I was so lucky this week to get a chance to talk to my client Jamie Lynne Grumet about attachment parenting and her controversial cover photo from TIME magazine. I want to thank Jamie for taking the time to answer my questions. Check out her site I am Not the Babysitter (designed by the lovely Shay Bocks) and keep an eye out for her upcoming site, Unique Family Travel.
LL: You’ve been the center of a whirlwind of controversy over the recent TIME magazine cover you were featured on. How did you handle the negative feedback?
JG: I am very fortunate to have a strong support system in my friends and family. The negativity was not an issue, because I knew it was impossible for strangers to personally attack me. We knew what we were getting into at the beginning. However, hoped TIME would choose a picture that better represented the direction of the shoot. Even though we did not like the creative direction TIME took, we knew good would come. With something this controversial you need to go into it understanding that even if it is portrayed beautifully, people will want to attack you. That is in no means referring to us as martyrs, but more the fact that you just need to brush it off and realize you are just a small part in a bigger picture. If people never understand our intentions and always hate us, they may change their mind on the issue- and having people understand this issue was really the goal.
LL: Was there a lot of positive feedback?
JG: Oh yes! I have had so many attachment parents rally around me. They understood what happened and went up to bat in defense of our family and AP. I’ve also had people email me saying they didn’t know what AP was before, but it sounds like something that would work best for their family. They now plan to allow their child self-wean. Others have emailed me to say they are not going to be “in the closet” with their parenting choices any longer. It made us proud to be a part of such a movement.
LL: Do you wish there was anything TIME would have handled differently?
JG: Yes, a balanced article would have been nice. The tagline on the cover is hurtful and goes against what we were trying to do. Then there was the picture… It was an outtake and does not represent the direction of the shoot. I am not offended by the photo, but I certainly wouldn’t have posed purposely like that.
LL: I’ll admit that I was shocked when I first saw the cover, but within a few hours it didn’t affect me at all. Do you think the average American citizen would be less squeamish if they saw extended breastfeeding in public on a regular basis?
JG: Yes, we are afraid of what we don’t understand. Our culture would be squeamish at the sight of ankles or knees of women not long ago. Our culture dictates what makes us uncomfortable. There is no biological reasoning behind the repulsion people have seeing a mother breastfeeding her infant/toddler/child. It is completely cultural, and we can combat it with by breastfeeding being a part of what we see on a day-to-day basis
LL: Were your parents attachment parents? How long were you breastfed?
JG: Yes, my parents just parented the way they felt was right. The term “attachment parent” didn’t exist when I was born. They felt what they were doing was biologically normal. I was breastfed until I was six years old.
LL: Do you face any issues that you think non-attachment parents don’t have to deal with?
JG: I think all parents have to deal with other parents judging them in one way or another. It is very sad. I don’t think AP parents are any different than any other parent with a different style of parenting. We are all making the best decision possible for our family. Once we start realizing and accepting the truth that encouraging (rather than judging) others will actually improve our country as a whole, we will be a much more fulfilled and thriving society
LL: Do you have a babysitter or nanny for the times when you and your husband want to spend time alone?
JG: Absolutely, our grandparents babysit, but we also have trusted non-relatives we will pay to watch our children. That time alone is very important to us.
LL: What is your advice for both the attachment and mainstream parents out there?
JG: Don’t feed into the sensationalism the media is trying to feed you. Do not respond to it at all. They win when you engage. Ignore it and encourage others to make the best choice for their families, even if it differs from your parenting choices.Pin It