The Mom-o-sphere is abuzz with chatter about TIME Magazine’s cover and accompanying article on extended breastfeeding and what is called “Attachment Parenting”.
Quite honestly, I am not comfortable with the grouping of mothers into categories based on parenting methods. I believe it promotes discord, divisiveness, and competition. Women screaming out that they are “GRANOLA! I’M A CRUNCHY GRANOLA MOM!!” or “Mothering? Surely you jest. Little Elizabeth Clancy van der Puupen has the best nannies and tutors money can buy.” It doesn’t fricking matter. As long as you’re raising your kid with love and avoiding being Mommie Dearest, who the heck cares how you’re raising your kid?
Let me tell you something. I have many friends with kids, and sometimes on parenting styles we don’t always see eye to eye. But it doesn’t matter. I mean, unless one of us saw another abusing or hurting said kids, we leave parenting styles out of our friendships. We ask advice of others when we want it. We don’t think we’re any better or worse than each other.
But to the matter at hand… the cover is quite provocative in its depiction of a mother breastfeeding her 3 year old son. Here it is:
Pardon my French here for a moment, and listen well, because I am only going to say this once: I don’t give a flying poop how long your kid drinks from the boob. I have three failed attempts at nursing under my belt, all for very valid reasons which are no one’s business but my own. I would poop a gold brick to be able to nurse for even the recommended 6 month minimum.
What I do care about are the massive amounts of flak I got from the members of my birth club over at a popular parenting forum. Women telling me I was less of a woman because I couldn’t nourish my child. Guess what? I did nourish my child…with formula. It was not a choice I made happily, but it was necessary and best for all involved. But the guilt driven into me by these…these bullies, further pushed me into my depressive spiral. Because, ladies, when you berate a mother for her parenting choices, insinuating that she is not competent or that her baby will get very sick without wonderjuice from the breasticles, you are being a bully. BabyBoy was having digestive issues, so to have these women continually stating that his digestive issues would go away if I stuck with nursing was a blow to my already broken ego. I had had my heart set on nursing, and to have it fail so epically just broke me. I have only recently gotten to a point where on my good days, I’m okay with it. On bad days I’m still mourning the loss of nursing. The bullying was so bad that I had to take the issue up with the admins of the forum. I ended up deleting my account with them and didn’t speak another word of it. By the way, those digestive issues? Went away once we found the right formula.
I must also state that attacking a mother for EBF (extended breast-feeding), or any other parent for their parenting style (so long as it does not harm or abuse the child) is bullying.
I co-sleep. Not every night. Not all night. But sometimes I am just too exhausted to get off the couch (where I sleep), so I lay in a manner that prevented me from rolling over, and BabyBoy would doze off. Now that he is mobile, this co-sleeping came to a screeching halt last night when he somehow made his way off the couch and when I woke to his happy babbling, he was sitting in the middle of the floor. I will miss the closeness and bonding during co-sleeping, it was the closest I could come to the bond I felt while nursing.
Co-sleeping was the only thing that reminded me, while caught in some of the worst depression ever, that I loved my son. I knew I loved him. But when he would throw his little arm across my neck and nestle down in my arms, I felt it. Thanks to my anti-depressant, I no longer need the co-sleeping to remind me of that, for I’ve genuinely begun to enjoy my son again.
I am tired of feeling like I totally suck because I don’t wrap my baby up against my torso or don’t use cloth diapers. I don’t go around making fun of women who DO baby-wear or cloth diaper, or extended breastfeed.
I am not crunchy. I am not granola. I’m not even a chewy Quaker bar. When my children fall, I don’t immediately scoop them up. I squelch my own fear and wait for a reaction. If they cry of their own accord and not just because Mommy’s freaked out, I comfort. I don’t baby talk. I think baby-talk can delay vocabulary growth. But if I see a mother going “Oh baby-waby wants his babawaba”, I’m not going to scoff at her for it. It’s her choice. I don’t care. She isn’t harming her kid.
Honestly I’m sick of the “Who’s the Best Mommy Ever” contest. It’s stupid. So someone parents different than you. Good for them, and good for you. Have a cookie together instead of having a pissing contest to see who’s got the most awesomeness going on.
Shame on you, TIME Magazine, for fostering the spirit of divisive degradation between mommy groups. Seriously. This shouldn’t even be an issue. Literally. It’s articles and discussion like that that led to me getting bullied, that led to me feeling like I was a crappy mother simply because I did things a little differently.