Thursday, March 8, 2007

What Kind of Parent Are You?

If someone asked me to describe myself, I'd say "Regular." After all the self-help I took, in which I was asked again and again to really think about me, and after almost going nuts after all that self-reflection, I'm not very interested in Who I Am anymore.

It's still a gigantic part of trend pieces in the media, though. You had to have seen all this press about being an Alternative Parent. Or Hipster Parent. Or whatever.

This "trend" came about because the writer Neal Pollack came out with a book called Alternadad around the same time a deep-pocketed company launched a website aimed at "hip" parents. Listen, I have nothing against Neal Pollack; he's a fellow writer doing his best and contributing to his family's bank account. I enjoy the man's blog.

But this whole trend is almost impossible to write about without coming off as overly involved in Who You Are. If you critique the trend, you sound like some dork invested in the way things have always been. Permanent press slacks were good enough for mothers before us! Leave the dungarees to the crazy kids with their rock and roll marlarkey! You also sort of negate the good idea that parents are entitled to hold onto their identities after the kid comes. (It's been happening for a while, but still....)

If you laud it, you sound sort of desperate, a hanger-on. Can I be part of your club? My kid knows the lyrics to "Post-Paint Boy," too!

As far as Brain, Child covering it, Stephanie and I are just letting the thing ride. Getting into what's hip and what's not is just a losing proposition for a magazine. Magazines aren't like Lou Reed or Kim Deal, eternally cool. (That was a totally necessary name drop, by the way.) The ones that slavishly cover the hip eventually become caricatures of themselves. (That's right, Jane. I'm talking about you.)

Anyway, I was reading the New York Times, and there's nothing like a story about the exploits of super rich parents to remind you that this whole parenting world can be split up a million ways, not just hipster and traditional.

According to the Times, some parents in Los Angeles are taking consulting with the experts to a whole new level. These local experts have even become celebrities in their own right.

I almost literally can't imagine this sort of parenthood for myself. I was just reading the experts' books and taking the advice when I, or at least my self-confidence, started to unravel. An actual person?

I'd be a wreck.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Hmmm. I can't read the article because I don't subcribe to New York Times Select. Perfect.