A few years ago Time magazine ran a story about attachment parenting. On the cover of the magazine a slender blonde woman stood with one hand on her hip staring confidently into the camera. In front of her stood her four-year-old son on a chair, breastfeeding. The cover asked in bold red letters, “Are You Mom Enough?” It caused an uproar.
I’ll admit that my initial reaction to the cover was one of anger and offense, just like many other women. Even though John and I practice some aspects of attachment parenting, we don’t subscribe to it all; and I never breastfed my children for a single day, let alone for four years. Was I supposed to assume I wasn’t a good enough mom? The simple answer is, of course not. Do I think the headline was a poor decision? Yes. Do I think the mom on the cover would question whether or not I am a good enough mom? No.
So I wondered why I and many other women had such a strong reaction to a cover suggesting that we’re not enough. And the answer was uncomfortable and obvious: because I didn’t have the confidence in myself.
You see, when we really believe that who we are is enough, then offensive headlines don’t rattle us. Instead we see them for how ridiculous and false they are. We can chuckle and shake our heads, or even feel a bit of sadness and compassion for the ones who really believe it. It doesn’t knock us off course or reignite the “mommy wars.” But that’s only possible if we really believe that who we are is enough.
We’re overwhelmed with mom-guilt at every turn. Advertisers use it to their advantage, using phrases like, “Moms who want to do what’s best for their babies use (insert product),” implying that moms who don’t use their product either a) don’t know what’s best for their children, or b) don’t care to do what’s best for their children.
Instead of arguing over whose method is best or right and who is doing a good enough job, I wish we’d channel that energy into highlighting the wonderful things in each of the parenting styles we moms use and make this world a friendlier and safer place for moms in general.
Instead of arguing over breast versus bottle, I wish we’d recognize how privileged we are that we even get to make that choice. Let’s put our energy into making sure every mother everywhere can feed her baby.
Instead of battling about homeschool versus public school versus private school versus Montessori, I wish we’d join hands to make education accessible, meaningful, fun, interesting, and safe for all children everywhere in the world.
Instead of judging the mom hovering over her toddler at the park or sitting on the bench looking at her iPhone, I wish we’d chat more and smile more and high-five each other for getting out of the house on a sunny afternoon. I wish we’d recognize that there are women in the world who live in war zones and can’t let their children go outside, let alone drive five miles down the road to a nice (free) playground.
When we aren’t enough, no one is enough—and we duke it out to prove ourselves.
But if we could view ourselves and others the way God views us, we’d all be a little less ready to argue, a little less offended, a little less harsh, and a little less judgmental. We’d know just how much we have to offer this world and open ourselves up to running headfirst into those callings. We’d feel safe and secure and confident. We would celebrate each other and help each other and love each other better.
Excerpted from my new book, It’s Okay About It… click here to pre-order today!