TIME Magazine just became another self-appointed arbiter of “Mommy Judgment” by trying to inflame the Mommy Wars with their exploitative cover of a young mother standing like a mudflap girl and breastfeeding her 3, maybe 4 year old. The byline: “Are you Mom enough?”
The answer is, as soon as you have a baby, YOU ARE MOM ENOUGH!
TIME is sadly out of touch with what Moms really want. It’s time to ask, “Are we Mom-friendly enough?”
In my circle of “Mom” friends, we largely think that the “Mommy Wars” are over. Until, of course, some stupid news outlet uses the Mommy War to try and sell magazines. We trust that the choices that you made about parenting your children were made based on the information that you had at the time. “We do better, when we know better” is a phrase we often share with each other as we gather new information and work to improve our lives and the lives of our children.
But the question is not the only insult. The cover photo is also offensive. Not because the mother is breastfeeding an older child, but because the picture does not represent the actual relationship that this mother has with her child. To the many mothers, physicians, and public health advocates, who have strived to bring breastfeeding back into the mainstream, it is offensive to have such an exploitative and staged photograph become emblem of what is a normal part of motherhood.
In my 12 years of motherhood, having breastfed all my children into preschool, I have never seen another mother of a toddler or preschool aged child, pull up a chair, stand like a mudflap girl and nurse her child, while gazing off into the knowing eyes of the camera. I wonder how this picture would have looked if there was a little girl standing on that chair, as opposed to a very boyish boy? Typically, mother’s who are extended breastfeeding an older child, reserve their nursing for the needs of the child, not the needs of the photographer.
I have seen mothers, whose children have fallen down, with a bloodied knee, comfort their children with nursing. I have seen mothers of children with severe diarrhea, comfort and hydrate their children with nursing. I have seen mothers of children, who have been scared and frightened, comfort and love their children with nursing.
I am not opposed to the beautiful pictures of women nursing older children, as was represented within the article and video, but the cover photo that TIME chose was intended to inflame and misrepresent. TIME’s use of this inauthentic representation of what extended nursing “looks like” is simply a lie.
Some families choose to breastfeed beyond infancy because of the evidence-based health and neurological benefits. Yes, I said families, because very frequently, it is the fathers that see, support and promote the nursing relationship.
But the reality is that many women never breastfeed beyond the first weeks of life, because of the many barriers that prevent them from achieving their dream. Women need accurate and timely information, not hypersexualized hyperbole.
TIME, here are the questions you should have asked:
- Where can we get the best information to make an informed choice?
- Are we supporting a Mom’s choice to breastfeed for 1 minute, 1 day, 100 days or 1000 days?
- When are we going to get paid maternity & paternity leave?
- How can we get more flexible work options?
- How can we ensure our children are educated?
- How can we get health care?
- When will we expand lactation accommodation rights for all working women?
- Are we providing Moms with real food to feed their children?
- Are we supporting families in the workplace to parent their children?
If you are ready to opt out of the Media-Industrial Mommy War Complex, please join us here.