yes, i’m mom. ENOUGH.

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To say the cover of this week’s Time magazine is provocative would be an understatement:

When I saw the photo, I sighed. I get that extreme parenting makes headlines and sells magazines, but I’m so tired of this worn-out song. Look at this model mommy – she looks like a million bucks AND practices attachment parenting like a pro! She probably even got to shower this morning! SHE WINS!

But beyond the titillating cover shot, the headline is what bothers me most: “Are You Mom Enough?”

Demanding, defiant, pushy, probing – it’s exactly the kind of gut-punch-to-insecurity question that drives me nuts about today’s treatment of parenting in the media. Enough with the mommy wars, enough with the attachment parenting debatesParenting is not a competitive sport. It’s not a test to be aced or a contest to be won.

It’s a relationship – a way of being with others in the world. It’s a calling – a lifelong commitment. It’s a leap of faith – a journey we start without knowing how it will end.

I am a mom. A pretty new mom. Equal parts clueless and hopeful. I make a lot of mistakes, but I want to learn. I love my kids fiercely.

I think that’s enough.

While parenting shouldn’t fall prey to the self-esteem movement either – everyone gets a trophy! - it deserves to be treated as a complex, challenging calling. No theory will neatly solve its dilemmas, no ideology will produce perfection, no single decision will promise success. In fact, I wish we could banish “perfection” and “success” from our parenting discussions entirely. My inner critic doesn’t need any more help; does yours?

We’re called to be faithful parents, not successful ones.

Faithful parents keep their children’s best interests at heart and work hard to make choices that will speak to their changing needs as they grow. They stay true to their kids, not a theory or an expert.

Faithful parents know they need partners in parenting, and they find the help they need to raise their children: friends, family, doctors, nurses, teachers, day-care providers and babysitters. Faithful parents seek out community so they don’t have to go it alone.

Faithful parents try to forgive themselves for their shortcomings and forgive their kids for being human, too.

Faithful parents learn that they can’t do everything, but they can do enough.

In two days we’ll celebrate motherhood. Biological, adopted, foster, step, grand, and “other.” Flip through Mother’s Day cards at Hallmark and you’ll see this beautiful diversity: women who are faithful to the children in their lives, regardless of relationship. None of those cards are about success. None of our mothers “won.” But they were faithful. And that is enough.

Are you mom enough?

You, with your insecurities and doubts and fears? But your fierce, faithful love for the children in your life?

Yes, you are. Enough.

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5 thoughts on “yes, i’m mom. ENOUGH.

    G said:
    May 11, 2012 at 10:32 am

    as an “other” mother at this point in my life, i didn’t grasp the full scale of what the magazine was calling out. i don’t hear alot about attachment parenting. thanks for the perspective and for the great reminder that language- perfection-success are not helpful terms to use when living as an engaged person in this world- regardless of vocation, temporary or otherwise. great post, great thinking.
    ~the “other”

      mothering spirit responded:
      May 11, 2012 at 10:42 am

      The article is about the theory of attachment parenting (which includes extended breast-feeding, usually well into toddlerhood) and Dr. Sears who is the well-known “expert” that promotes this approach to parenting. There’s been a lot of buzz lately about whether this approach to parenting is pushing modern mothers to the extreme – i.e. thinking that they have to breastfeed, co-sleep with their babies, “wear” their babies in carriers most of the time, etc., in order for their children to have the healthiest development. Click on the “attachment parenting debates” link in my post to go to the NYTimes’ recent gathering of voices on what effect this is having on feminism. I’m pretty exasperated with strict ideologies of parenting, but I’m more worried about the effects of this language that implies parenting is something to be won, that you can be “better” at it than others based on the particular decisions to make about raising your child.

    mamacravings said:
    May 11, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I COMPLETELY agree with you!

    My parenting style leans towards attachment parenting…I actually didn’t intend for it to. It’s just what has worked for our family. I didn’t know it even had a name until I was already br, co-sleeping and baby wearing.
    That being said, I HATE this cover. The pic doesn’t bother me so much as the title. I hate that they would push the idea of one type of parenting as being the right type of parenting. Each family has to do what works within their home. Each family has the right to decide what is best for the development of each child. To say that there is a black and white (besides the obvious of abuse) is ridiculous! It’s sad that TIME is trying to pit mother against mother. We should be working together!
    We have the hardest job in the world! We will be more successful with the support of fellow mothers, with non-judgemental input and advise, with the understanding that it’s okay to not parent exactly as the next mother.

    Leanne@ Life Happens When said:
    May 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Thank you. Amen. You said it, as always!

    I am SOOO sick of this! As long as a child is loved and his basic needs are being met, WHO CARES how the mother is making it happen.

    The sole reason that I doubt myself and feel as much guilt as I do about my personal parenting choices is because of this nonsense. I’ve had enough.

    And yes, I’m “mom enough” to wake up with my crying child in the night, to clean up his vomit, to feed, wipe bottoms, bathe, wipe noses, laugh, kiss, clothe, cuddle, read, sing, and play with my children. To comfort, to make boo boos better, to teach them about love, faith, respect for others. To rock them. To tell them I love them. And show them I love them by taking care of their every need and many of their wants.

    I LOVE my children with a love that surpasses understanding or explanation. Likewise my children are healthy, happy, loving, and developmentally perfect (straight from their doctor’s mouth). None of that is because of the choices I’ve made in my parenting style and has everything to do with love.

    To the world at large that wants to continue to stir the pot of this mama drama, I’m no longer listening.

    Sarah said:
    May 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    You said it! I’m startled by the magazine cover, the headline and all the hub-bub swirling around it. ugh. Not what I needed to see just prior to Mother’s Day.
    It’s this type of media attention/hype that gets the fighting words out from all camps trying to ‘one up’ each other. Can’t we support one another as mom’s and women? I’m tired of us all comparing ourselves to one another.
    I am mom enough. I am mom enough for these children God bestowed on me. Although not perfect, I’m trying my best and using the grace God gives me for my children.

    Excellent post! Well said!

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