I feel like I would be remiss if I didn't write a blogpost regarding the Time Magazine article, partly because I have strong opinions on this and partly because my daughter may read this post someday and see what type of a parent I tried to be and how I really did put a lot of thought into parenting her.
In case you have been living on a boat in the Atlantic or just like to stay away from the news (I don't blame you), you can read the article here, or just google "Time Magazine Breastfeeding" and you'll get some sort of synopsis by some writer on some website.
I've thought a lot about this article. I've thought a lot about what this article means. When my husband showed me a picture of the cover of the magazine early last week, I groaned. My stomach kind of knotted up. Part of me thought that perhaps Time would take a super professional, non judgmental look at attachment parenting but I also knew, being somewhat knowledgeable about how the media work, that stirring up controversy will ALWAYS sell. And of course, after the magazine hit newsstands, all of the morning t.v. talk shows, news shows, popular blogs and radio programs decided to dive into the topic of parenting, extended breastfeeding and motherhood.
If anything, this got me thinking about my own style of parenting and how I got there. I am an AP parent. I did not expect to be an AP parent. When my child was growing inside of me, I didn't research how best to raise a child. I didn't talk to other parents about what type of parenting philosophy is best for a marriage. Let me be honest--I didn't even know that the idea of a "parenting philosophy" existed. I heard of attachment parenting once when my friend Julie Mendez told me about an attachment parenting group in Bloomington-Normal. She said the group promoted sleeping with your child, using positive language, etc. I was still a working woman and I think I actually told Julie that I thought that sounded silly and that there was absolutely NO WAY I would sleep with my child.
So becoming an AP mom was totally by accident. As a proponent of AP-style parenting, I like to think that what I fell into naturally was, well, natural. It was "instinctual". As soon as I gave birth, I knew that feeling my daughter up against me made both of us feel more secure. I knew that when she was lying right next to me in bed, we both slept better. I knew that by wearing her in a sling, with my body heat against her belly, her tummy would feel better after eating a bunch. I knew that breastfeeding was better for both of us. And NONE of that I read in a book. I just knew that if we were all happy, feeling good and healthy, something must be working right. And the minute someone wasn't happy, healthy or feeling good, I'd change it.
Okay so that's me. But guess what…that's probably not you. Or maybe it is. Or maybe it's who you thought you'd be as a parent but you're now something totally different. And my guess is that you're trying to do the best you can with the resources, time and energy you have. Isn't that what we're all trying to do? So back to the Time article, it's absolutely INSANE that Time is pitting mother against mother. A "mommy-war" must now be fought, lines must be drawn and we must all spit at one-another because we think the other "side" is wrong. But really aren't we all just trying to reach the common goal? Aren't we all trying to just get through another day free of broken bones, skinned knees, tears, guilt and full of love, happiness and well-rounded meals? Aren't we all trying to raise well-adjusted kids who will do pretty well in school, be self-sufficient, feel compassion for others and love others for all the good and healthy reasons (okay those are not extensive lists!)??
So this Time article really irritated me. I hope that new moms, or even seasoned moms, don't feel ashamed to be a certain type of parent. I hope no mother will feel suddenly compelled to breastfeed her infant in a bathroom stall because she's embarrassed by what she heard on some talk show. We need to support mothers--all types of mothers. If a mother is choosing to breastfeed or bottle feed her child out in the open, good for her! And from now on, while I may disagree with the diet (insert: artificial food colorings are evil!) a parent may choose to feed her child, I'll remember that the mom is doing the best she can. She's making decisions that she hopes are best for her child because I highly doubt she's truly trying to ruin that child's future. And I hope similarly, nobody will judge my child who at 2 1/2, still nurses 3 times a day, sleeps with her parents and is hugged and kissed at least 1000 times a day.