Thursday, May 10, 2012
Are You Mom Enough?....Are you kidding me!?
This is the cover of the most recent TIME magazine. It has popped up multiple times in my various social media feeds (it actually just got mentioned on the news channel that is on right now) and I am going to share my opinion on it. Opinion being the operative word. I apologize in advance if anything I say offends you, but it is just my opinion and that is that.
My first issue with this article is the title: "Are You Mom Enough?" My response: Are you freaking kidding me? As any new mom with the internet knows there are all out battles going on over ways to raise your children. If you end up in the wrong forum and mention something against what the majority believes, well...God help you. Mothers are tearing each other to shreds over things just like this article. Do we really need to fuel these fires? NO! C'mon moms...just agree to disagree and get over yourselves. You are not right. I am not right. Deal with it. Mothers have a hard enough job trying to figure out how to care for and raise their children, why attack them over a choice that they probably put a lot of thought into. From "attachment parenting" (the subject of the article) to homeschool vs. public school there are wars in motherhood and it needs to stop. If you don't cloth diaper you are nothing more than an environmental terrorist to some of the "hippy mammas" and if you even mention babywearing to some "CEO moms" then you get called a tree-hugging hippy. If you practice attatchment parenting you could be accused of raising a needy, clingy, child. If you go back to work and utilize a daycare then you are raising an emotionally mute and cold child. You just can't win. If we could just get it through our heads that *gasp* other mothers have different ideas on how to raise children then maybe we could get along a bit better. Each child and each family has a different dynamic and last time I checked parenting is not a one size fits all kind of thing.So my message to all the mommies out there from the "hippy earth mammas" to the "CEO mamma"...stop the fighting, stop the judging and just rejoice in the fact that we have happy, healthy babies.
Ok, I will stop preaching and get to my opinion. There are three main issues that have come up with the picture and I will address each on it's own.
1)What do I think about the photo itself? It's a little weird. Not going to lie. It is odd seeing an older child breastfeeding. I say it is a little weird because you never see older children breastfeeding openly now do you? It's an unfamiliar sight, thus my mind categorizes it as such. On a side note that kid is supposed to be 3...I think he looks much, much, older and that doesn't help the perception. I think it was meant to shock and grab attention. It succeeded.
2)What do I think about extended breastfeeding? Do I have a problem with moms who want to breastfeed that long, heck no. Breastmilk is fantastic for babies and toddlers. Just because the baby grows into a toddler doesn't mean they have to lose out on the benefits of mother's milk. Toddlers especially can benefit from the antibodies as they go off to preschool for the first time. I don't feel it is "disgusting" like some have said. How is milk from a cow's udder any less disgusting than milk tailor made for the child? Think about it. A child won't breastfeed forever either, do you see any 15 year old kids breastfeeding? No. A toddler is really still a baby. In our society we push and push for our kids to grow up so fast we forget that a toddler has only been in the world for 2 or 3 years. Think about how little time that is compared to your 20, 30, 50...whatever. They are still just babies, stop trying to assign a baby an older child's identity.With that said, if you choose to only breastfeed until 6 months, or 9 months or whenever...then good for you! I applaud your choice to breastfeed at all! Each mom is different and it is up to her to decide when to wean and when not to wean. If you want to wean at 3, then good for you. If you want to wean at 8 months, then good for you.
3)What do I think about breastfeeding in public?
To me breastfeeding is just me feeding my baby. It is no different that giving him a bottle...except the bottle is boob shaped. Stop acting like a 12 year old boy in health class and get over it, yes it's a breast...we get it. If people have a problem with seeing me feeding my baby well then they are staring too long. I'm not sure when it happened but I lost any sense of "modesty" in feeding Roxas. I will pretty much feed in front of anybody, I'm pretty sure most of my family has now seen my breasts by now. Just yesterday I was at an baby type appointment and when Roxas got hungry the lady told me "I have a shawl if you'd like it"...I just said no thanks, opened up my shirt and started feeding Roxas and continued with the appointment while nursing. I udderly (haha) hate using a cover in public, and I don't think it's right that I have to cover up my baby eating when a mother feeding her baby a bottle doesn't have to. We are both doing to same thing aren't we? With the right shirt you see less of me nursing than you do in my swim suit. [rabbit hole: the news channel is now reporting on cloth diapers...what is it? controversial parenting topic day? That's a blog for another day though.] Anyways, back on track...I breastfeed Roxas in public anytime and anywhere without fear. That doesn't mean I don't get weird looks. It is still a relatively "shameful" thing apparently. I hope that by my fearless breastfeeding I can encourage another mother to do the same. Maybe she will see me and think "hmm, she is doing it...I could do it too!" So I say Dairy Cows of the world unite! Let's make the picture of a child breastfeeding a desirable one!
So there you have it....my opinion. I don't know how it happened but I have become a bit more "hippy" than I ever thought I could be. I am not exactly ready to throw on my Tye-dye skirt and Birkenstocks but there are some things that just make sense to me and if they happen to fall on the "hippy" side of things...well...so be it.