On this Mother’s Day, I’m here to report: We can all ignore the nutty parenting advice of this gorgeous, skinny Valley Girl on Time magazine’s cover who’s posed her almost 4-year-old with his lips on her breast while his wide eyes stare out toward all of America.
And all of America is cringing. No, amend that. America’s women are cringing. Men are feeling something else.
In any case, this image is everywhere now, and millions of already guilt-propelled, insecure new mothers are hearing that nagging little voice: Maybe my babies would turn out better if I do what this breathless blonde does. That is, carry babies in slings 24/7, nurse them until senior prom and let them sleep with daddy and me until they’ve got bedmates of their own. And maybe even after that!
Ms. Jamie Lynne Grumet, 26, from California (of course) says she and her husband are “intimate” while their kids sleep right next to them.
In fairness, however, I must note that Ms. Grumet does not usually nurse her son when he’s standing up on a chair. She cradles him, she explains on her obnoxious I’m-a-better-mother-than-you-are blog, titled “I am Not the Babysitter.”
Oh, shut up.
Ms. Grumet is a proponent of one of the latest rages in child rearing. That’s “attachment parenting,” the brainchild of pediatrician William Sears. He says breast-feeding till whatever age, “wearing” babies in slings and co-sleeping produce happier, healthier kids.”
Friday on the “Today” show, Ms. Grumet explained this ditzily while preschooler Grumet Jr. squirmed nonstop, thus letting us speculate, ignorantly, on whether he’s as spoiled bratty as he looks. Meanwhile, Dr. Sears said that were we all natives on some Caribbean isle, living in nature with no parenting books, blogs or psychologists, we’d all raise our kids this way.
And that’s swell.
But who lives in nature on crowded Caribbean isles anymore, including Caribbeans?
The big winner here is Time magazine. Millions of men have examined this picture very, very closely. Women who actually wanted to read Ms. Grumet’s annoying story confronted an online pay wall. You either headed out to buy Time or paid a minimum of $4.99 for a trial subscription. I regret to say, I paid.
I am, however, grateful that I became a mother back in the dark ages when there were only a handful of parenting books, your own mother and mother-in-law to undermine your confidence at every turn. That’s why I adored the late, much-maligned Dr. Spock, whose mantra was “trust yourself.”
Here’s my Mother’s Day two cents for all you new mothers, now that there’s a zillion “Oh No! Watch Out!!!” mothering blogs detailing how you’re ruining your child.
Don’t read ’em.