Brouhaha that’s the word to use and the word that came to mind when the recent Time article and cover “Are You Mom Enough” generated such a sh!tstorm of controversy that polarized parents, especially moms once again.
Personally, I found the question, “Are You Mom Enough?” offensive and it placed me on the defensive. It forced the whole issue of motherhood and parenting into a simple Yes or No answer. The question posed a challenge — Are you doing enough for your family? As a mom with a full-time job that sees me working away from my kid for 12 hours a day this question was harsh. Nice work Time. Happy Mother’s Day to your moms too. Moms actively discussed the cover and the question online and it brought to light a parenting theory that most moms of my generation have adhered to.
The Time article got people talking about Attachment Parenting (AP) and Extended Breastfeeding. I never breastfed DW (my story here) which is number 2 in the 7 Basic Baby B’s of AP but I soon realized that BDW and I are actually practicing some of the basic tenets of this parenting philosophy.
I recently found a video about Attachment Parenting and I figured that the 7 Baby B’s are really commonsensical basics.
The 7 Basic B’s are:
Birth Bonding, Breastfeeding, Babywearing, Bedding Close to Baby, Belief in the Language of Your Baby’s Cry, Beware of Baby Trainers and Balance
Co-sleeping? Check. I grew up co-sleeping with my parents. My brothers and I slept in one room with our folks until I was old enough to have my own room which was awful because a cat would always perch itself outside my window and stare at me creepy, stalker cat! My brothers and I were all breastfed too.
As for DW. Well, we co-sleep with DW. He has a toddler bed of his own but he still always creeps up to our bed in the middle of the night declaring “I want to stay in the middle”. I used a sling once but DW wanted to be carried by everybody. There was a time that we actually thought twice about buying an umbrella stroller because DW probably wouldn’t stay in it anyway.
Here’s the video I found about AP which is a great way to sum up the technique.
A recent interview by Stefanie Wilder Tyler of Dr. Sears, the attachment parenting guru also brought to light the realities of AP. When Dr. Sears was asked about those that have taken AP to the extreme, he says
We’ve been very misquoted and misunderstood. Our goal is to convince moms and dads that this is a long-term investment. Our attachment advice is a way to give mothers back parenting experience that the years of detachment advice has taken away.
The rest of the interview is here.
I guess the underlying principle of Attachment Parenting is to listen to yourself and your kid’s cues and to respond appropriately. The style is instinctive. Not to trivialize how hard parenting is but sometimes listening to your gut is the best right? Follow your intuition I say. But even with the emphasis on AP in discussions as a result of the Time cover, it also got people talking on other parenting styles and the only conclusion to all that talk is that there is no one type that works for parents and children. Heck for different kids in the same family, different styles could work. To each his own most definitely as long as the goal is a loving and hopefully a relationship between mom and child.
After all the brouhaha that ensued what stood out really is how significant moms are in molding future generations and how the parenting choices we make create waves that impact society in the long-term. If this is the “burden” (for lack of a better word) that moms willingly bear shouldn’t we be supported and encouraged? Battle lines should not be drawn and questions like “are you mom enough” should not be asked period. Maybe what we should be asked is “how can we help you?”
How about you? How did you react when you first saw the Time cover? I would love to know your thoughts and your reactions!