Time magazine recently had a new issue released, with a pretty provocative image of a nursing mother on its cover. Now normally I wouldn’t call breastfeeding provocative, but in this case it’s a mother that is extended breastfeeding an almost 4 year old. And normally I wouldn’t even call that provocative…I am all for a mother breastfeeding to the age she chooses appropriate for her child, and yes even in public if that’s what she deems necessary (I do admit that when it gets to a certain age, I think just as I would tell my child “No, you don’t need a drink right now, we can wait until we are home” I would tell that to my breastfeeding toddler. But that’s *me* and if someone else chooses differently, more power to them!) As a side note, Kamea is almost 22 months and still nursing multiple times a day. I am all for extended breastfeeding!
I call it provocative because the position that she is nursing in isn’t really how EBF is done, and is clearly played for shock value. But also because the title on the cover is, “Are You Mom Enough?” Parenting is hard enough work without using language purposely written to incite emotions and elicit a response. And unfortunately, women all over fell for the bait. Hook, line, and sinker. This cover picture (found HERE) was put on messageboards and on Facebook and within a matter a minutes moms who supported it were called “pedophiles” and mom’s who were against it were called “haters”. It’s sad, really. I’m not going to go into depth on my feelings over the matter, there are a multitude of blogs circling the internet that has done that for me, other than to say that there are many types of parenting, and many ways to be “Mom enough.” And while it’s true that I have specific parameters to *my* parenting that I believe are best (Don’t we all? Otherwise, why parent that way?) I don’t really speak of them unless I’m asked about it. Yes, I breastfeed and yes I think breastmilk is the best thing for babies. Yes, I am against routine infant circumcision. No, I do not think Crying It Out in general is the best way to train a child to sleep, not even if your baby is a year and not sleeping through the night. My babies stay rear-facing until they get to the limit of their car seat. I co-sleep, I don’t spank, I let them sleep on their tummies if they prefer it, and on and on and on. And I’m mom enough…and so are you if your parenting style is the antithesis of the above.
One blog that I did read, however, didn’t want to focus on the cover per se, but instead took a different route and spoke about maternity leave in America. It can be found HERE. I am honestly on the fence on this issue. The author brings up many valid points. On the other hand, within the comments section is much commentary that I also agree with. Parenting is a choice. If a person doesn’t have children, they are less costly to an employer. Small businesses cannot afford to pay for a woman to be on maternity leave AND support a replacement worker. The solution that is brought up is that the government is the one that pays for the support, but UGH…more social programs for a choice? I’m not sure I, who am fairly liberal, support that. On the other hand, children are our future, and so if mom’s want to work, companies should provide good benefits that make it more likely to have happy parents raising successful children. Again, my thoughts and opinions are pretty circular over this. I keep seeing good arguments on both sides. (Such as, have children when you can afford to stay home! But, accidents happen…so, yeah!) I think if I ever make a final decision, I’ll add an addendum here. Someday, but maybe not. I can’t decide.