Health Parenting

Reaction To The Time Cover

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Let’s hop on down to the newsstand and check out what’s going on in the world today. I know we’ve got an election this year, which should be interesting to read about. Oh, and Obama comes out of the marriage equality closet. That’s got to be the talk of the town.  Nope, not at this newsstand. What else could people possibly be talking about? I know that Putin is once again the Russian president and we’re still involved in a war. There are challenges facing every nation throughout the world that I should read up on, so let’s go to the old standby that always provides great insight into the world’s business  — Time magazine.

Oh wait, is that an almost exposed booby on the cover? I’m in shock! I’m outraged! I’ve got to complain to someone about this! Here I was about to read about the many horrors and needs of the world and instead I stand looking at some 3 year old sucking on his momma’s teet. I wasn’t going to stand up and complain about the state of the world before, but now… now I’m going to start writing letters and making my opinions known.

I hoped you sensed my sarcasm.

I have some advice to those people that are so adamantly speaking out against the Time breastfeeding cover. You have no idea who you’re messing with. Never, and I mean never, ever tell a breastfeeding mother that what she is doing or how she is doing it is wrong. If you drive by a high school and right before the 16 year-old hugs his momma goodbye, the mom drops a boob and gives her teen a morning snack, don’t say anything.  If you do you’re asking for trouble. Just do what most men do when they are around a group of breastfeeding mothers, act like it’s no big deal. Because really, is it?

Instead of focusing on how weird it is for YOU to be viewing it, think about how amazing breastfeeding is. A mother has milk coming out of her boobs! The next time someone asks you who you would want to be stranded on a desert island with, answer a breastfeeding woman. She’d keep you alive and healthy.  (Though you might want to specify a breastfeeding mama with a pump, just to avoid any awkward assumptions…)

At first, when I saw the Time cover I thought, “I’m afraid for this boy. This picture will be used as ammunition for bullies for years to come.” Then I read that the mother is homeschooling her children, so a bully interaction is less likely than in a school setting. But it still could happen other places, unless, and this is a big unless, breastfeeding becomes such a norm that it isn’t that big of a deal. (This is already the case in most places throughout the world.) Hopefully, some good will come out of this picture and breastfeeding will continue to be accepted as a mother wanting to feed her child a healthy meal.

I do have a few issues with the cover, though. My first issue is that if it truly and accurately were portraying breastfeeding between a mother and a child, it wouldn’t look so pretty.  Breastfeeding is often an awkward dance between mother and child, with both trying to figure out a comfortable position that doesn’t involve an arm, hand or foot in a someone’s face.  I’ve never heard a mom say to a kid, “hey junior, how about you step up on a stool and eat.”

And my other issue is with not the picture, but the title. “Are You Mom Enough” is the caption next to the mother and kid. Breastfeeding doesn’t make you a good mom. Even spending a large amount of time with your children doesn’t make you a good mom. That is insulting to the working mothers out there that provide income for their children. Those working women might not be cranking out milk from their breasts, but they are filling their family’s bellies nonetheless. My wife pumps while working and then comes home to her family and gives the rest of her time and energy to them. Put that on a cover and say, “Are You Mom Enough.”

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8 comments

  1. oh my goodness the pic on your spendlor page of the lil girl in the bluebonnet field with her dress tucked in her bloomers is the absolute cutest thing ever only you would think to snap a pic like that i love it and with all those bluebonnets oh man it was perfect you are amazing erin!

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  2. Your comments about the title (“Are you Mom Enough” — which I am *hoping* was Time’s attempt at sarcasm) are spot on. Whatever a mom can do — breastfeed, pump, combination of both, neither — should be okay. I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed my one and only son (now 11, and thriving) until he was 3 years old; as far as I can tell, it was a wholly positive experience for both of us. But I know a lot of moms who couldn’t breastfeed (even with the help of lactation consultants), and you know what, their kids are thriving too, because their moms loved them and cared for them. Because as great as breastfeeding is, not being able to breastfeed isn’t the end of the world.

    That having been said, I am *so* SO over people saying it’s okay to breastfeed your child as long as you do it in the restroom (eww) or under a blanket or cape. I *adored* the picture of your three kids eating breakfast under a blanket, and shared it on FB.

    Powerful visual analogy! A good picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words.

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