If you're looking to share a laugh with a friend, swap parenting survival tactics and generally feel affirmed that, yes, you're doing fine, then you're in the right place. Welcome!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Aren't We All "Mom Enough"?

Even if you don't read Time Magazine, I'm sure you've heard of the sensationalistic cover story on attachment parenting (May 21, 2012 issue). Ah yes, the boob shot that sent shockwaves around the world.

The Time's article joined the larger discussion on attachment parenting recently set off by the marketing of French feminist and writer Elisabeth Badinter's book, The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women. Just in case you've managed to avoid getting bogged-down in this controversy, simply put, Badinter argues that attachment parenting is bad and anti-feminist because it requires mothers to focus their time and energy on their child(ren) to such a degree that the other aspects of these women's lives suffer (work, other relationships, self-image, etc.).

Now, whether you describe your parenting style as "attachment parenting" or not, I think is beside the point. What really bothered me, was that these two hugely-publicized writings have seemed to portray parenting in rather black-and-white hues: you're this or you're that, you're for or against, you're successful or you're a failure...

Whoa! When has parenting ever been able to be described in such stark, opposing terms? I know I take what I think is a good idea or theory, try it out to a greater or lesser extent, evaluate and modify as needed. As needed by what? As needed by my particular situation.

Take one of the main issues of controversy, co-sleeping, as an example. For some parents, this works great: baby sleeps well, you sleep well, baby feeds well, you enjoy the proximity to your child... For others, it doesn't: baby doesn't sleep well, baby doesn't feed well, you don't sleep well, you need some time without someone pawing at you...

For many of us, we end up doing some variation on co-sleeping: just when the baby is very young, just when the child is ill, just when the other parent is away...

What is best? Whichever set-up keeps us sane and feeling overall positive towards our children. Why? Because then we can lovingly parent our youngsters in our conscious hours. And that's what being "mom enough" really means.

Thankfully, all this hyperbolic, polarizing stuff has brought out some moderates and qualifiers as well. For a few balanced, "expert" insights check out the Globe and Mail's continuing discussion and the NYT's blog, Motherlode.


  1. i'd say just play it by ear. and if one is lucky enough to have parents/relatives who managed ok in their days (!!), take their inputs into account. things should work out ok ...

    1. We sometimes forget that, as parents, we *will* mess up our children! (Who doesn't have "issues"?) But, for the most part, we all seem to turn out okay... :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...