Unfortunately, by now most moms have heard the term “mommy wars” and know exactly what that means, whether from first-hand experience or reading about it in the news. It’s a topic especially fresh on people’s minds at the moment thanks to TIME magazine’s latest cover, captioned “Are You Mom Enough?”
The image and wording on the cover of the magazine is purposefully controversial- a young mom stands while her 3-year-old (who, to myself and others I’ve talked to, looks to be more around 5) stands on a chair, nursing. To some moms, extended nursing is a completely natural thing, but this image is so striking and almost defiant that it seems to want to cause shock. And I’ll admit, my first reaction was just that.
This is exactly what irritates me. While extended nursing wouldn’t be in my plans, I’ve always tried to be respectful and understanding of other moms’ choices. As someone who pumped and supplemented with formula, I’ve been on the other end of the spectrum – not nursing, but still knowing I was making the right choice for me and my family. I want people to recognize that, and respect my decisions however different they may be from their own. And so, it’s been vitally important to me to remember there are a lot of “right” options out there. This is why it frustrated me completely that I was driven to this gut reaction of shock, over a topic I’d already come to a conclusion on. The editors of TIME wanted to cause reactions, and, well, they did.
Aside from the image, the wording couldn’t be more polarizing. But beyond that, I think it’s irresponsible, when there are plenty of moms out there who already don’t feel like they’re enough. When you’ve got new moms out there, still finding their place, some dealing with postpartum depression or other levels of hormonal imbalance, it is wrong to imply that there’s some quality that makes a mom “enough.” You’re not better if you nurse, or better if you use formula. You’re not better if you cloth diaper or better if you stick with disposables. You are the absolute best mom for your child because you love them with all of your heart and are there for everything they need, regardless of how you choose to meet those needs.
I’m hoping the result of this controversial cover is to create enough indignation in moms that we, as a group, realize the ridiculous nature of pitting one “type” of mom against another. That we realize choices different from ours aren’t wrong, just different. That every mom is “enough”, and we’ve had enough of the mommy wars.