The Time Magazine article “ Are You Mom Enough?” sat on my desk for a few days before I read it. I couldn’t get past the cover. I imagined that the article inside would be as controversial as the cover and frankly I wasn’t interested in reading that. So it took me a few days to push past my feelings and read the entire article.
I surprised myself; I had no issue with the article, probably because I don’t care how long you breastfeed. If extended breastfeeding works in your life, then go for it. I don’t care. Or should I say—it’s none of my business. There in lies my problem with this entire Time Magazine piece.
The title and the staging of the cover to propagate the Mommy Wars was my issue!
“Are You Mom Enough?”
Throughout my career I’ve been around a lot of photo shoots. The person being shot is not in charge, the photographer is. The photo is ultimately the photographer’s vision. Maybe it’s just me, but I got the impression that the mom in the photo was angry. Positioned by the photographer, her body was arched with her hand on her hip, sending the unconscious message, I’m young, very fit, and beautiful. I know I’m right and that makes you wrong.
Then I watched the Today Show video. As a parent educator and coach I know that the way someone says something and their body language reveal a lot about themselves and the situation. Based on the cover photo I would have expected the mom on the cover to have an angry edge to her voice and be slightly disconnected physically to her child. But Jamie Lynne Grumet has a very sweet voice and was very connected to her child, warmly comforting him while on air.
“Are You Mom Enough?” According to whom? Who gets to decide if I’m mom enough? Who is in charge of the rating system that decides if any of us are mom enough? These kinds of statements create parenting pressure and do nothing but cause moms to turn on each other to justify their choices.
The Heart of the Mommy Wars
I believe that the purpose of the cover was controversy and selling magazines. But there is a true human cost to this: the pitting of mom against mom. The magazine did what they did. The pitting of mom against mom, we did that. We, the moms, let that happen. We judged, compared and competed with each other. We, the moms think it’s okay to prove our opinions are right by making others wrong, aka the Mommy Wars. I disagree!
All Moms are “Mom Enough”
The moment a child comes into our lives, whether we birth them, adopt or inherit them, we become part of the sisterhood of mothering. As a sisterhood of moms, women, and human beings we have the responsibility to model what we want our children to learn. Not to model behavior that is judgmental and attacking.
Everyone has a right to their opinion, everyone. I recently heard a conversation between Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor (D) and professor at UC Berkeley and Alan Simpson, former U.S. Senator (R). Reich said, “I just love this man, really we’re great friends, and I don’t agree with a thing he says!” We, as moms, can do that too.
None of us are 100 percent correct, and none of us are 100 percent wrong. We are all tasked with learning from our experiences in life, just like our kids. We are all tasked with learning how our choices impact our lives, our kids’ lives, and the lives of others. I beg you to be tolerant. Let moms make their choices. Have your opinion; just don’t make others wrong in the process.
If we can do that, then the Time Magazine piece’s divisive tactics will not have been in vain. They will have helped moms join forces to empower each other.
It’s just my opinion.
Sharon Silver is the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding and The Authentic Parent Series. Go to proactiveparenting.net to download two free chapters from her book and learn about other Proactive Parenting programs. Find Sharon on Twitter and Facebook.