Our baby toilet came with a free subscription to Parents Magazine (really), but I’m already ready to throw that magazine in the toilet. It exists only to make readers paranoid and consumeristic. Last month, the “It happened to me” column featured a mother declaring, “My baby lost his fingers when I pushed the shopping cart too close to the grocery-store door.” Yes, you, too, now get to worry about being that bizarre mom who didn’t notice her child’s screams in time to avoid severing a finger. I know that all women’s magazines exist to induce paranoia and consumerism, but somehow I wasn’t quite prepared for the anger that Parents Magazine arises in me. I don’t need new things to worry about it. I have quite enough already.
Here’s another example: a recurring ad features a baby dressed in business attire, with the tagline, “Don’t irritate your new boss.” Yes, moms, you are your child’s servant. Don’t you forget it. Now go buy the expensive supposedly non-irritating diaper-wipes that this ad is for. Don’t even consider the fact that the least irritating thing is also the cheapest, environmental option: a plain washcloth spritzed with water. Your job as a mom is to shop and cater to your baby, that’s it, stop thinking now. Don’t even start to think about why Parents Magazine consistently assumes that “parent” means “mom.”
But there is one redeeming feature. Last month’s Parents Magazine led me to the mom-101 blog, with the absolutely perfect tagline, “I don’t know what I’m doing either.” And that led me to my new favorite mommying post ever, which sidesteps the entire Competimommy, “My baby can already sign all of ‘Old MacDonald had a Farm,” and the Sanctimommy, “What do you mean your house isn’t perfectly childproofed yet?” and instead enumerates the real games that children actually play: Water-spitting, shrieking, poke-the-dog, put-your-hands-in-your-poo, try-to-see-what-you-can-choke-on. It’s hilarious.