Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Myrna Blyth has a short article about a book I need to read, if only to innerly commiserate on the potholes of parenting. The book's title is: Momfidence! An Oreo Never Killed Anybody and Other Secrets of Happy Parenting.

From the book:
“Today’s diligent mom can’t just do the weekly marketing and drop food down hungry gullets. She must buy fresh and scan labels for lethal trans fats and the many disguises of 'white poison,' the staple formerly known a sugar, in order to prevent diabetes and heart attacks in her children forty years down the road. She must maintain vigilance against random toxins and schools with lousy test scores. And she can’t swat an errant bottom for fear of bruising a tender psyche (or of being arrested.)”

Says Blyth:
And she’s right. Moms today are full of worries about the fact that their toddlers can’t read, their eight-year-old won’t get into Harvard, or that their ten-year-olds aren’t on enough sports teams. “All this makes a parent's job so much harder,” says Paula who admits to a whole series of mothering no-no’s — feeding her kids cookies, letting them watch TV, and playing with Barbie dolls and toy guns . She has even stopped sending her kids to summer-enrichment programs. “They didn’t want to be enriched,” she says. “They said there was just no time to play.”

“I think moms should just wing it more and rely on instinct and common sense. Parents get so much advice from experts. But how may of these experts really live with kids who snarf Scooby-Doo Fruit Roll-Rups? What parents hear about in the media are really bad moms with big problems who need help. Or obsessive moms who are super organized and are trying to raise perfect kids. Neither are good examples. We just don’t hear enough about ordinary, mainstream moms who are doing fine.”

Paula lives in Chapel Hill where her two nearest supermarkets, Whole Food and Earth Fare, don’t stock Oreos, and where cars have bumper stickers that read “Proud Parent of a Baby who Can Sign 200 words.” She writes a column for Woman’s Day where editors are pretty vigilant about editing out her belief that there is little danger if kids eat raw cookie dough. No wonder she wrote this book “I want to help moms relax, be more confident and have more fun with their kids,” she writes. And the book really is both helpful and funny. What is the reaction she wants from the readers?

“All I want,” she says “is a sigh of relief.”

I made a friend a little while back. She moved to the island and on our children's first "playdate" we exchanged parenting stories and generally laughed about motherhood's pitfalls. It wasn't until lunchtime, when I hauled out the box of mac n' cheese I brought for my kids that the pleased exclaimation rang out: "Finally, an normal mom!"

It seems my money saving, off brand, box of faux pasta broke the final barrier. She had been languishing in the organic soy ghettos of south island momhood, where preservatives are tantamount to abuse and she wasn't sure if she would ever be accepted into the momfold.

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