If you can’t name two or three ridiculous modern parenting techniques, then you simply aren’t trying. Just open a newspaper or magazine. You’re practically assaulted with at least one article about some wacky new trend in parenting.
Parenting these days, in case you haven’t been keeping track, comes in a variety of flavors. Or styles. Or ideologies. Or pathologies.
We’ve got attachment parenting, authoritative parenting, free-range parenting, nurturant parenting, helicopter parenting, ethical parenting, tiger parenting, not to mention all the variants on those, plus any number of off-brand styles. And don’t forget all the trademarked styles named for the eight million parenting books that come out each year.
There are even sub-disciplines for things like sleep and diet and cognitive development. And every style or sub-style has a raft of scientific studies or scientifish anecdotal reports to support its ideology.
It’s crazy. Like today’s parents.
So here’s what I have to say about all these different, conflicting, radicalized parenting styles: Hooray!
Yep, Captain Dad is an advocate of Crazy Parenting™. (I just invented that style. Patent pending.) You see, all of us stressed out parents with our crazy parenting styles have one thing in common: We are crazy about our kids. We’ll do anything we think might help them be better humans than we are. Our parents did the same. Their styles may have been different, but they were raising us in different times and under different circumstances. They were adapting to their times. So are we. We live in crazy times, so it is inevitable that we will have crazy parenting styles.
Sure, a dash of sanity would be nice. But crazy is nice too, because it is anything but indifferent. It means parents are trying — even when they seem trying to us (yes, I’m talking to you, lady in the park who didn’t want to fight with her daughter about eating blueberries because her “heart chakra didn’t need that”).
They are trying because they truly love their children. And love makes you crazy. So do kids, for that matter.
While we’re at it, so do all those parenting experts soap-boxing their ideologies night and day on the correct way to raise your child.
As I have mentioned a couple of times, my new project is learning to drink coffee. Sorry, but the Diet Coke isn’t cutting it. My doctor asked if I was getting any caffeine. I said I drink a bunch of Diet Coke. She said, “Pfff. You don’t get any caffeine.” Just like that. Totally dismissive.
So I’m working on coffee. The parental performance enhancer. I like the idea of espresso in a tiny cup. One quick shot of it, and I’m good to go. But so far I haven’t found where you can get that little of it, except at a fancy pants French restaurant, of which there are zero in my neighborhood.
I just don’t want to end up like my cartoon here. What’s the point of a performance enhancer if it hampers your actual performance? If my tin foil hat wasn’t in the shop, I’d suspect that it’s all a big conspiracy against parents.
Yesterday I spoke with entertainment reporter Bill Zwecker on FOX32′s “Good Day Chicago.” It was right when you were probably getting the kids off to school, so you may have missed it. So here’s the link if you feel like catching up on your TV.
This is my mother, that cute little girl in the middle, with her mother. But for the haircut and the 1930s outfit, she’s a ringer for my older daughter. At least in this picture.
We all know what mothers are to us. They are our tether to this earth. But too often we forget to consider what we are to them and how we figure in their world.
So here is a song from the mothers’ side. It comes from a musical I wrote with Rich Prezioso, one half of the husband-and-wife team Small Potatoes, who are in fact rather huge potatoes on the folk music circuit. That’s Rich on guitar and his wife Jacquie Manning on the vocal.
Happy Mothers Day to all you moms. And God bless you every day.
* Yes, I’m sure there’s a better way to post audio on WordPress, but not today. Sorry.