I’m on to them. ‘Them’ is the book industry that produces the glut of child rearing books that keep parents trapped on the always-trying-to-be-better-parents ‘hamster wheel’, and which, in reality, is just one colossal cash cow.
Perhaps the ‘them’ is actually a ‘one’—one glib Gen X book publishing mogul, clad in his (or her) Ralph Lauren power suit, not giving two figs about the benefits of breast feeding and the prevention of ear infections, let alone the complexities of kindergarten readiness and children with Fall birthdays, but simply sitting in his mucky muck corner office brainstorming the craziest paranoia-inducing book titles he can think of and then hitting his speed dial to call upon his cadre of Stepford writers to crank out volumes of drivel designed to keep parents continually off balance.
Having realized all this, I was faced with a choice. I could call Mr./Ms. Mucky Muck and ask for a job (and when that didn’t work…) or I could selflessly serve my fellow parenting community and offer my rebuttal to some of the books that cause us to mistrust our parenting skills. So below are real book titles that can be found at your local bookstore. The parenthetical observations are my gift to the global parenting population and their collective angst.
- Parents In Charge (Right, and I’ve got some dot.com stocks I can sell you.)
- When Mothers Work (Hmm… when exactly is it that a Mother doesn’t work? I must have missed the memo.)
- Life After Baby (There’s a life? Tell me where to go and get one and I’m there faster than you can say cracked nipples.)
- Tired of Yelling? (And?) Raising a Happy, Unspoiled Child (What planet did you say you were from?)
- I Know My Child Can Do Better (Now, if only his teacher would cash that check I slid into her homemade Christmas card.)
- Birth Order Blues (Oh, please, will someone just get over that one?)
- Six Point Plan for Raising Happy Healthy Children (Complete with a daily calendar to relentlessly remind you that you’re not even close to making it to step 2 let alone steps 3 through 6!)
- Overcoming Underachieving (What about Underestimating Overindulging? Or maybe Overcoming Underbites? And we can’t forget Overwrought, Overwhelmed & Undercooked.)
- The Mother Dance (You mean the first day of school dance, a.k.a. The Dance of Inexplicable Joy?)
- Busy But Balanced (Oh, why don’t you just balance THIS!)
- Silver Spoon Kids (Is there a Six Point Plan for ensuring you have the means with which to rear a Silver Spoon Kid?)
- How To Parent (It’s one book…with only 150 pages? Shouldn’t this be a 46-volume set, complete with charts, diagrams, and Margarita recipes?)
- Preventing Sibling Rivalry (In other words, raising an only child.)
- Parents Under Siege (The next Summer action blockbuster starring Steven Segal and JLo.)
- Ask The Children (Ask them what? If they remembered to change their underwear and brush their teeth?)
- So You Want To Be A Stay At Home Mom? (Oh, no problem. Just donate all your beautiful business attire to a thrift store, buy one pair of sweats, splatter them with so-called washable paint, grind in some neon orange macaroni and cheese powder, add a few dabs of mucus or some other mystery fluid, and you’re good to go…)
- Team Spirited Parenting (Complete with your very own set of pompoms and megaphone.)
- Honey for a Child’s Heart (And peanut butter for their hair…)
- Mom I got a Tattoo! (And other great lines you can expect from your teenager that will require an increase in your Prozac dosage.)
- Idiot’s Guide to Motherhood (Enough said!)