Time magazine cover is exactly why it is so confusing to be a Latina mom in the US

Attachment parenting, or "parenting by book" as my mother likes to say, is dominating the news right now. One, because regardless of how you feel about a woman's right to breastfeed, it is shocking to see the look, and size, of the little boy on the Time magazine cover and two, because for a cover about motherhood in America, the story inside is largely about a male doctor, Dr. Bill Sears.

Dr. Sears encourages moms to wear their babies in slings, co-sleep and breastfeed until, well, I don't know, maybe forever. Wait, isn't being forced to raise a child this way exactly why our parents and grandparents came to this country?


Read more ¿Qué más? TIME magazine breastfeeding cover shows why attachment parenting is NOT for me

I don't know about you but all the stories I grew up hearing about co-sleeping and long term breastfeeding were about the poverty that sent our immigrant parents to look for a better life in this county. Co-sleeping? Yes but in large part because there was no room or money for cribs. Wearing your baby in a sling? Well yeah, how else were you going to get anything done or get anywhere since, again, no money for strollers or no strollers to be had. Cloth diapers and making your own baby food--it was cheaper.

And the long-term breastfeeding. This is tricky for people and really does feed into how you were raised. When you are the first generation child of an immigrant--any kind of immigrant, not just Latinos--the pressure to succeed, the pressure to make all the sacrifices your parents made for you worth it, is tremendous. As the first person in my family to get a bachelor's degree and be a "professional" I can tell you, any time I came close to an attachment parenting technique, my mother flipped out on me: "Why would you do that--I didn't have a choice, you do?"

And this is the whole point--mothering in this country should be about having a choice, not being asked by Time magazine if you are "mother enough" based off a book by a male doctor, who will never suffer the infections in his breasts that come with long-term breastfeeding.

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My grandmother, who was raising her children at a different time, when there wasn't formula, sold her breast milk to make money. Yes, people did that. She also almost died from infection because she was breastfeeding for so long. And since we are on the topic, how exactly does Dr. Sears think all the women who are "mother enough" are keeping their children fed and covered by health insurance? Oh, right, since the dad isn't strapped to the baby, he can do it. Not sure about Dr. Sears' economic reality, but that just isn't the case for most people. Both parents have to work to make ends meet.

It is just another moment where being Latina in this country means you are surrounded by incredible mixed messages. In this case, I am going with my mother and grandmother and exercising the choices they didn't have. And I am pretty sure that makes me plenty mother enough.

What do you think about the cover? Tell us in the comments below?

Image via Time magazine

Topics: latest news  multicultural kids  how to parent  raising bilingual kids


on May 11, 2012 at 1:51 PM

I posted my comment on facebook because this area would not allow me to say all I had to say. I think Stacy Rivera's take on the time article is completely wrong and only seen in a negative way. Our parents came to America to give us the ability to choose and decide for ourselves!!!! We have that right as women & parents!!!

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on May 11, 2012 at 6:47 PM

When I first saw the cover for TIME magazine I knew immediately that it would inevitably stir controversy.  But after reading further and listening to the mother this morning on Good Morning America it became clear to me.  And the clarity came in the form of a realization: I was actually a member of the "attachment parenting" group.  I didn't know it was a group, or a segment of people/parents but I guess I fall into this category.  I nursed my son for 5 months (unfortunately work hours didn't permit it) and l nursed my daughter to the age of 3 (the age of the boy on the cover), I co-slept with both my children until they were about 4 or 5.   I remember carrying my daughter in a sling to do household chores.  I didn't do any of these things to belong -as i said earlier to a  group, or a segment of people/parents, I did it because I wanted to.

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on May 11, 2012 at 6:47 PM

I worked a full time job that required long hours, evening meeting and functions, as well as travel.  So when I did have the opportunity to be close to my children I took it.  I didn't think twice about it and I definitely don't regret it, nor did I allow anyone to shame me (as some people attempted to do).  I understand it's not for everyone I think this article serves to give another point of view.  It doesn't mean everyone else must now adhere to this train of thought in fact Dr. Sears says he's offering "tools not rules."   I hope that what I wrote does not offend anyone but I did this in my household because it was my choice.  I loved nursing and after a long day of work or crazy meeting there was nothing sweeter or more rewarding than to wind down and think I'm home. 

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on May 11, 2012 at 11:18 PM
I love Dr. Sears and i a true believer in the "attachment parenting" Is it a choice? yes, will attachment parenting make you a better mom? no, I believe that everyone is different and one has to decide what parenting style fits your personality and that of your child.
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on May 12, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Are you Mom enough?

Tricky title to understand and some can get offended by it. I understand and to be honest I haven't read the article but judging only the title and the photo and me being a breastfeeding Mom of a 4 year-old and a 8 month baby I found the photo artistic, funny and beautiful, because is a Mother in the most purest and simple way showing affection to her son and her son loving that. I don't criticizes Moms that do not breastfeed that's a choice or a situation or even a medical condition in some cases and that's life, choices and situations that we need to go through every day, but to judge and burn somebody for doing what's Natural because we are in a new millennium and an advanced society is plain ignorant, and calling gross any mother while giving love and affection plus food and live to her kid is beyond reason. I think that's part of the meaning of the title, Are you Mom enough?, because by doing what is natural and motherly with what is ours, our children, we get criticizes and punish by a lot of people specially other Moms. The title, Are you Mom enough?, the way I look at it is about the sacrifices, personally, professionally, and with our families, that we need to endure by making the commitment to feed our babies and children. Am I a better Mom than others, Yes, just ask my husband or my oldest son and look at my baby's eyes and they will tell you and say that, I'm Mom enough, probably like must or all of you. 

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on May 12, 2012 at 6:20 PM

And I want to add... I have been breastfedding  for 4 years and I never suffered any infection due breastfeeding. 

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