Are We Mom Enough?


by Molly Rauch

She is standing tall and proud while nursing her decidedly-not-a-baby son, who is standing on a chair so he can reach her bared breast. The internet crackles with responses to the image of gorgeous Jamie Lynne Grumet on the cover of Time. The image is sure to divide moms and dads over how best to raise our children.

Time’s cover story reports on the attachment parenting movement, which is based on the idea that we should keep our babies physically close to us through extended breastfeeding, baby wearing and co-sleeping. It can be a lot of work for a mom. And so Time asks, “Are You Mom Enough?”

The image on the cover is cause for celebration for some; shocking and appalling to others; just “gross” to plenty (though not to me). I happen to like it. But something about the cover was bothering me.

I think I figured out what it was.

It’s just one little three-letter word.

It’s the word “you.”

Time asks, “Are You Mom Enough?” I’d like to ask instead, “Are We Mom Enough?”

Are we mom enough to fight for healthier lungs for our kids? Several components of air pollution trigger asthma, including ozone, particle pollution and nitrogen oxide. The technology exists to clean up the air; but power plants, factories, and car companies don’t want to make the changes. We need to work together to make sure that strong regulations are put in place and implemented effectively. Are we mom enough?

Are we mom enough to fight for healthier brains for our kids? We’ve all heard from our doctors that we should avoid eating tuna while pregnant, because of high levels of mercury. But why should this be our problem? That mercury doesn’t just naturally get into tuna. It comes largely from coal-burning power plants. Why should power plants be allowed to pour mercury into our air, when the technology exists to stop it at the source? Our children’s brains are not worth damaging in order to keep the coal plants running without a hitch. We need to work together to support EPA’s new Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, which would reduce the amount of mercury power plants are allowed to emit. Are we mom enough?

Are we mom enough to fight for toxic-free nutrition for our kids? Whether you are a card-carrying member of La Leche League or stock a cabinet full of formula, toxics in our air, water and consumer products can get into our breast milk and our formula. Many toxic chemicals have been detected in the breast milk of moms around the world, including heavy metals, dioxins, flame retardants, PCBs, perchlorate and pesticides. We don’t know the health effects of these exposures, but we know that we are feeding these toxicants to our babies.

At the same time, there are problems with formula as well. Aside from what pediatricians cite as its inferiority to breast milk nutritionally, formula contains whatever contaminants are in the drinking water it’s made from, as well as any contaminants that might leach into it from baby bottles and nipples. Meanwhile, our nation’s major statute regulating chemicals in consumer products does not require safety testing in advance of allowing a new chemical to hit the shelves. New chemicals are basically untested. Sounds like we’re the guinea pigs to me. We need to work together to demand a more child-protective system, so our breast milk and our formula are safe for all our babies. Are we mom enough?

Deciding whether to nurse our babies, and when to wean them, should be an individual decision. But standing up for our children’s health should be a “we” moment.

Join us. Please take action with Moms Clean Air Force.


Related Stories:

Are You MOM ENOUGH? Yes, You Probably Are

Theater Teaches The Science of Clean Air

Getting Political On The Playground


Photo credit: TIME


Anna M.
Anna M5 years ago

"Look at me!" "Look at me!"

I am not a mother to a human kid. With that in mind, I am offended for all the women who had to see this tripe of an issue from Time magazine that questions whether or not they are "mother enough." Let me tell you this: the definition of a successful mother is not whether you breast fed or stayed at home and gave up your economic contribution to a society, but IF your child becomes a contributing adult member of society in a positive way.

I have little doubt that the kid attached to his mother's teat in the cover picture will become nothing more than a momma's boy, unable to make his own decision when he's 29.

BTW, where is a corresponding article from Time magazine asking, "Are you father enough?" Oh, silly me, I forgot: men don't matter. It's all about the mom.

Sarah M.
Sarah M5 years ago

Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing. My brother and I were breastfed (I don't remember exactly for how long, but it was a little more than a year). Mother's milk is sweet, warm, comforting, and of course, extremely nutritious for babies. Just as important is the bonding time--a enriching experience for both mother and child. I am very grateful to my mom for breastfeeding me and I really hope I will be able to breastfeed my future children.

That being said, my mom doesn't like this Time cover and I agree with her. It's calling attention to breastfeeding in the wrong way. It's making a big deal about something that many women have been doing for a long time happily and...I don't know, the image is just too "in your face" for me. Women should breastfeed for the good of their children and for their own contentment, not as some sort of competition to be "more mom" than someone else. I applaud the promotion of breastfeeding and other good parenting practices, but I am put off by the composition of this photo (particularly by how the mom and kid are looking at the viewer rather than at each other).

Anyway...I love the article! These are very important points to raise and I thank the author for bringing these issues to our attention.

Suzanne L.
Suzanne L5 years ago

Breastfeeding is a terrific way to keep your weight down. Don't know if that has anything to do with it. Otherwise, I think beyond infancy breastfeeding is overattachment.

Andrea A.
Andrea A5 years ago


Laurie T.
Laurie T5 years ago

What happened to the main point of this article? Prude or not..why are there so many people making a point of the Time cover and breast feeding, when the article is about 80% worth of health issues, for our children's sake? Are these smaller, petty issues, like how long a mom breast feeds, getting in the way of mom's uniting for a better, healthier environment for the next generations? No wonder women are still struggling in our efforts to be heard and many are busy bashing ... when will women stand together and be heard, over bigger, more important issues?

Muhammed Taskoparan
Muhammed Mavi5 years ago

This picture is a perfect example of the CHILD ABUSE!

Muhammed Taskoparan
Muhammed Mavi5 years ago

This picture is a perfect example of the CHILD ABUSE!

Pat W.
Pat W5 years ago comment.

Donna B.
Donna B5 years ago

Are We Mom Enough?!?! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Jessica Nielsen
Jessica Nielsen5 years ago

Maybe Carolyn B. and others should do research on how babies were fed back in the day. Bottles and feeders are not 'new trends' or 'fairly new' items. They have been around for quite a while in some fashion or form...