These days, I've been thinking a lot about growing up. Since I haven't officially given myself license to do so, I've been having some serious conflict with myself. One side of me gets tattoos without a care in the world because I'm 37 and don't need to answer to anyone. The other side of me is afraid to tell my parents about them.
But I'm sitting here at 1 AM - sick as a dog with some stupid virus or something- feeling like I'm 87. Old words like salve and ointment and hot water bottle are flowing through my head making me think I need them all right now. This is the first time I've felt old in years. But still, I want my mommy.
My thirties are so peculiar. When I was a kid, people who were 37 were ancient old. They were our parents' age. They were NOT cool. They had grey hair and drank white wine spritzers. But now I'm 37 and I feel pretty darn young. It's a strange feeling. I sometimes just stare at my kids in awe, wondering how it's possible they are mine since I'm only 12 at heart. I still like to climb trees and ride bikes.
Hey. No matter what your age, you're only as old as you feel.
I've come to a conclusion: I'm not old and I never will be. I might not be as spry as I once was, but I'll certainly try to be for as long as this body will let me. I have come up with an exact description of how I feel. All of us thirty-somethings who still rock out in the car with the music blasting and windows open and still can't believe we have driver's licenses , we are the Youth Gone Mild.
At this point, we've probably all seen the photo of the mom breast feeding her son on the cover of Time magazine. If you haven't, it's a picture of a very pretty young mom standing next to a chair that holds her son who's feeding from her breast. It's not provocative or anything. Besides the fact that the young boy's slumped shoulders are telling everyone he's had enough and wants a nap, the picture's really no big deal.
Over time, I've seen several magazines showing women breast feeding their children - National Geographic and Vanity Fair to name two. I think it's beautiful and wonderful. That picture isn't what's bothersome. If that mom on the cover wants to breast feed her baby until he's 45 years-old and has a milk mustache on his real mustache (I stole that from a Facebook comment I had read because it is awesome) that's her perogative.
What makes me so mad I could spit fire is the headline that goes along with it:
'Are You MOM ENOUGH?' - with the "mom enough" part written in huge bold bright red letters.
All day today, I've been bothered by this headline. It's made its way under my skin. It's festering in there with all the other terrible back-and-forth bullshit that comes along with differences in parenting opinions. It's making me itch.
I don't care how you raise your kids so why do you care about how I am raising mine, Time magazine? Oh wait...you're not a parent. You're a magazine. You have no soul or feelings. You can just throw out insults with no repercussions, because you're not human.
Since you're just a pile of paper held together with staples, I'll fill you in on how humans (specifically moms) think. If you throw out a question about the way we do stuff, it makes us wonder why you're asking. It forces us - without wanting to- to question our abilities and compare ourselves to others. We constantly want to be sure we are doing the right thing. Even if we act like we don't care, we do. Not because we need to be better than other moms, but because we need to know that we're doing right by our kids.
There is no tell-all manual that lets us know the real rules of parenting. There is no end result where we can sit back and say, "WOW! I did a great job on that kid." Sometimes we use outside sources to give us an idea of our progress - children's school report cards, well visits at the doctor's office, happy compliments from strangers... things like that. Otherwise, we have to just keep plugging along doing things the best way we know how, with no knowledge if it's the right way or wrong way.
So when you slap us in the face with a bold bright red question like 'Are you Mom Enough?' it feels like a threat and it hurts. Mom enough for who? For you? As stated before, you're a magazine. What kind of answer are you looking for? It seems you're not looking for an answer. You're just looking to make a few bucks by riling up your audience so they'll buy your magazine. You're trying to instigate debates between moms who believe in different ways of parenting. You're trying to cause fights.
It's a shame, too, because apparently the article that goes along with the picture has some good information in it. I'll never know, because I'm not going to read it. Instead, I plan on having a wonderful Mother's Day with my family who thinks I'm mom enough. Whether you think that's the case is none of my concern.
Here are a couple more opinions from some awesome moms I know: