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I’m A Fake Mom

Thank you, TIME Magazine, for putting a spotlight on attachment parenting.  Some principals of attachment parenting, and I’m not about to list them all, include breastfeeding and often extending the feeding for longer than typical parents would, co-sleeping with the child, no childcare for more than 20 hours per week for children younger than 30 months, avoiding feeding schedules, and never spanking or yelling.  Obviously the TIME cover made the general public focus mainly on the breastfeeding piece of attachment parenting, asking all us other women if we are “mom enough” to do what this mom did.

I am the mother of a soon to be seven year old boy and I am proud to say that I’m not even half the woman the TIME mom is.  I didn’t breastfeed at all due to a vitamin deficiency that forced me to supplement on formula, prompting me to decide to skip breastfeeding altogether and stick with Enfamil.  I did scheduled feedings, ensuring my son got the right amount of ounces per feeding and panicking when he seemed to spit up everything he just drank.  I slept in my room and he slept in his, and he was in daycare at 18 months old when I quit my nighttime bartending job and got a “real” office job to earn better money.  My son is a happy and healthy kid, incredibly intelligent, active and thriving, and other than his inability to keep his hands to himself in kindergarten, I have zero complaints about his development or behavior.  I love the kid and he knows it.

I’m happy with my decision to skip breastfeeding and I plan to skip it if/when my husband and I have a baby, although I WILL be pumping it out and bottling it.  I’m very weirded out by the entire breast feeding process and I want nothing to do with it whatsoever.  It’s a personal thing and I don’t think it makes me any less of a mom to feel this way.  Perhaps my husband will change my mind, but I don’t see how holding my baby to my breast will make me bond deeper with him or her.  I bonded with my son the minute I saw his little purple face and heard his cry.  We share little looks and inside jokes that I’m sure make no sense and I have amazing memories from his time growing and learning.  My feeding method did nothing to help or hinder that; our bond comes from the fact that I love the hell out of that kid and I would do anything in this world for him.

Another thing that I am not mom enough to do is arrange a co-sleeping arrangement with my child and future children.  My son, as an infant, would often nap on my bed or with me on the couch during the day, but when it was time for me to sleep (or attempt to) we went to our separate rooms.  My bedroom is a private place at night, meant for my husband and myself, and eventually our pup dog who thinks he’s people.  I saw no need to have a bassinette in the bedroom, nor do I see a reason to have sleepover parties as a way to help my child’s development and self esteem.  I want my child to learn that his room is his place for privacy, as mine is for myself and my husband, and that he deserves that privacy and should enjoy it as he sees fit.  I don’t want to raise a clingy codependent child by gluing him to my side and not even allowing him alone time to rest.

In a perfect and ideal world, we wouldn’t need childcare.  Sadly, I have these annoying things called bills that refuse to go away, so I need a steady job with good hours and high pay.  This means my son and future babies will need to be in childcare at an early age.  Unless someone out there would like to gift me with a few million to pad my account, I can’t afford to keep my kids home until they reach three, or until kindergarten.  My husband can’t afford to stay at home at this point in time either.  Assuming his novel takes off as I hope, he can definitely do so in the future and keep our boy and hypothetical future kids out of daycares, but for us and for many couples, it’s not realistic and simply doesn’t make financial sense.  I would love to be able to save up a nice chunk of cash to give to my son after graduating high school for college, an apartment, or wherever life decides to take him, but I can’t do that if I don’t work and I can’t work without daycare.

Am I less of a mom because I disagree with attachment parenting and I don’t follow their rules and guidelines?  I don’t know.  I was mom enough to fight through a pregnancy solo, holding two jobs and struggling every step of the way from the positive test to the drive home from the hospital.  I was mom enough to remove him from living situations that were convenient for me but harmful to him.  I was mom enough to keep him healthy and consult doctors immediately at an early age when he had breathing issues (that are gone now).  I was mom enough to be picky about daycares and do what I had to do to ensure he was in a good one and was happy.  I was mom enough to teach him right from wrong and feed him knowledge, making him the smarty pants he is today.  I was mom enough to now have a kid who loves me to pieces and refuses to leave me at his school without a hug and a kiss.  Maybe I’m not mom enough for the TIME Magazine mom and maybe I’m not mom enough for you ladies who breast feed until your kid boards the bus to kindergarten, but I’m mom enough for my kid and that’s all that matters.

