I think I've out grown of my parenting magazine.
I'm by no means a parenting expert. My oldest child is only 12. But I've been around the block a few times. The benefit of making a career of children is that you see all sorts, you get to know all sorts on a deeper level than say, your friends kids or playdates. So in fairness, I add the 100's of kids I've cared for over the the past 18 years to the tally.
I get a parenting magazine every month and have since Mary was about 6 months old. I'm not going to name it because it is a well respected magazine and in many parenting circles it's a leading authority. But for me, I've lost faith in it. It talks down to me.
It has articles in it about super parents. Over achieving parents. Perfect parents. It tells us how to throw epic themed birthday parties that prepare your 5 year old for their appearance on My Super Sweet 16. It tells your how to cook gourmet meals for a family of 4 for only $20. (we won't mention that for the most part, I don't see many 3 year olds eating the stuff they want you to make)
The articles that aren't about perfect parents are the ones that are reprimanding us for not being perfect. "You yell at your children? You'd better take a time out." "You let your children eat fast food? Try our recipe for Portabella Mushroom Tower a la Provençale." "You say no to your children? They'll be scarred for life!"
Even more annoying is the Q & A sections. I really can't believe there are parents out there who are this numb to child rearing. "I allow my kids to play video games for an hour a day but my neighbour says she only allows them an hour a week. Should I be doing the same?"
Really? If Johnny is plugged into his xbox for 5 hours a day you might have a problem (says the mom who allows her 4 year old to play Wii for up to 3 hours a day sometimes) but seriously, why are you worrying about parenting the same way your neighbour does?? Are you raising the same child??
If your kid is healthy, gets exercise, and doesn't have a mind like jello then who the hell cares how much (or little) Susie Neighbour let's her kid play video games.
It just seems to me that the articles I read now in the parenting magazines are full of common sense. Yes, breast feeding is best but if you gave it a shot and it's not working buy some formula. Do we need a 1000 word article on this? Are people going to let their children starve because they couldn't figure out that if they couldn't breast feed they should buy a can of Enfamil?
Perhaps I'm not remembering what it was like to be a first time Mom; the fear that I'm going to ruin my child for life if I don't do everything Just Right.
But I look at Emily and see a bright, happy, kind, wonderful young woman and I think, I did all that without a parenting magazine telling me how. I used my God given gifts, not the least of which is a little thing called Common Sense.
But I guess that's what it all comes down to. There are those of us with Common Sense. For everyone else - the parenting magazine.