Time Magazine Coexist

You might have seen it by now.

You might have even seen it before it came out, like I did.

Time Magazine, in an apparent celebration of Mother’s Day, published the following issue on Friday:

Time Breastfeeding Cover

“Are You Mom Enough?”

The title immediately infuriated me.  The challenging, smug look on her face, the nannie-nannie boo-boo (no pun intended) expression on the half of his face that we can see…I was shocked and horrified.

…And I was immediately heartbroken for all of the mothers that would have their open wounds of Mommy Guilt seared with the acidic poison of this blaring statement.

Let me first beg you to believe that this concept is a fallacy.

Motherhood is not about achieving some nirvana of Completely Self-Sacrificial Devotion to your children.  Motherhood is already one of the most self-sacrificing acts of the human race as it is, without turning it into some Extreme Sports Competition of who can do it the hardest, most impressive way.

Whether we’re breastfeeding our soccer-aged son on the cover of a magazine or not, we’re ALL working with agonizing intensity to do what is best for our children.

Motherhood is about bringing your child up in the way HE should go, not in the way anyone else tells you it should be done.

Proverbs 226

Whether that’s breastfeeding until they’re three, not breastfeeding at all, letting them sleep in a crib, letting them sleep with you, or a myriad of other parenting decisions.

I read the article and all of it’s associated supplements, and surprisingly enough, none of it was offensive.

It was a biography of Dr. Sears, the founder of attachment parenting.  The author interviewed he and his wife, talked about their own upbringing and experiences that influenced their ideas, and then poked holes in many of his theories, as well as a bit of fun at some of his more extreme ideas.

The article actually leaned in the opposite direction of the cover.

But here’s the thing.  The cover, which is all that most Moms will ever see, tells a story of harsh, classist, guilt-ridden judgment that almost none of us are doing enough for our children.

And, thanks to the virility of this photo on the internet, there are going to be a lot of Moms barraged with the image this weekend, on a weekend that is supposed to be in celebration of Moms, and in appreciation of Moms.

Did Time Magazine think about the pain and heartache that a statement like this could inflict?

Did they think about how it would make Moms feel that physically couldn’t nurse their babies?

Did they think about how it degraded women who couldn’t get pregnant?  Or who were on the heartbreakingly intense roller coaster of fertility treatments?

We are hard enough on ourselves.

We are hard enough on each other.

We do not need the national media perpetuating our already existing Mommy Guilt – guilt that constantly hounds us, screaming in our ear that if we don’t do it a certain way, then we must love our kids less, and we will end up with detached drug-dealing seven-year-olds, and we ourselves will grow old lamenting our poor parenting job.

So here’s my plea.

Please remember this weekend that you ARE Mom enough.  That God has equipped YOU to raise your specific children, and that He has given YOU the instincts to know what is best for your child.

Listen to God, listen to yourself, listen to your husband, and take everything else with a grain of salt.  Or maybe a pound.

Dr. Sears, your friends, and your family might have good advice, but in the end, you and your husband are the only ones equipped to make the best decisions for your family.

Again I plea, let’s Coexist.  And that includes you, Time Magazine.

Happy Mother’s Day, Ladies.

You ARE Mom Enough.

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53 thoughts on “Happy Mother’s Day, from Time Magazine.

  1. AMEN!!!

    I have no words to express my fundamental support for your post here. Just know that there are tears of thanks and gratitude and agreement coursing down my face. I AM MOM ENOUGH. YOU ARE MOM ENOUGH. Love love love… thank you.

    1. Thank you! I definitely should… I just haven’t been able to find an online site with the RIGHT kind of T-Shirt. Like the type that I would actually wear… fitted, thicker material…doesn’t lose it’s stretch, and NOT white. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!

      1. How about having it made into an embroidery design. Some of us have machines that can stitch the design onto the shirt of your choice. Another idea would be to have the artwork that can be downloaded and used on the iron on transfer paper (my mind is blank as to the correct name for it).

  2. AMEN! God has a plan for each and every one of us. It’s the most individualized plan ever. We are not all called to do the exct same things. Who dares to try to guilt us when God does not?

