Seth has previously mentioned that when it comes to procreating and parenting, people are absolutely insane and happy to lecture you and tell you you’re doing everything wrong.
Because I like to be prepared (or at least PARANOID), I have been reading pregnancy and baby books by Dr. Sears and his wife, an RN. They are generally okay. They are sort of crunchy-granola but also not seemingly convinced that you should treat your baby’s meningitis with colloidal silver, so while I am sort of skeptical of some of the things they say, they don’t make me throw the book across the room that often.
HOWEVER. I just got to the chapter in the THE BABY BOOK (more than 500,000 copies sold!) about WORKING AND PARENTING.
Here are some things you need to know about the Unified Sears Theory Of Childraising:
The chapter on working and parenting is crazy to me for a number of reasons.
First, it flatly states that good parenting (which actually only means mothering, see above about the dad being the money guy/sperm donor/human sidebar) involves giving up paying work to stay home with your child.
Second, it assumes that it’s possible for any family in America – after making at worst a few minor adjustments – to have the mom stay home from paying work for several years. (Again, at no point do the Searses mention the option of having Dad stay with the kid.)
Third, if you are the kind of jerk who refuses to believe the Searses that if you would just LEARN TO BUDGET YOU COULD MAKE THAT WORK, they give the most awesome and impractical suggestions for making work play nicely with your Most Important Role – That Of Mother:
I don’t know, man. I don’t really care if people stay home with their babies or take their babies to work at the real estate convention with them or sell their babies on the black market**.
But because I have this personality problem where I am ordinarily very biddable but also get really grouchy when people lecture me and tell me what to do, sometimes Dr. Sears just GETS MY GOAT. It makes me all rebellious. I had previously been in pretty much total agreement with Seth that we’d ideally prefer to have one parent at home with the Lentil most of the time until he or she is old enough to get a job in commercials and start funding our IRAs, but then I read this chapter and now I am all “I AM GOING TO BE SIGOURNEY WEAVER IN WORKING GIRL, WHY DON’T YOU BITE ME.”
My stupid rebelliousness problem is also why, every single time I have a cup of coffee during this pregnancy, I have been getting an illicit little thrill. YEAH THAT’S RIGHT, I AM DRINKING CAFFEINE, A SUBSTANCE THAT HAS ABSOLUTELY ZERO NEGATIVE EFFECT ON A PREGNANCY OR A FETUS BELOW A CERTAIN QUITE HIGH AMOUNT. THIS IS THE FIRST CUP I HAVE HAD THIS MONTH. BUT YOU DON’T KNOW THAT. SO THERE.
Pregnant rebel without a cause! I’m like the gestating version of James Dean, man.
PS, I was at a diner earlier tonight, and there was a family with a very young toddler (I am amazingly bad at estimating baby ages. I’m all “What is that kid, like… four?” and he’ll be 11 months or whatever.) who was having a tantrum.
IT TOTALLY FREAKED ME OUT. First his parents did the thing where they tried not to notice him. And then they kept offering him things on the table. As his little toddler shrieks got louder and louder, HOW DARE THEY OFFER HIM THE WRONG THINGS. THEY WERE ALL WRONG! OBVIOUSLY HE DIDN’T WANT A SPOON. MORONS.
And then his dad kept trying to ask WHAT HE WANTED. But the little boy only offered more shrieking.
And finally his parents admitted to themselves that he was not going to be quiet, so the mom wearily got up from the table and prepared to cart him outside (and he was doing that awesome stiff arching thing and flailing around and banging his head) and then the waitress appeared with a single-serving pack of cookies.
And the little boy instantly shut up.
And peace returned to the restaurant.
And I was filled with terror, as I saw the NEXT TWO TO THREE YEARS OF MY LIFE PLAY OUT IN HARSH TECHNICOLOR.
*You guys, seriously, WHERE ARE MY PLAQUES. I have received hardly any to date. This is just unacceptable.
** On an episode of Southland, someone mentioned that people had offered to buy his baby. I find this fascinating. I mean, what do you think you can get for a healthy white baby on the black market? Where do you even FIND the black market for babies? Do you run an ad on Craigslist? Do you have to use code phrases?
“HAIRLESS 8-POUND PUPPY, WEARS DIAPERS AND DRINKS HUMAN MILK OR REASONABLE FACSIMILE, IN EXCELLENT MECHANICAL AND COSMETIC CONDITION. AVAILABLE NOW. ADOPTION FEE $58,000 FIRM.”