. Yeah I wish everyone would stop arguing. There are some things that have a real medical edge over which is better, but even with that edge it won’t work… but still you have to do what is best for your family. I believe co sleeping has some great benefits but it didn’t work for us. And we are ALL going to have different things work for us. There is no reason for everyone to be so harsh about. It’s crazy. My only wish is that more moms did research before choosing to do one thing over another. I know you do, I do, a lot of my (most of) my friends do… but way too often I’ll see a mom on a board who knows nothing. That makes me sad that they didn’t know. We should be able to trust Dr’s to inform us. Thank God the internet has made it easier, although you have to filter out the crazies lol

      I mostly ignore it… I either don’t tell people (like the vax) or leave the conversation. The most I heard about stuff was the birth center…. I think I told you how I got a nasty email from one of Steve’s friends about it. Horrible stuff 😦 Nice to hear it gets better!

      Babies are worth it at least! Wish we lived closer!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: