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Saturday, January 13, 2007

an official nice guy endorsement: PARENTING!

dear lord, let me bear witness: do you have any idea how freakin' grateful i am for PARENTING magazine?

seriously! just yesterday i got the february issue of the mag in my mailbox (on jan. 12 ... why not?). but as a side note before i get started (what would that be, by the way? not quite a prologue, more of a side-logue or maybe a demilogue. i don't know; i'll let you figure it out), i'd like to point out that i never actually subscribed to PARENTING magazine. it just started arriving. one day i had me a infunt, the next day i was readin' me a magazine! simple as that. how did the topdawg at PARENTING magazine know that li'l ol' me was procreatin'
? more importantly: how did he track my unlisted ass down?

ANYWAY. the latest incarnation of the magazine came yesterday. there is no stopping its arrival, with its beautiful baby doll-models and 22-year-old coke-skinny covermoms. february's issue in particular caught old eagle-eye nice guy's attention for a couple reasons. first of all: have you ever looked at the cover, directly above the bold printed "PARENTING?" no? take a gander some time. there, hovering over the magazine's very name, you will read this line: "what matters to moms."

oh, no. they di'n't.

oh yes they did! PARENTING magazine puts it right above their own name: parenthood is for girls! NOW THEY TELL ME! this wouldn't be so totally and completely awesome if february's issue didn't also come complete with a Very Special Feature Article by the world famous William Sears M.D. ... devoted entirely to "the daddy-baby connection." wow. thank you, PARENTING magazine for dedicating an entire article in your parenthood-for-girls magazine to dads! we are so very blessed. since you took such a special effort to address our complicated needs, i -- being a "dad" and therefore not technically a "parent" -- feel it is incumbent upon myself to take special care in giving your magazine a close reading this month, to the extent that i can actually read. shall we begin? oh goodie!

first thing's first, by which i mean not second. i being a dad, and therefore a male, notice that the very first advertisement spread across two pages of your magazine is for some random australian hair product (tagline: "add some roo to your do" ... that's copyrighted, folks) prominently featuring four very hot, very
not-mom models. actually they're probably not even "driving-age" models. whatever. i guess the advertising industry needs moms to feel bad about their bodies and hair and their age just like they do non-moms. better still is the next page! after your soft-core prepubescent surfer-girl two-page, um, spread, for follicle fabulosity is a TWO PAGE SPREAD FOR CONTRACEPTIVES!!!! this, i will remind you, is a magazine all about the joys of having babies. (with, presumably, fellow adults.)

i repeat: AWESOME.

but, oh, it gets so much more awesome on page 66, the page where the "daddy-baby love" article (as the editor's note calls it) officially begins. it's called "the daddy-baby connection" and here, line-by-line is why it receives The Official Mr Nice Guy Endorsement of Awesome:

  • "The Daddy-Baby Connection" tagline: "Everyday ways to help them bond" because we poptards will never establish an effective bond with our own children unless some benevolent soul comes to guide us along our bumpy journey, clucking her tongue and half-ironically tapping her left toe while smirking ruefully at all our wacky foibles.
  • the parenthetical after the tagline "(think diapers, dancing and more)" what? you mean i am going to have to wipe a butt? AND dance? and then do ... "more???" i was told wipe OR dance, but not both ... my god, cruella. the second you ask me to, like, give you input on my daughter's footware, i am so on a one-way flight to reno. who signed me up for this crazy "parenting" escapade?!?
  • paragraph five: "Dads have a delightfully different way of relating to their babies -- and their babies enjoy this difference." nice. do you know what i most enjoy about this sentence? the vocabulary lesson. this here piece of advice reminds us that "fathering" is the latinate root of "patronizing." thank you for making that connection so explicit.
  • paragraph six, addressed to the mother who takes a high-stakes risk and leaves her kid alone with dad for a few minutes: "You might be surprised at the fuss busters your partner musters with absolutely no help from Mother." ha! take that "mom." sure that sentence makes no sense, but you might be surprised! you might realize that you have put so little faith in your man all these years that leaving your helpless babe alone with dad might start you along an uncomfortable road of introspection and self-doubt. you might find yourself wondering if you've ever quite accurately grasped even the most trivial events in your own life. you might realize that, in despair, you have turned to PARENTING magazine to help you through your marital problems which you now realize might actually spawn from your own father's ancient neglect and jesus what does it take to get noticed around here!? you are a full-grown woman, the last time you checked!
  • paragraph seven: "When given freedom, he may start to develop his own rituals with your baby." DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN! remember this is YOUR baby. not "his!"
  • somewhere on page two of the story, under the "Help them get a little closer" section, Dr. William Sears recommends getting dad a baby sling: "This physical closeness is a very natural way for them to bond, and (bonus) he'll have his hands free to help out with the dishes!" hahahahaha! this is funny because, silly rabbit, dads don't do dishes! gosh!
  • on page three there is a graphic with "Baby-calming moves a dad can love ... number one: THE FOOTBALL HOLD." because if it won't fit into some kind of homo-erotic sporting metaphor, we just ain't interested, woman! now go rub some more aussie roo hair gel into your scalp and make with the fancy IUD! daddy needs some mommy time. baby boring!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm betting that at some point you ordered something from 1-800 diapers. Apparently, they offer gift subscriptions to Parenting with every order (something I was relieved to discover when my subscription showed up--I was worried that some well meaning family member thought I really needed some parenting help and subscribed for me).

1/14/2007 10:44 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Ah, Parenting. Such a quality publication. So very modern and relevant to our times. So very in tune.

