Childrearing

Dear TIME Magazine: I Am ‘Mom Enough,’ Thank You Very Much

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As an AP parent, some days I want nothing more than to return to my previous life in order to re/experience the painstaking minutiae of Grown-Up Lady Problems. I really do! But having children was a move to break from that state. I will eventually return once I and my children are ready and yet, I find the privileged tone of the intellectual discussions surrounding what is considered “of value,” and that which is subjectively valued in motherhood are conveniently left out of discussions spearheaded by women who claim to care about my mental status. I mean, don’t you find that kind of alarming? Or am I missing something?

Now permit me to dispel a little rumor that doesn’t fit with the popular misconception about Attachment Parenting. One of the basic tenets of AP is that in order for this method of parenting to work it has to be mutually satisfying. Yes, it is child-led and child-centered, but if Mommy and Daddy aren’t able to see the reciprocal relationship through to its most “natural conclusion,” then it won’t work. Which means it is not for everyone. But the beauty of choice means it doesn’t have to be. And no, you are not a failure or a sell-out if it doesn’t work for you or if you decide to claim Just Mother status on your business card. You get to choose. That is feminist.

Also, I’m willing to be unpopular and state that these hypothetical pro-woman narratives that privilege seemingly un/burdened mothers are anti-child. Because if we’re to believe what the radical feminists tell us, child-bearing/rearing creates a biological power imbalance and, yes, “enslaves” women. Meaning that some of us don’t even get points for trying! But I have to ask, if feminism seeks the actualization of women, why doesn’t it fight to make women equal amongst ALL women?

The point, dear women, is that alternative methods to child-raising and non-mainstream points of view do not have to measure up to your subjective standards of parenting. In fact, these methods were designed without a mainstream audience in mind in order to give women a set of choices that best suit their lives, not yours. So I’m very curious as to why we care. And why do we mock and undermine the women who make different choices than us? Sometimes the round hole is just the round hole and couldn’t care less about fitting into the square peg.

At the end of the day, I have to find some way to appreciate the women who carry the torch for a womanhood that eschews “dictatorial children” and banishes them and their parents from so-called adult environments, and I also have to find a way to appreciate and respect the woman who does the complete opposite. Can you do this, too?

(Photo: Lisa S. /Shutterstock)

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