This has been a long time coming…my list (and analysis) of the top ten most annoying things people say in regards to child-rearing, not in order. While it bothers me to hear other people saying these things, it’s vastly more disturbing when they exit my own mouth.
1. “Natural parenting” – I’m not sure what “unnatural parenting” is, but I’m pretty sure I’m doing it.
2. “Sleep training” – You can train a dog to sit. You can train a person to drive tanks and shoot people. You can even train a voice. But you can’t train sleep. Sleep comes or it doesn’t. You can encourage it or deter it, perhaps, or even lure it…but you can’t just “train” it.
3. “Eco-attachment parenting” – This expression is so pretentious only a complete asshole would utter it. I have a picture of her in my mind. She’s the parent who’s so detached from reality she doesn’t realize her own privilege, as she drives her Prius to her apartment in the Marina District after shopping at Whole Foods (while breastfeeding in the Ergo) and picking up her older kid (who incidentally wears only organic bamboo clothing) from the local Waldorf, where she meets her husband, who makes at least $900,000/year, allowing her to stay home, where she makes gluten-free whole wheat muffins with goat milk and judges the hell out of the imbeciles who feed Costco food to misbehaving, Old-Navy clad hoodlums attending public schools, playing with toys made in China and gallivanting around town in a hand-me-down, gas-guzzling non-hybrid mini-van.
4. “Baby schedule” – I believe this term was created with the sole purpose of making mothers feel inadequate. I have yet to meet a baby who adheres to any schedule, whether it’s logged in an Excel spreadsheet or not. Put this shit OUT of your head, mothers, I tell you! Screw baby schedules and the bastard who thinks they’re possible!
5. “High-needs child” – Is there a low-needs one? If so, I’m putting mine back and demanding that model.
6. “Orgasmic birth” – Perhaps you are unfamiliar with this little number. The hippie natural birth people came up with a video called “Orgasmic Birth,” featuring a woman who appears to be having an extremely enjoyable birth experience in a tub in her backyard. As a woman who’s had three unmedicated births, one of which was at home, with a midwife, in a tub, I hereby declare that the orgasmic birth lady is a fucking liar.
7. “Informed parenting” – This means you read a lot of books, listen to a lot of ‘experts,’ research all theories and philosophies until you’ve read so much and heard so much that it all begins to contradict itself, but you persevere because one must be informed! so you decide on and deploy a tactic, finally convinced you’ve chosen the right approach, at which time a new study comes out blowing it right out of the water (explaining that it actually causes autism, attention deficit disorder, AND diabetes). You continue like this for one year, or until you realize that ‘informed parenting’ is a fleeting, silly myth created by people who’ve never had children. Then you give up, and, like the rest of us, resort to trusting your gut and hoping for the best.
8. “Developmental toys” – Quick. Let me run out and buy the latest educational age-appropriate $45.00 Lamaze toy so my baby will “develop” properly, even though everybody knows the best baby toys haven’t changed for generations and they are as follows: the tag on a blanket, a spatula, a cardboard box, dirty car keys, and whatever choke-inducing item she just discovered on the carpet.
9. “Tummy time” – Another conspiracy. Total lose-lose. Either the baby flatly refuses his “30 minutes of daily tummy time,” resulting in a guilt-ridden mama sure her son will never evolve, or alternatively, the baby tolerates tummy time happily, causing the even more horrific event of early crawling.
10. “Play date” – I don’t know why this one annoys me. I say it all the time. Some things are just too damn cute I guess.