  3. Great post Rachel. I wasn’t really offended by the picture but the headline “Are you Mom enough” did upset me and I am not even a mom. However I have been around some pretty amazing women who are moms and each one had different ways of raising their kids when it comes to feeding and sleeping but each raised them in a Christian home and way, and each one was Mom enough. It is not an easy job I am sure. I still hold out hope to be a mom one day even at 36 and join the ranks of all those amazing women who are mom enough no matter what.

    1. Exactly. There are much more important issues than breastfeeding and sleeping and such. Their spiritual well-being is most important!

  4. Well said! I have been hearing about this all over the place but this was the first time I’d seen the picture or heard any of what the article was about.

  5. Wonderful words! The magazine was quite obviously looking for some shock to create buzz, I just hate that it is going to put thoughts in to moms’ heads! It is such a sensitive point to exploit. I trust everyone is trying their best and hope they think the same of me.

    1. Yes. I really debated on whether me addressing it was just playing into exactly what they wanted to happen, but in the end, I decided that pretty much everyone has already seen their cover anyway, so me blogging about it really isn’t going to give them any more pub. And any tiny bit of balancing out the perspective they are portraying is worth it!!

  6. As mums we all try our best every day to do the best we can for our children, for some that means formula feeding others its extended breastfeeding other co sleeping others cot/crib from birth, at the end of the day we will do what resonates with us most at a base instinctive level..or should anyway, our best gift for our children is to trust in our own parenting, we know our children better that anyone else in the world whether we birth them or received them another way. No one can make us feel bad about our mothering unless we let them..

  7. You and I are on *very* different religious fronts, and I breastfed my eldest until she was four; BUT my personal mantra for parenting and everything ese for that matter is, “You need to do what’s best for YOU and YOUR FAMILY!”

    Live and let live. Treat other people how you want to be treated. Lay off the Mommy wars. It’s all the same sentiment! Great post, Rach!

    1. Exactly!

      I’m not opposed to extended nursing or attachment parenting. Just the title that Time chose to put with it. Non-judgement is key.

      I hope that it feels the same when I talk about my beliefs about God. I do not want that to feel like I’m judging, either – but since it is such a big part of our lives, of course it comes up. But I am very committed to always being willing to discuss it openly and without defensiveness or divisiveness if people want to discuss it, or not discuss it at all if people don’t.

      Thank you for being willing to share!!

  8. Beautifully written! I am so tired of seeing and hearing mother’s rip each other apart with their judgement. The fact of the matter is that only the mother of each individual child truly understands that particular child’s needs and make up and all of the factors affecting that particular family. What may be so very right for my child and family may be actually harmful in another’s situation. We all need to respect each other and realize that for the most part we are all making the decisions that are best for our respective families and situations.

  9. *I* am mom ENOUGH. I was unable to breastfeed my children beyond 2 months of age. But they are healthy, extremely smart (4.0 GPA’s), polite, athletic and just a plain joy to be around. And I pulled it off working fulltime outside the home…oh ya, I’m mom enough! NOW, as for the lady in the picture, and others that breastfeed beyond one year of age, I try not to be critical, but really? I believe you need to pull strenght from your inner self and break that habit. Yes, its easy to just pull it out and feed the kid, but its time to grow up and feed your child properly. Be strong, you can do it!

  10. I was offended by the title but I was mostly offended by the picture. Not because a woman is breastfeeding her child but because they chose to make it come across as sexual and vulgar instead of nurturing. This is an attack on women and motherhood. But, is that surprising anyone when even political comments lately have been doing the same?

    1. I can totally see where you would get this from the photo. However, I’m sure that other people see it as a strong, determined woman doing something beautiful. I lean more on the side with you, though – that it was positioned in such a way to be inflammatory and sexual. I’m cool with the concept of extended breastfeeding, but the photo was not trying to capture a realistic view of that concept – a fact that the model herself admitted to in her interview with The Today Show.

  11. Happy Mother’s Day. Coexisting is always a good thing. I was more concerned for the child on the magazine cover. Hopefully he won’t be teased or made to feel badly.

