Parenting Magazines Make Me Feel Like The Worst Mom Ever
When I first had my child I subscribed to several parenting magazines. I read books about how to raise a child without raising your voice, and how the French parented correctly. I attempted to implement these things, to feed my son those “child-friendly” recipes and make the crafts out of bits of leaves and twigs. But as he got older and I got divorced I realized that the only thing these magazines and books were good for was making me feel like an asshole who was failing at motherhood.
These are the worst. They tell you how to make brownies out of cauliflower and pretend zucchini is spaghetti noodles and sneak veggies into their food by way of lots of mashing. The recipes always have smiling children who are gobbling up this gruel and mothers looking smug at their offspring who are full of fiber and aren’t shoving baked beans up their nose. I once spent $25 to make organic pop tarts that my kid spit out because they weren’t covered in sprinkles and toxic frosting. In fact, he spit out most of this shit. Kids are not totally stupid. They know a piece of boiled zucchini doesn’t taste anything like a noodle and that brownies are not supposed to taste like hot cocoa paste. I don’t know if these recipes actually work on some kids, but they don’t on mine. All they do is waste my money and my time and make me feel like if I were a better mother my child would opt for salad over chicken nuggets.
I am not crafty. My grandmother made my wedding dress out of a pattern she cut from a newspaper and my mother makes quilts. When it’s time to do crafty things for school I make my son go visit my sister because I am just not up to par with crafts. But these magazine articles make it sound easy. They even tell you how it’s so easy that even those who are worthless at crafts can do it. And they are liars. I can’t even put a small wooden airplane together WITH instructions, so it’s no wonder that my son informed his Pre-K teacher a couple of years ago that his mommy brought snacks but couldn’t help with class crafts (filthy little traitor). These crafts with their leaves and paint were rubbish to my child when he was still in diapers. Now it’s just embarrassing for both of us.
These articles always end by stressing that there’s no such thing as a perfect parent, but apparently they think we should be as perfect as the 20-something that wrote it and probably has no kids at all, but just wrote an article based on the art they had. Perfect parents don’t ever yell, they never lose their temper, they always know the answers to questions posed by their children…if this is the criteria, then I am certainly not a perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination. I try not to yell, but it happens. Sometimes I call the cat a furry little asshole and my kid hears me. I lose my patience when my kid jumps on the couch AGAIN, after I have told him 50 times not to, and I threaten to make him always sit on the floor if he can’t stop. I sometimes burn the cookies and don’t always know the answer to his question – the latest one was “why do we have boogers?” That’s why God invented Google, people.
Spotless & Stylish Child/Home
These magazines always tell you where to get adorable hipster t-shirts which are too meta for words (or for your kid to understand), how to decorate your mantle with child-art and still make it look fashionable, and how a sleek haircut on you makes you the best mom you can be. These magazines can suck it. My kid has cool clothes, but I spend my money on him, and I have artwork on the fridge like a normal person (and some framed on the walls). I don’t want my home in a magazine because that’s too much pressure. There’s always, always a sticky spot somewhere, the cat takes turds out of the litter box on occasion to bat around the house like balls, and my son somehow manages to get dirty in the bathtub. As for me, I do good to take the shine off of my nose and my gypsy curls are never going to be sleek, so fuck off trying to tell me that a short sleek bob is the style de jour for moms everywhere.
But you know what? Despite not parenting like the French (lots of fresh foods, no yelling and a Montessori-style education, in case you were wondering), and sometimes losing my cool and asking why the hell the fridge is standing open and there’s pee all over the toilet seat AGAIN, I don’t think I’m doing a bad job. And you aren’t either. Those magazines make us feel bad when it’s THEM who should feel bad for trying to set unrealistic standards for normal women. They can take their subscription and their sleek bobs and shove them.