Goodness Gracious Me - what a debate this cover picture is causing around the world. Many issues have arisen and basically (well my view anyway) the facts are:-
1. A woman bears her breast on the cover of Time Magazine while feeding her 3 (soon to be 4) year old child
2. She is a woman and she is the mother of the child
3. The child is a rather grown-up 3 year old
4. She is still breastfeeding him (she was breastfed by her mother until she was 6)
5. She is a pretty mom with a super slim and "model-like" figure
6. She is an advocate for "attachment parenting"
Basically it is causing a fuss because:-
1. The child looks far too old to be suckling
2. The mother is far too attractive to be a mother
3. The mother is too attractive to still be breastfeeding a growing child
4. Breastfeeding should be done in private
5. Breastfeeding should only be done while your child is a "babe in arms"
Nothing offends me about the picture. However, the words "ARE YOU MOM ENOUGH?" does.
Being a mother (and one that has breastfed her children although not to the "wearing of combat clothing" age) I get seriously offended by the pressures that society places on mothers to "give birth naturally", "do it without drugs", "breastfeed", "stay-at-home-and-nurture" and many other weird things that "society" thinks makes you a perfect mother.
What makes you "Mom Enough"?. I did not (and could not) give birth naturally and (although I tried) I could not do it without drugs. It took me a long to come to terms with my "failure" to give birth naturally and it has taken me years (my eldest son turns 30 in December) to realise that what is still expected of a woman and mother in today's age is unfair. From the moment a child is born all a mother wants is the best for her child. Every woman's body is different and we will be let down in certain ways. One thing is for sure that from the moment you give birth there is no turning back and there is someone else for you to consider for the rest of your life.
When I saw this picture on Friday, I investigated further and read a bit more about "attachment parenting". If it works for certain families and they are able to live their lives this way, sleep in one bed and home-school - great for them. It is not for me but it is all about doing what suits your family and your lifestyle.
I have just had the most wonderful autumn afternoon with my bestest friends. Another friend (quite a bit younger) with her young children has moved in just up the road from Kathy in Newlands. She did not have a babysitter for the evening and was worried about bringing her "naughty" children into Kathy's home. She shared stories about her concerns for her children and asked for our "experienced" advice. Her big blue eyes grew bigger and frightened when we told her how we handled certain situations. Her children were delightful and beautifully behaved and we reassured her that she was doing a great job. I hope that she left our party feeling that she was not alone and that she was doing a good job. I certainly hope her son went to sleep after drinking all the sweet "green soda" that Kathy fed him!!
Nobody said it is was going to be an easy job but when you sit back, like Kathy and I did today, and saw my sister who is still going through the teenage years and having to leave the party for lift clubs, to our new young friend, so anxious and keen to do everything right, have the perfectly behaved children who achieve great things, it was good to be the older 53 year olds who still had their grown children (and their friends) wanting to join us on a sunny autumn afternoon to say hi and have a drink with the old tarts, then leave for the rugby (or stay a bit longer). You then realise that it is not difficult to do things right without even trying.
On this Mothers Day it is important to acknowledge what your mother means to you and as much as I hate all the sentimentality that goes with the commercial side of Mothers Day, all that is needed is an acknowledgement. Hayley told me last night that all her mother wanted from her children this year was some vouchers for quality time. I too want nothing more. A breakfast together, a walk in the park or watching rugby together on the couch.
We all have or had a mother and she does or did her best. Whether she gave birth naturally to you after hours of labour or whether you took the short-cut out with a knife, whether she was able to breastfeed you until you could walk or whether you were bottle-fed from the start, whether she was there to collect you when the school bell rang or whether she collected you at the end of a long day at work, she has done her best. We can't ask for more.
Have a great day all you Mothers. WE ARE MOM ENOUGH!!
And advice to 6 year old James:-
Don't ever be a bully and don't ever start a fight, but if some idiot clocks you, please defend yourself
You did good