1/14/2007 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless Parenting! Their tag line on their web site was "We know Moms." Just special. Actually, probably the last time they included an article about fathers, I wrote a letter/post to them about it. The article was called "Inside the Mind of A Dad." You can read the post here if you want.

Thanks for calling them on this crap. The only way I think they might possibly change is enough of us get angry and write about it so when people Google "Parenting" they get our complaints instead of the actual site heh heh.

1/14/2007 2:28 PM  
Blogger Theoretical Grammatarian said...

Amen, and thank you! I was so offended by the "what matters to mom" bit above the name that I haven't actually been able to read any of the articles without sneering and making loud and nasty remarks, which, I have to tell you, makes me unpopular in the pediatrician's office waiting room. Last time I checked, my husband is also our son's PARENT, thankyouverymuch. *grumble grumble*

1/14/2007 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This magazine sounds fantastic - where do I sign up for a subscription?

1/14/2007 6:04 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I'll have to make sure my husband never sees one of these mags. oh, the trouble i'd be in if he ever found out that he's not technically a "parent" and therefore had wasted so many precious minutes over the years "bonding" with MY child and (bonus!) not having enough time for his own interests. like football. and rituals.

1/14/2007 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, thank you, thank you for this post. I'm 34 weeks pregnant and have been getting "Parenting" and "American Baby" for some reason for several months now. And it's like a train wreck. I can't turn away (and it was free, so I can't help but read it), but sometimes, I can't help but throw up in my mouth a little.

Your satire is ever-so-much appreciated.

I am constantly freaked out by the implication that dads need all of this guidance to bond with the baby. If he needs that much help, you should not have bred with him...

1/14/2007 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Men as 'parents'--that's so funny!

1/15/2007 12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good gracious. What am I doing home alone with these little bipedal beasts if I'm not a parent? I'm going to have to check in with someone about something. This doesn't seem feel quite kosher anymore.

1/15/2007 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ironic thing is that "Mothering" magazine and the corresponding web site is much less patronizing to dads.

1/15/2007 2:56 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

mng, you complete me.

1/16/2007 10:07 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I so needed this laugh. So. Needed. This. Laugh.

Thank you.

1/16/2007 10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for yet another reason to hate parenting magazine! and to think, all those years i wasted reading it from cover to cover. . .but that was back when it actually was about parenting, and not just an insipid women's magazine.

1/17/2007 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds very familiar. I tell you we need to unionize!!!

Or at the very least take our junk and go home!

1/17/2007 3:53 PM  
Blogger Not From Lapland said...

paragraph seven: "When given freedom, he may start to develop his own rituals with your baby." DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN! remember this is YOUR baby. not "his!"

Can't write.

Laughing too hard.

Sides hurt.

2/09/2007 12:37 PM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

What on God's green earth do dads have to do with PARENTING?

2/10/2007 8:59 PM  
Blogger Slackermommy said...

This post is exactly why I don't read those magazines.

2/11/2007 11:15 AM  
Blogger Nikki said...

I don't read these either. The covers themselves tick me off because of you so aptly described them ...the cokemoms. Paaaalllllleeeeeassssee! Chick just had a baby - she's not gonna look that good.

2/13/2007 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

interestingly I found this posting by your use of the word "demilogue" I am not sure it's even a word, but I liked the way it rolled into a sentence I was writing and immediately tried to wiki it. The Ol' "Parenting" conundrum. ah yes. I think the gynos get paid for sneak endorsements..or their office clucks get a little hush money for submitting your name when you come in for the first visit...I do remember wondering why it was important to have my email address on the sign in sheet. I am not insensitive to the satire..I believe this is satire...or is it? Parenting magazine for all its sexist stereotyping, is but a symptom of a larger issue. Have you noticed how often the man in 90 percent of the commercials featuring men, is ALWAYS a complete boob?..and by boob I mean idiot and not some silicone inflated mammary. The fact is I'm a really good parent, I have such a great bond with my little boy that he will fight sleep until Daddy gets home. I have had that "bond" since the moment I first held his hand, which by the way was about the same time the nurse pushed me out of the way and took him from me to get him "cleaned up" as if I were in her way, too slow, too stupid and inept to handle the task of caring for my own child. Never mind that I am the oldest of twelve and well acquainted with caring for infants. How did the male of the species garner such a stereotypical issue? You cant blame it on penis envy, most women I know hate to even touch the things, unless it will, in some way, hasten their own bliss, and technological advancements in plastics is even rendering this facet obsolete..chocolate flavoured cock..why not?. And yes, I realize there are the less cerebral, misogynistic, homophobic,
sports-crazed reptiles in our gender, but I do not believe this problem is entirely gender specific, and I know for a fact, that I am not the same as many of the men I meet. And if I am not, then there are others like the reasoning goes. During this time when you cant even sneeze without worrying about it being taken as racial, or sexist, or anti--whatever, it seems totally ironic that we, the males of the species, are made out to be complete and utter dopes, and we are supposed to sit there, like the good natured dullards we are portrayed as, and take every f-in lump of shite dished our way. Dr Sears is a sell-out, I'm gonna go home and draw a mustache on all his pictures in the books I have.
Then I'll probably trip over the cat and land on my glass coffee table and will need to be helped up and nursed back to health with something I am incapable of making, like say, a can of soup.
yeah, now that you mention it. I am grateful to parenting magazine as well, why just this morning we were out of toilet paper....thanks parenting, a little rough around the edges, but so smooth in the middle.

2/28/2008 3:25 AM  

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