Utne Blogs > Literature

If You Can't Buy Love, What About Parenting Skills?

by Staff


Tags: parenting humor, supermoms, parenting industry criticism,

In addition to shelling out for the now-customary slew of “how-to” parenting books and magazines, Amanda Nowinski confesses in the San Francisco Bay Guardian that when her child was born, she paid a breast-feeding consultant $200 to coach her through the experience. “I certainly had two boobs but no idea where to put them,” she writes. “In the baby's mouth? Are you serious?

Thing is, her experience isn’t all that unusual. For those who can afford it, Nowinski writes, having a child is now an anxiety-filled chase after the “rarified art of parenting.” And the proliferation of parenting materials only serves to egg on parents into believing they can’t fulfill their roles “without hitting the ATM.”

As Nowinski pokes fun at herself, other parents, and the parenting industry—declaring the city of San Francisco “overrun with decaf-latte-sipping, thousand-dollar-stroller-pushing, CFO–Noe Valley–ish, overly together supermoms”—her writing also points to the disconnect between a generation of parents and the experienced guidance they crave. Behind the annoying facade, in a way, spendthrift parents are simply trying to buy some slim assurance that they will raise happy children.

Instead of using this disconnect to apologize for profligate parents, Nowinski implores them to take their heads out of their bassinettes and consider spending some of that play money on someone else’s kids—perhaps the tens of thousands who go homeless or hungry everyday.

Jason Ericson

 

amanda_1
4/4/2008 1:29:19 PM

dear jason, thank you for the very kind write-up! how kind...amanda http://amandanowinski.wordpress.com/


wes_3
12/25/2007 12:33:10 AM

What I mean is there used to be such a thing as community and if some people have to pay for that, well, who am I to judge?


wes_2
12/24/2007 5:56:22 PM

Some of us try to read all the literature in anticipation of the arrival of a new born. Without community networks what can we do to get real advice? Serious answers to hard questions? Fortunately, I could get on the phone and ask for help from a lot of friends around the world from Mexico to Morrocco, but there may people out there who don't have those connections. There is a real problem sometimes if the infant doesn't have the skill figured out of how to "latch on". It can be a real problem. Also, feeding posture, signals the baby is sending regarding how hungry s/he is, when s/he is full, what type of feeder/eater s/he is. These are real issues which require real advice and scoffing at people with those questions doesn't help anybody. SOme babies take to breast feeding naturally, others don't... in the states there is even a bizarre HOSTILITY toward public breast feeding which I find crazy. A free source of info for everyone is to be found at La Leche League (SP?) they have a website with tons of free info for those of us who don'T have a ready-made community of knowledgeable persons of whom we can ask advice. You don't have to shell out a ton of money.


dorothy
12/23/2007 7:11:58 PM

Buying parenting skills....what a concept. This was a most enjoyable article to read. I like the conclusion suggested by Nowinski. Yes, we need to take care of the homeless children. Jason, keep these articles coming!