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on May 16, 2012, in Kids, News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. That’s great and all but if you expect people to respect your opinion about not breast feeding, then you should not hate on the mom on the Time magazine cover. Who cares what other people do, just do what YOU want to do. Live and let live. We all do things for our children with good intentions in mind.

    • How is posing on the cover of a magazine that is distributed nationally with your breast out and your toddler clinging to the nipple something done with good intentions? How does that help the child? It’s fine to be proud, but not okay to use a child who has no say in the matter as a tool for getting a message across, especially in this manner. It’s irresponsible and was done without thought on how it affects the child. If the Time mom was concerned with her child’s well being, she would not have used him to boast about her parenting plans. What happens to this child when he is older and becomes known as the kid who couldn’t get off his mom’s breast at a normal age? What happens when he begins to feel abnormal or is treated as such? Why didn’t Time mom pump and allow her child to drink milk out of a cup instead of latching him onto her breast for the world to see?
      I understand the benefits of breast feeding and the bond it creates between a mother and her child, but at a certain age, it’s time to put the girls away. We are not meant to breastfeed after a certain age and certainly not meant to see our mother’s breasts after a certain age. Breast milk is perfectly fine, and I’ve heard of some mothers continuing to pump well after childbirth, using the milk as a beverage and a cooking ingredient for their families. That’s their prerogative and it’s acceptable. What is not acceptable is to have this poor kid exposed to the world like he was, exposed to his mother like he is, and not allowed to leave breastfeeding behind along with his diapers and pacifier.
      What the Time mom did was selfish. The good intentions she has for her child are outweighed by the negative aspects. Had she left this in the privacy of her home, I obviously wouldn’t care, but she decided to expose this to the world and other confused moms followed suit. She crossed a line without thinking about her child’s future. Her concern was the pride a mother should have in breastfeeding, not the negative backlash that comes from having a pre-kindergarten age child still suckling on mom’s teat.
      And no, we don’t all do things for our children with good intentions in mind. People hurt their children every day with full intent to do so. People hurt their children by ignoring the child’s needs and solely focusing on their own. People hurt their children by being absent, by being selfish, by being misinformed, and by being bad parents overall.
      I should care greatly about what other people do, not just what I do. It’s not “live and let live” because the actions of others affect my life in some way, be it big or small. I don’t want to live in a world that hates the LGBT community, for example, so I try to do my part to change that, even though it doesn’t really matter in my life as a straight woman. I donate money to help abused animals, not because my animals are abused or being I am an abuser, but because the abuse is wrong and I want to help. If something is wrong, I speak out. The weak stay quiet and “live and let live.” If you’re content being weak, so be it, but I’m not going to stand in the shadows.

    • The simple fact that Child Protective Services exist makes this comment ridiculous.

  2. I am an indian american (not native american) I don’t agree with your point that parents hurt their children intentionally, may be because I was grown up in a culture where parents are treated as gods, may be they are not perfect all the time but they will never hurt their children. I am a single parent child I lost my mother when I was 2 and can’t even remember her my father raise me. We are 4 brothers no female in the family my father was always there when we need them. He never thought of getting remarried just take care of us he gave us the love of mother and father he gave us good education and we all are settle well he still lives with me and I love his presence in the house I always get direction from him what to do in life. how could possibly parents hurt there children what they do is always good for there children I disagree with your comment. Secondly I would comment on your not co sleeping idea we all siblings use to share your parent’s bad at some stage of time and it feel nothing wrong to me as well as to our father , my father is very open to me and we were sometime talking about why do western world don’t let their children sleep in their bed he told me when we were kids he can’t even think of being not in the room when we are sleeping he likes it see us sleeping next to us. We were grown better and I don’t think we are dependent on anyone we are doing great. When you say that you can let your puppy sleep with you why not your own child. I absolutely disagree that breastfeeding help bonding mother to her child, yes it does I don’t about your case, all the babies in our family are breastfeed and it was good for everyone it make babies healthy and happy whether you agree or not. I am also a father of a wonderful 14 year old girl and soon going to a dad of a baby boy with my first we co sleep (with side car crib arrangement) we are going to do same with our second one too. We always have a good bonding with her we let her decide when not to co sleep we award her with some gifts when she first slept in her own room and she was very happy at that moment, some people give the argument that child will become dependent it is not the case even in japan there is the culture of co sleeping is very common are they not doing well all asian, central america, mediterranean europe are doing such things and its natural I really appreciate those parents who co sleep, what in america is considered as shame. I don’t want to change your way of thinking or anyone else what I feel I describe no offense

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