Monday, March 14, 2005

Put me in, coach...

It's not enough that we have weight loss coaches and life coaches. Apparently, those of us who are experiencing learned helplessness can now call on the assistance of a parent coach.

In this New York Times article, we meet parents who pay to have someone else on call so that they can ring during the day for parenting advice.

Is this another example of crazy priorities (i.e., trying to be the mythical "perfect parent")? After all, think about all those parents out there from the dawn of time onward who did not have parent coaches and yet who raised nice, friendly, responsible kids. Right off the bat, I can think of two: my mom and my dad, thankyouverymuch. The parents of my parents. The parents of my high school friends.

Any possible merits of such a parent-coach service aside, one mom in the story in particular really made me shake my head. She's the mother of two boys, one 7 and one 3. They are rambunctious, apparently, like a lot of young boys. In the article (yes, so for her sons to read...lovely), she says:
There's a piece of grieving for me that I don't have girls.... For me, I'd be reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and drinking tea, and that's not what [my boys] are going to do.

Most of my anger at this stems from this woman's naïve belief that her life would be so much easier if she had had girls. News flash: There's no guarantee that, if she did have a girl, that girl would like Laura Ingalls Wilder, or tea. My dad tried for a few years to turn me into his little princess. He dressed me in girly dresses, tutus, and tights and wanted me to learn to be a proper lady and speak French. Well, I did learn to speak French. But that was as far as he could take me into that Little Princess image. And you know, I don't ever get the feeling that he's sorry about that. We both remember fondly the times he would take me to R-rated movies with potty humor and T & A, and the poop jokes he told me, and the screaming together at the TV during football season. I guess what I'm saying is that this woman needs to stop fantasizing about what she doesn't have and wake up and realize that she has two little people (not boys, people) that she's raising to be adults. She needs to enjoy each of them for who they are and for what they bring to her life. And if she's too busy stressing about the chaos, she's less likely to catch the smiles, sweetly whispered "I love yous" and the strong bear hugs. That's my unsolicited-yet-free coaching advice.

7 Comments:

Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

This woman has no idea what she's missing. If she wasn't so busy feeling sorry for herself --no Little House on the Prairie books! Sob! -- she'd learn that being the mother of a boy does things for your self-esteem that you didn't know were possible. Like the time LG was looking at a series of old black-and-white postcards. He stopped at one, studied it seriously, and asked, "Mama, is that you?"

"No, sweetheart. That's Greta Garbo. But.... thank you."

9:49 AM, March 15, 2005  
Anonymous Kristen said...

My daughter plays with plastic snakes and dinosaurs. She does read Laura Ingalls Wilder - but mostly for all the descriptions of Pa and how he hunts things. (She also likes to pretend to be a princess.)

My son loves to play with barbies and toy fairies. He is gentle and kind. (He also like trucks.)

Did you read Dave Barry's take on that article? It was hilarious.

Parenting Coaches. Don't these people have in-laws?

10:48 PM, March 15, 2005  
Blogger Mieke said...

The parents in the article are PA-THETIC! They should be mortified that their lack of commonsense was published for all to see. I am baffled by them.

7:10 PM, March 16, 2005  
Anonymous yankeetransplant said...

Give me a break! If having a girl is that important, there are tens of thousands in this country alone who rot in the foster care system every year...go adopt one! If you're not ready to do that, then shut up and love those boys. Teach them some RULES. Kids LIKE rules. Other parents like it when your kids have rules. I'm with Mieke...mortified is what these people should be!

9:50 AM, March 17, 2005  
Blogger Yankee T said...

Give me a break! If having a girl is that important, there are tens of thousands in this country alone who rot in the foster care system every year...go adopt one! If you're not ready to do that, then shut up and love those boys. Teach them some RULES. Kids LIKE rules. Other parents like it when your kids have rules. I'm with Mieke...mortified is what these people should be!

9:51 AM, March 17, 2005  
Blogger Yankee T said...

OH NO!!!I'm one of the duplicate posters!!! Some days I hate BLOGGER!!!

9:53 AM, March 17, 2005  
Blogger Jody said...

I missed the Little House thing -- ead most of the Sunday times while cooking and serving meals and snacks, so my reading isn't especially attentive. What struck me was the complete lack of common sense, combined with a scary willingness to cede personal authority to experts of dubious stature and no credentials to speak of.

And, of course, the idea that this sort of story merits the FRONT PAGE of the Times. Because of all the stories about parents and their crises in the United States, THIS is the story we want to put front and center. Parenting coaches, that's the big story to run with.

Gack. Just--Gack. I'm increasingly convinced that the Sunday Times is really just one giant vanity exercise for the wealthy and connected, and those who wish to belong to that circle.

9:37 PM, March 17, 2005  

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