By this point, it's safe to assume that you've probably seen the controversial cover of the latest Time magazine. The picture of 26-year-old Jamie Lynn Grumet (who happens to be a model) breastfeeding her 3-year-old son alongside the baiting headline “Are You Mom Enough?” was certainly meant to grab America’s attention—and judging by the buzz created over the past 24 hours, it's succeeded—but as the initial shock wears down, the conversation is far from over. What do actual moms—the group being not-so-subtly challenged by Time—think about this cover?
After trolling a number of popular mommy message boards, one thing is very apparent: Despite their views on the picture and the topics it relates to—extended breastfeeding and the larger issue of “attached parenting”—women aren’t rallying around the cover. On UrbanBaby.com, words like “gratuitous,” and “sickening” were thrown around, with many commenters making it clear that while they supported breastfeeding, they didn’t think it should be made into a provocative act to sell magazines. The cover is “totally contrived and unnecessary, but I wouldn't say ‘gross,’” wrote one poster. “I also don't think it helps their cause to be so blatantly in-your-face.”
Some moms were especially upset with Grumet for letting her son appear in the photo because of the effect it might have on him. “[The mother] is wrong for subjecting her son to this kind of exposure, not for continuing to breastfeed,” wrote an UrbanBaby commenter. Granted, Urban Baby is something of an online snake pit, but similar sentiments were expressed on online communities elsewhere. Said one Babble blogger, “I can’t tell you how much I hate this cover…The poor child looks so helpless, yet he trusts his mom to do the right thing. And there she is, exploiting him to get her message across.”
While the image was the main focus for many moms, it was the “Are You Mom Enough?” headline that got others riled up. “Why does this cover bother me? It’s not the exposed breast, it’s not the extended toddler nursing; it’s the bold declaration that in order to be ‘Mom Enough’ one has to extended breastfeed,” wrote Parents.com commenter Karen Bond. “It’s the shock value they went for that annoys me and the title…Honestly, how horrible for mothers who tried and did not succeed at breastfeeding at all,” added another commenter, Emily Totaro.
Of course, there was the occasional cry of support, both for the cover and Time’s decision to run it (one Babble blogger proclaimed, “I’m HAPPY that someone is taking the extreme views to task. We are all pot stirrers. How can we fault a magazine for discussing it?”), but at the end of the day, the sentiment seemed to be that this was a shameless ploy for newsstand sales. In the words of one UrbanBaby user, “It was meant to get attention, and it has done that.”