This expression slaughters me. You know you’ve heard it: “I am a parenting expert.”
Well no, you’re not.
Let’s talk about why, shall we?
The Oxford English Dictionary (oh how I love thee, my OED) defines the word “parenting” as “the activity of being a parent; the rearing of a child or children; the manner in which a parent raises a child.” Clear enough. It defines “expert” as “one whose special knowledge or skill causes him to be regarded as an authority; a specialist.”
So let me get this straight…you are a specialist in the rearing of my children?
Wow. That is fancy.
Here I thought I was doing this all by my lonesome and all this time you were right there – the untapped resource, the authority, the specialist, the expert in my experience?! And I didn’t even know it! Gee whiz I never thought to look for you. Silly me. I assumed that since I am me and I’m the only me there is (as far as I can tell) and my kids are my kids and only my kids (as far as I can tell), if anybody were to become an “expert” in raising them, it would, by definition, have to be ME, since I am in fact the only one involved in their rearing and therefore, the only one who could gain sufficient skill or knowledge to reach “expert status.”
I mean how have you managed to acquire that skill and knowledge? Are you clairvoyant? Do you spy on us? Do you live in my attic and peep down through the heater vents? Or do you somehow “just know” how kids should be raised?
Alright, all kidding and sarcasm aside, I’d like to get serious for a moment and invite all current and potential parenting experts to step away from the computer and kindly go screw themselves.
I’m serious people. What the hell? I see those two words EVERYWHERE and it is clearly driving me batty. The worst are the people who blog because they are “parenting experts” and apparently just can’t help but share their knowledge with us dumb shits. How do people even say that with a straight face? How can you be an expert in something so intensely personal, ever-changing and unpredictable? How can you be an expert in the rearing of a child you’ve never met? And even more frightening, are there actually parents who see that bio or blog summary and say to themselves “oh good! Somebody who knows how to raise my children! Yay! What a relief! I was thinking I had to figure this out on my own! Whew.”
I imagine that if some of these “experts” were to read this post they would defend themselves by saying something like… “oh, I’m not telling you how to raise your children. I’m an expert in the many different ways parents raise children. I just have a lot of knowledge. I’m not advocating for one over the other. I just want to provide information.”
Which is, of course, total bullshit, because there’s always bias and slant and the only type of person pretentious enough to claim an authoritative status on something as ambiguous and subjective as parenting is exactly the type of person who maintains a very strong opinion on the way things should be done. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be calling themselves an expert. An expert is called upon for their expert opinion – their informed expert opinion. That’s the whole fucking point of being an expert. Otherwise, you’re just a knowledge sharer.
And I have yet to see that on a blogger bio “I am a knowledge sharer.”
(Thanks. I feel better now.)