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.