Inside the “bad parent” craze
Tuesday, April 14th, 2009
The Wall Street Journal reports on a popular new pastime: publicly confessing what a shitty caregiver you are. The piece cites Babble.com’s phenomenally successful “Bad Parent” column, and enough new books on the subject (including one by Michael Chabon’s notorious wife) to justify Compulsively Shared Parental Incompetence as a trend. Best anecdote: The woman who hoped her dog would eat her kid’s vomit so she wouldn’t have to clean it up.
What’s catalyzing all this spilling? “The pressure to be a perfect parent:
Critiquing other people’s parenting has become a sport for many mothers and fathers…Now some parents, hoping to quiet the chorus of opinions, judgments and criticism, are defiantly confessing to their own “bad parenting” moments. They say that sharing their foibles helps relieve the pressure to be a perfect parent — and pokes fun at a culture where arguments over sleep-training methods and organic baby foods rage on.
For more insights, see The Perfect Baby Handbook: A Guide for Excessively Motivated Parents, pages 0 though 160.
Update: MojoMom has already declared the trend over-the-top. She can’t see herself deriving a “nasty thrill” from pushing her would-be toddlers over (even if instructed to do so by a physical therapist, as in an example cited by the WSJ). Let the backlash begin…
• Melodramatic video of the week: The curse of the know-it-all mom
• Admirably imperfect mom of the week: Wendy
• Admirably imperfect mom of the week: Lenore Skenazy