Beeswax. It makes a great lip balm. It's also something you should mind--but only your own.

You have probably seen this week's "Are You Mom Enough?" cover of Time. At least, judging from my Facebook feed and the blog buzz about it you have. I have no doubt that the photographer, Martin Schoeller, and Time's cover editors were fully aware of how riled up that cover would get people. It is, after all, exactly the kind of thing about which people these days feel a need to opine. You know what, though? This is not something that falls into the category of "your beeswax."

"But! But!" I can hear the objection coming already. "Don't you think she's screwing up her kid by keeping him on the breast so long? My God, don't you think it's weird?"

Yes, of course I think it's weird. You know what else I think is weird? Something you do in your family. Yes, you--all of you. And of course I think she's screwing up her kid, not because she's extending breastfeeding or following attachment practices but because she's a parent. You are screwing up your kids too. So am I.

Look, every single one of us is going to get it wrong with our kids. The best we can hope to do is to minimize the damage we cause and give our kids the means to cope with the rest.

And aren't there enough real problems in the world without having to find new things to get upset about? On the scale of things for me to care about, this is somewhere between how other people make their hot dogs and whether or not they put sweaters on their pets. Are they doing something I wouldn't do? Sure. Does it affect me? No, not really.

So, sure, maybe I think it's weird if some family wants to breastfeed their kids until they're twelve. But odds are, their kids are going to be fine, and parenting is hard enough on a good day; the last thing most of us need is some nosy blowhard butting into our lives to tell us what we're doing wrong.

It does cut both ways, of course. That other family over there? The one that bottle fed from day one and Ferberized their kids? Those kids are going to be fine, too. Maybe that's not how you would raise your own children, but it's none of your business.

None of us are perfect. We're all doing the best we can. Let's all just take a deep breath and get back to minding our own beeswax.



I don't think she's screwing up her kid by letting him breastfeed so long. I think she's screwing up her kid by letting Time print a picture of him breastfeeding on the cover. Bet she pulls it out to show his girlfriends at 16, too.

Mike Sakasegawa:

I take your point, but, you know, it would be rather hypocritical of me to criticize someone else for taking her family's private life and putting it front and center in a public forum. I don't think Sakeriver is the same as Time, of course, but it seems like a difference of scale, not of substance.


I'm very irritated with Time for deciding to throw gasoline on the fire that is The Mommy Wars right before Mother's Day. Really, is this what we needed?

I'm AP-ish, do child-led weaning- ish, and while I draw my own line at 3 have no problems with breastfeeding beyond that, but that cover was DESIGNED to rile people up, quite obviously. It makes all us extended breastfeeding moms look EVEN MORE like weirdos, and defiant, argumentative weirdos to boot, to the rest of the country whom we want to accept us. So it gets us all riled up. Then, the caption makes the formula-feeding or wean-at-one-year moms get all mad. So, no one's happy with them...

I guess they don't sell copy by making people happy, though. But seriously, unnecessary, Time.