walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

to buy or not to buy?

To read or not to read?

I'm thinking not on Pamela Paul's _Parenting, Inc._. While I sympathize with her reaction to the Bugaboo, if I had it to do all over again (yes, I realize I do have it to do all over again, but I've _already_ bought everything, so it's a lot harder to justify), the Bugaboo would be hideously tempting. They're like paying extra for a car that will retain a substantial resale value. Seems pointless when you first encounter the concept, but over time, you start to get it.

But that's not why I'm probably not going to buy _Parenting Inc._ and probably won't read it unless it falls into my hands on a particularly boring day. No, it's the off-the-cuff errors in her Salon.com interview. Things like, "We forget that 20 years ago, there was no programming for babies." Weird. Must have been something about 1987, when Sesame Street, Zoom and Mr. Rogers, among others, were mysteriously unavailable. Not to mention the Disney Channel, which must have been on some kind of hiatus after it started in 1983. I could go on, but what would be the point?

She does recognize that services (postpartum doula, sleep coaches, etc.) are often very worthwhile and not that expensive, and notes they are probably replacing grandparents who don't have the expertise (in the case of lactation consultants, for example, since most of the previous generation used formula). What she seems to have failed to notice is what happened to the average age of grandparents when our generation started waiting until well into our 30s to have kids (or later) -- or, for example, that a fair number of grandparents are still employed full-time. No more stay-at-home women readily available to help out.

Maybe the book is better. The reviews don't suggest to me that this is anything other than a misguided screed against well-meaning parents who are just treating their kid the way they wish they'd been treated as kids. Sure, there are going to be some unintended -- and undesirable -- consequences. OTOH, look at all the unintended and undesirable consequences of cheapskate, punitive, detachment strategies from the second half of the 20th century.

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.