If you buy TIME magazine this week in the U.S., you'll see this picture of a mom nursing a 3-year-old under the headline 'Are You Mom Enough?'
In the upper left-hand corner you find the headline 'The French Rejection,' referring to Nicolas Sarkozy's defeat in the French elections.
Meanwhile, if you buy the same periodical in Europe (as I did here in Rome, Italy), you find the reverse. On the cover, François Hollande towers over the headline 'Bonjour Angela', referring to the German Chancellor, while in the upper left-hand corner hover the two words 'Extreme Parenting'.
Why is obvious, given the repercussions of the French vote for Europe.
But what a pity. Particularly from the perspective of a journalist who has spent the last three years talking about attachment parenting in this blog and is keen to see the debate amplified.
The almost-risqué (especially for Americans) photo catches your eye far more. And, as TIME editor Rick Stengel admits, their choice was a provocation: "The whole point of a magazine cover is to get your attention."
Online, of course, the debate is already raging over what is described as an extreme way of being a parent.
But I say, there's nothing extreme about the three key points that pediatrician Dr William Sears promotes:
- Extended breastfeeding (for years, rather than months)
- Co-sleeping (keeping little ones close during the night)
- Baby-wearing (carrying babies and little kids in slings or carriers)
Forget extreme. These are traditional methods that have long been used in certain cultures around the world, and it's about time we talked openly about it.
What most people seem to ignore, is that creating an attachment bond with your baby is about putting your child's needs ahead of yours. It's as simple as that. Seriously.