We all have a mental photo album, filled with the enduring images of our childhood. Somehow, the one above doesn't match any of mine.
Doesn't look very familiar to any of us in fact, and that's probably why Time magazine's "Are you mom enough?" cover has kickstarted a new round of the somewhat foolishly labeled "Mommy Wars".
The photo is provocative enough, but the feature article itself (yes, there is more to this than the photo) has inspired much online pounding of virtual fists and shaking of heads as it strikes squarely at a handful of modern parenting topics including attachment parenting, breastfeeding, working moms and what sort of things are appropriate for children's eyes. And mouths.
There are plenty of legitimate, possible reactions to the story and while you still sort out the full scope of yours, here are some observations from around the web that, for one reason or another, we felt were worth sharing.
Megan Francis, TheHappiestMom.com
"I guess my issue with the cover/title, on first glance, is that it makes this particular mother and her parenting choices seem extreme. A lot of people won’t read the article, but will just talk about that crazy mom who’s breastfeeding the boy standing next to her. Then they will, by default, label all moms who breastfeed past X age extreme and crazy."
"I feel like I’m missing something with this cover and all the anger surrounding it. It reads tongue-in-cheek to me. My problem with (attachment parenting) is that Dr. Sears always made me feel like I wasn’t “mom enough.” But that’s just me, with my faulty boobs and inability to co-sleep."
Caroline Howard, Forbes
"I’m sure you’ve seen it by now. The Time magazine cover. It’s the one with the hot blonde nursing a little boy who is likely old enough to ask for a glass of milk, and possibly pour it himself too."
Jen Doll, The Atlantic
"Why are we so freaked out by the sight of a boob in a grown-ish little boy's mouth? Why are we so worried about the kid, and predicting mockery or impending years in therapy for him? Why are we discussing whether this sort of thing is "freakish or feminist?" and what might become of men grown from such "attached" arrangements? … These things creep us out because we don't like "sex" and "motherhood" coming from the same place. And, yet, the grand forever irony is that they can't be separated."
Tracie Egan Morrissey, Gawker
"While the article takes a serious look at "attachment parenting" — a controversial child-rearing philosophy pioneered by pediatrician Dr. Bill Sears — the cover is meant to incite both public ridicule and maternal anxiety — just in time for mother's day."
Adam Clark Estes, The Atlantic
"We had to blink, rub our eyes, shake our heads and look again, not just because of the child-sucking-on-mother's-breast image but because the title above it did not say Newsweek."
"I do see a problem with the unrelenting cultural glare on moms, demanding that they do better. The “Are You Mom Enough” question demands, I think, an answer: hell yes we are, and please stop asking."
Amy Graff, San Francisco Chronicle
"A part of me loves this bold photo that promotes breastfeeding, the best-known way to feed a baby. The image seems to be blazing trails for women by helping prudish Americans become more comfortable with the sight of a nursing mom.
But another part of me hates this image and I fear that it will put yet more pressure on moms to achieve unobtainable goals. And the gorgeous, thin blonde, standing proudly with her hands on her hips on the Time cover seems to be challenging moms to go longer. “Girls, you can do more!” she seems to be saying in a super annoying, competitive way."
"A father is plunged into the same chasm of sleeplessness and Baby Einstein videos as the mother but is often on the outside looking in. Attachment parenting can exacerbate this alienation. Take co-sleeping. On paper, it’s a way for the entire family to bond and, supporters say, an important step for an infant to feel secure and loved. In practice, it usually means getting rib-kicked until Dad finally decides to sleep on the couch, where he will stay until the child graduates to his or her own sleeping arrangement."
Hanna Rosin, Slate
"Attachment parenting demands not just certain actions you take with your baby but also certain emotional states to accompany those actions. So, it’s not just enough to breast-feed but one has to experience “breast-feeding induced maternal nirvana.” And it’s not enough to snuggle—you have to snuggle enough to achieve a spiritual high... Once women were just expected to tolerate their babies, Betty Draper style."
"I practice what would be called Attachment Parenting, pretty much in its purest form. For me it was not demanding work, rather, it was perfectly in line with what my heart and body ached for with my children — and I live a privileged enough existence where I was able to choose it.
In no way do I believe it is right for everyone. Motherhood is a relationship, and defined by the two unique parties within it, like any other. I’m anti-war, particularly mommy-war."
Jamie Lynne Grumet, Time magazine cover mom, on The Today Show
“You can take some of Dr. Sears’ attachment parenting philopsphies and maybe not others, and that’s okay. You’re not a bad parent. Your child will still be okay."