    1. Luckily for him, 15 minutes of fame don’t last too long – it’ll be long forgotten about due to hundreds of other controversies by the time he gets into Junior High.

  12. Well said!
    I offended by the title and I am a little freaked out by how the image appears almost sexual!
    I am a total advocate of breastfeeding and I think it is a very special time for mother and child, but I even had people telling me I needed to stop nursing my oldest when he was 11 months old. I ultimately stopped when he was 13 months. For him and for me, that was the time that worked for us and I have to admit that it was nice to have people off my back for nursing him so long. I think if I felt that I was doing what was best for my child or for our family, I may have continued for a little longer, but as it turned out I was pregnant with our second child.
    I really REALLY don’t want someone else trying to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do, especially when it comes to challenging my ability to care for my children. I think TIME is way out of line and that is my biggest problem with this article.

    1. I was just reading back through this comment and I meant to include the word “title” after the word article in the last sentence… I got carried away, apparently. Anyway, I do agree that the article itself was not offensive.

  13. Perfectly said, Rachel!!! We have got to quit judging other mothers on their decisions and start supporting each other. Mothering is hard enough without making it harder on each other.

  14. Great post! I was shocked by the cover, and also angered by the title of the article. I try very hard not to be judgmental of moms who make choices that are different from the ones I’ve made. I’m trying to raise kind-hearted, Godly young ladies, which is hard enough to do in the world we live in, without being berrated for every choice I make. In talking with my friends, I know we all feel this way (or we at least tell each other we do :) ) but sometimes it’s still hard to keep that little judgmental voice out of the back of our heads.

    And I’d totally buy one of those COEXIST t-shirts. :)

  15. Hmph. I have been agonizing over this article for a few days now. As a self proclaimed attachment parent I didn’t know what to think. I fully agree with your Coexist idea, parenting is subjective. Maybe because I get a lot of grief about my plans to nurse my daughter until she decides to stop allows me to have a lot more grace when it comes to other moms raising their kids as they see fit. I do wish there was a little more support for “extended breastfeeding” as some people call it…but I don’t think that was the best way to go about it. It seems to me that time magazine just wanted a big reaction to their article…which they got. I love Dr. Sears and what he says about parenting, but I don’t follow it all either. I really wish they would have done a better job making awareness about attachment parenting without causing such a huge scene…because I feel it did the exact opposite. Now when I go to nurse my toddler in a public setting is everyone going to think I think I’m better than everyone else because I’m still breastfeeding?….because I don’t, and I guarantee you those moms done either. I think this dilemma can go both ways; moms get pushed to breastfeed and feel guilty when it doesn’t work, and moms who successfully breastfeed get grief and harsh comments if they take it, in someone else’s opinion too far, and its a bummer everyone has such an opinion about something that has nothing to do with them. It’s stuff like this that makes me remember that God is sovreign and He has given me my convictions about how I raise my child and that’s what I will do, according to Him. Not some magazine.

    1. I’m really glad to hear your opinion. I wondered how the photo, title, and article came across to Attachment Parents, because it certainly seemed offensive to *everyone* to me. The title made non-attachment parents feel less-than, the photo made attachment parenting look “weird”, and the article really seemed anti-attachment parenting. I don’t think that anyone could have left that piece feeling perfectly comfortable.

      I have a random question, though: How do you know when your child is self-weaning? There were several times where Noah got very difficult to nurse, refusing it all-together even, But after some effort, he went back to it happily. Are there clear signs for when they are self-weaning? Perhaps I just didn’t know what to look for…

  16. Excellent post. I think instead of honoring a person who has helped a lot of parents, they made a mockery of him. But, in the end, Time got what they wanted: buzz.

    1. Yes, I agree. ALL that they were after was the buzz, and in the process they offended or hurt everyone, no matter their viewpoint.

  17. I’m a little late in commenting, but I just wanted to thank you for this post. I gave birth to my 2nd child on May 9, which is right when the magazine cover hit the national media shows. It was a little surreal nursing my infant with the cover shouting, “Are you Mom Enough?” all over the TV. I am so happy that people like you are in the world and on the internet encouraging mothers to be the best they can be without judging others.

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