Friday, June 11th, 2010 • 2 Comments on Parenting Magazines and My Reckless Disinterest
I find myself with several unwanted subscriptions to parenting magazines. I’m not sure how I came to have these subscriptions—I never paid for them. But when a woman gets pregnant, she finds herself on all kinds of mailing lists. I get coupons and free offers and samples and these parenting magazines. Jay gets none of it. Funny how that works. Obviously, I’m the only one in the house in need of the advice offered by “25 Ways to Encourage Your Toddler to Be Eco-Friendly!” and “10 Sure Fire Tips to Guarantee Your Child Won’t Be the Weird Kid in School.” Oh, to be an oblivious father whose only concern is teaching the boy how to fish and play football…
As a reader and a writer, it goes against the grain to throw away a magazine, even one I don’t subscribe to. (I have this irrational fear that the apocalypse will come and I won’t have reading material.) So I saved those parenting magazines for a few months, thinking I’d eventually get around to reading all those articles about the best baby gear, safest cars, tastiest homemade baby food recipes, sexiest mom jeans, etc. I actually started accumulating magazines before Patrick was even born—they give them out at the ob/gyn, the maternity store, on the hospital tour. I was inundated with useless information while I was pregnant and the deluge continues on a weekly basis.
I’ve given up any hope of reading those magazines. First of all, I simply don’t have the time. If I spent my time reading all those parenting magazines, I’d never have time to actually parent the child. Secondly, I really don’t care. There, I said it. I don’t care what that smiling woman on the cover knows that I don’t know. These parenting magazines are the mom version of the women’s magazines I loathe—“10 Days to Thinner Thighs” has become “10 Days to Get Your Baby to Learn a Foreign Language.” The women’s magazines make women feel bad about… well, everything… and the parenting magazines (and let’s call them what they are—mom magazines) are designed to make mothers feel insecure about absolutely every aspect of childcare. So, the parenting magazines go into the recycle bin now, unread and certainly unwanted. Bye-bye parenting magazines, I hope you are recycled into something more useful.
I don’t have this parenting thing down as a matter of instinct. And I don’t have anything against seeking advice on parenting issues. Heaven knows I have a small library of books in my possession already and I refer to them often. But I don’t need a subscription to a magazine that covers every issue from birth to high school. What’s the point? I can barely keep up with Patrick’s new developments from one week to the next—why put all that pressure on myself to read (and remember) so far ahead? I’m happy to learn as I go… just like this amazing child I’m parenting so recklessly.
The funniest part about the unwanted parenting magazines is that they always seem to arrive in my mailbox on the same day as my Victoria’s Secret catalog. Go figure.