I’m now the billionth person to throw my two cents into the blogosphere about the most recent TIME magazine cover which features mom and blogger Jamie Grumet nursing her three year old son. Want to see it again?
What amuses me about the cover is that NO ONE nurses a child this way. There is no way that Jamie would have been all, “Um, hey, photographer, my son likes to nurse standing on a chair while neither of us makes eye contact with the other. Let’s do this.” I know that the photographer had an inspirational image of Madonna and child but this? This is not attachment parenting. This looks detached and cold. Dr. Sears, the “guru” of attachment parenting, or AP, would have no doubt chuckled at the sight of this photo. Not only is it obvious that TIME chose it for shock value, but neither the mother not the child look too pleased about this nursing session.
After an entire day of seeing both ignorant and enlightened tweets and comments about the cover, I came across a photo from the same shoot that was obviously not selected for the cover:
THIS should have been the cover because this? Is beautiful. I don’t care if you think that breastfeeding is gross (but you probably drink cow’s milk which is milk that is made just for a cow’s baby, so EW on you) or if you think that her son is too old or that she should cover up. I don’t care if you formula-fed your children. You know what? Jamie, the stunning mom in the photos, probably doesn’t care how you raise your kids either. So why are we so judgmental about this issue? If I watch you give your infant a sippy cup or bottle of juice I will cringe but I will keep my mouth shut. What good does it do anyone by me going off on your parenting choices? I know how I raise my child isn’t going to appeal to some people and I’m okay with that. I will do what is best for my family just like you will.
The article that the cover is supposed to represent is about Dr. Sears, who is well-known for his philosophies on AP. What I’m sure any AP believer will tell you (unless he/she is a self-righteous bitch, or sancti-mommy, if you prefer) is that when it comes to AP and parenting in general is that it is not an all-or-nothing game. We breastfed until Avery was sixteen months but trust me, if I was working full time there is no way I would have stuck with it that long. She slept in our bed until she was nine months old purely for nighttime nursing convenience. We did cry-it-out but we also used other methods (Cry it out is NOT AP, in case you couldn’t guess). We do what works for us, not what works for you. I don’t give a shit how you raise your kids and you’ll never hear me tell you that you’re doing it wrong. Our best friends are formula feeding their son. So what? She tried nursing and had struggles and opted to do what she felt was right for her and her baby. Good for her. Some people thought that we were weird for letting Avery sleep with us and that she’d NEVER LEAVE OUR BED until she went off to college. To those of you with that warning? You realize how ludicrous that sounds, right? We used disposable diapers because I hate doing laundry. See? You don’t have be Mayim Bialik to call yourself an AP’er. Just be you.
And really, must we label ourselves? I can check-off more boxes in the AP category than not but I refuse to identify with just one style of parenting. We are always changing and adapting to the needs of our growing children. What works when they’re two will probably not work when they’re two and a half. I can’t nurse or rock my toddler to sleep because she fights; but if I shut her door and let her put herself to bed she settles down after a few minutes and sleeps all night long. It might not always be like this but for now it works for us.
Regardless of your stance on this issue just remember one thing- the world is a harsh place and it’s our job as moms to lead by example and not add to the negativity. Love your children fiercely and in your own way and I’ll do the same.