The Convivial Mama Joins the Time Cover Photo Debate

With Mother’s Day this weekend, I’m getting a head start on the celebration by joining in the conversations that are bubbling to the surface online and in print about a beautiful, mysterious, golden handcuffs kind of experience called motherhood.

After a long day of taking care of my convivial clan, I snuck away for some late night reading.

I came across this article about the on-going debate over the so-called “controversial” cover photo of Time Magazine. Take a look:

Are you offended by the image? Is it too much for you? Or does it possibly bring back fond memories as it does for me?

First of all, controversial photo my ass. That image is not offensive. It’s a reality for many people (the attachment parenting fans). I’m not exactly one of them.

The purpose of the photo was to spark a debate and Time succeeded in getting it started.

Hello! Raising my hand to speak on the subject! Thank you for granting me the floor. Ahem…(clearing my throat and straightening imaginary collar)

I’ve got a bone to pick with The View. Of all media outlets, they blurred the woman’s breast and the boy’s mouth at her breast when showing the image to their audience. What ridiculous censorship for a show that’s supposedly known to go there.

That little boy is close to the same age as my son and I personally wouldn’t have my son at my breast nursing at that age, because first, I need my space, and second, I’ve given him other options to occupy and sooth himself, because I love him to death and believe my role as his mother is to teach him how to thrive in this world without me.

What I couldn’t help thinking was “What was that poor little boy thinking as they shot that pic?” Apparently, he’s the son of the cover model, so being at his mother’s breast is the norm for him, but being at her breast with who knows how many photographers and lighting props surrounding him, well, how does that experience serve him?

“Are you Mom enough?”

I think that’s a fantastic title to point out the underlying and overt competition that is rampant among women-turned-mothers. As if young girls and women in general don’t have to deal enough with feeling inadequate and unworthy, now they have to be subjected to it when they become mothers.

I’ve observed it and have directly encountered this scenario of women asking questions to determine “how mom enough” someone is. I detest it. I’ve experienced it and have smelled the judgment in the air towards me from other mothers. It’s a foul stench I like to steer clear of, but am not always successful.

A bit of my own story as it relates to this whole business of being “mom enough”.

:: I made the conscious decision to become a mother at 28.

:: I didn’t conceive my two boys easily, but instead of going the invitro route- which is very common nowadays- I drove from Dallas to Austin to experience Mayan Abdominal Massage and both times worked to help me get pregnant.

:: I had both my sons naturally. As in…no epidural, no medicine, nothing and I didn’t shed a tear with either kid. I simply dimmed the lights, focused my breathing as one would in an intense yoga class, asked those present to be silent unless I spoke to them, and the music of Mysteria played in the background.

:: I breastfed both of my boys until they were a year old. I was purposeful in weaning them when I did.

And…the hardest and most unexpected decision of them all…

:: I made the choice to sacrifice my ability to earn my own money so I could enjoy and be my child’s FIRST teacher and caregiver in the early years. I had no idea how long I could do this, economically and mentally speaking (it takes a lot of zeros, neurons and cojones!), but that was the path I took thanks to the book Creating A Life.

Did I make any of the aforementioned decisions so I could be considered “Mom enough”?

Hell no! I’m a mother regardless of the details and experience. I’ve got the two kids to prove it.

I made all of those choices, because they suited me.

I did not choose to have my children au naturel in the delivery room so I could have bragging rights at mommy playgroups.

After awhile, it started to get under my skin when I’d be asked, “So, did you have your kid’s naturally or c-section?”
What does it matter, they’re here aren’t they? They’re healthy, aren’t they? But I know…I know, it was probably just an innocent question, but over time, it just felt like a way for women to size one another up and I don’t like being sized up…no one does.

Natural Childbirth

Why I had my kids naturally…

1) Two of my close friends did it, so I thought, why can’t I?

2) My body was made for having babies, so I chose to trust in its ability to…have a baby.


I nursed my sons, because that is what my breasts are naturally made to do. Simple.

I didn’t do it so I could bond with other breast-feeding mothers, or so I could wear those stylish covers, or so I could necessarily bond with my baby (that was bound to happen in many other ways). And I didn’t do it so I could feel better about myself around the mothers who weren’t able to nurse their kids.

It was simply the best food and medicine for my child, my body was able to produce the milk, and best of all, it freaking saved my family a ton of money. It also saved me the hassle of carrying bottles and formula everywhere.

I remember when I first moved into my last house in Dallas, I saw my neighbor sitting on her front porch holding her five year old daughter. I was headed out for a walk and she was telling me something, but I couldn’t hear her, so I got a bit closer and realized she was breast feeding her daughter! Yes, I was a bit shocked, because her child was huge, but something told me, “To each his own…” and I didn’t judge her for it. Why should I?

People just have their own ways of doing things and if their lifestyle choices don’t sit well with you, then don’t mix and mingle with them. Be respectful and cordial and get on with your life.

Birds of a feather flock together…

This whole deal about attachment parenting, about whether you’re a working mom or not, whether you choose to hover over your child or teach them independence at a very young age, etc., I say just give people the room and the respect to live as they please. If they aren’t harming anyone in the process, then mind your business.

If Alicia Silverstone wants to behave like she’s a mama bird feeding her baby bird, mouth to mouth and literally speaking, then that’s her life and the experience between her and her son.

If certain celebrities want to have their placenta preserved, dried and ground into a vitamin supplement for them to consume, then that’s their world and their body to nourish. I could share my opinion, and I always have one, but for the most part, I’m indifferent.

What matters is what I want to do in my life, with my family, how it affects me and my family, how it makes me and my family feel, and so forth.

People judging one another for the choices they make, in how they raise their kids, in the words of Ronald Miller from the movie Can’t Buy Me Love…

“Man, it’s all bullshit. It’s just tough enough to be yourself,” or in this case, a mom.

If you’re a mother, I want you to know this…whether you birth naturally or not, are hip to baby wearing or attachment parenting, if you nurse or buy formula, if you have to get out of the house to work or you’d rather be at your child’s every beck and call, that is your choice.

What can never be debated is this:

You are a force that cannot be reckoned with, because you have the ability to give life.

Next time someone wants to question whether you’re “mom enough,” let them know there is no such thing, there is only the reality that you make humanity possible, you birth the world.

Happy Mother’s Day,


2 Responses so far. Add Your Own.

Amen sister!

11 May 12

Hallelujah amiga!


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