Every mom seems to be sporting a pin, with the overarching slogan being "I believe this with the strength of a mountain and should you believe otherwise I will bury you alive."
WHY CAN'T WE ALL JUST BE A MOM?
My response to this week's cover of Time
The issue marks the anniversary of Dr. Sears' book, known for creating a movement of mothers who co-sleep, wear their babies and, as the cover tries hard to shockingly convey, choose to breastfeed their children way into toddlerhood. We've all heard of Attachment Parenting, but this Time cover just turned up the volume on the conversation by asking in bold print, "Are You Mom Enough?"
It's not surprising that this question, which brazenly pits moms against one another, is raised in association with Attachment Parenting. Defined by moms who harold "a better way" to parent, often in direct combat with the recommendations of the AAP or what's been considered by our society to be "normal," AP is hallmarked by an emphasis on honoring intuition, mother-child bonding and overall enriching your child's health and development through, well, attachment. In other words, being the best, most respectful, most sensitive and attached parent. But the thing is, most parents that believe in the AP bible would argue that it's not just another form of parenting, but the only way to raise happy, healthy children. I have many friends and also follow celebrities who tout the virtues of AP (the wonderful Mayim Bialik, for one), and I have yet to hear the tiniest glimmer of the sentiment that it just might not be for everyone. To me, there is tremendous virtue in the method of parenting, but not in the actual style. I steer clear of women wearing "Mommy Superstar" capes.
But while AP parents may be easy bait for accusations of holier-than-thou parenting, any mom can be guilty of the same. It's a saddening, deep punch to the very core of mothering, but let's face it: no mom is naive or immune to the often combattive, insulting, and utterly hostile field that motherhood seems to increasingly play. Time Magazine's question hit it on the nail.
I am a mother who believes in both hospital and home births. I can proclaim both the benefits of using an epidural and the gains in birthing sans drugs. I know that pacifiers are a gift from God, but also something to question. There's something undeniably natural and beautiful about sleeping with your baby, but also something undeniably inconvenient and...well, not for everyone. But I don't find that a lot of mothers out there are like me. Every mom seems to be sporting a pin, with the overarching slogan being "I believe this with the strength of a mountain and should you believe otherwise I will bury you alive."
The nation is talking a lot about bullying in schools. But what about the bullying going on everyday among parents? Full grown adults who prey on the weaknesses in another parent's looks, actions and beliefs? Why can't we all just be a mom? Not supermom, not powermom, not mom "enough"—just a mom, worthy of praise and honor by virtue of her card-carrying, sacred membership. Someone please tell me this is possible...
It's every parent's right to make decisions they feel proud about, even to the naysay of her peers or the whole of society, and expect respect. Motherhood is sensitive enough with its daily barrage of emotional and physical highs and lows. Only if we're pit against each other will we lose our mojo altogether.
The women who says "gross" to the Times cover is just as guilty as the woman who judges a mom for not breastfeeding. Slandering hospital births is a crime just like discouraging a home birth. Every woman has their inner compass they must follow. And is it up to us, their fellow motherers, to remain committed to the greater mom morales that band us together. Whether its in our own bed or in the crib in the other room, we all kiss our kids to sleep. Whether we breastfeed or not, we are our children's' soul nurturer. Whether cloth or throw-out, we change a lot of diapers. Whether we parade them in a stroller or wear them in a sling, all our kids are close to our heart.
Imagine if we saw every mother as "mom enough" simply by the status of her mothership. Imagine if we trusted that every mother is parenting in a way that is good and healthy for her and her family. Imagine if we were able to discuss lovingly the pros and cons of each parenting style, but most of all...able to not see it that way at all.