Parenting books, HUH, what are they good for, absolutely…

So I have finished both my attachment parenting book and How Not to Fuck Them Up. I’ve now read four books, various bits of each were helpful, and various bits of each were not helpful, and then various bits of each were actively angering or upsetting. I’m glad I read all four, but I’m not happy with any of them.

First of all, and this is the easy one…what’s up with parenting books assuming you’re religious?? Two of those books (I’d just like to point out, those two had American authors) mentioned getting your children to pray as no big deal, just assumed that such a thing would happen. One of them had a chapter about how to get your child to church and said something like ‘all good parents want to impart spirituality to their children’. WTF mate?*

*sidenote, because lightening the mood is always good, this is what I think of whenever I say WTF mate: 

So now we’re into the more difficult problems. This may take a couple of posts.

First, by far the most disappointing, was How Not to F Them Up by James Oliver.

There was some good information in there. For one thing (my sister the PhD in psychology is checking this out for me cuz she disagrees with his research), he offered a lot of studies showing nannies are better than daycare. We had been planning on daycare because it’s kind of like the default option here in the UK, especially in London. But after reading that I started looking into nannies (just to mention, I was looked after by nannies for my entire childhood) and realized they are not as much more expensive as I thought. So we are probably going to go with that route now.*

*should I manage to get pregnant, bla bla…just assume every time I talk about this stuff I’m caveating that I might not get pregnant or it might not work in some way – I certainly am thinking that in my head.

But there was a lot in HNFTU that I was not a fan of. First of all, it claimed to be neutral on the subject of working mothers versus stay at home mothers. It was NOT. Basically, it’s attitude was, it’s good for mothers to work if they will otherwise be depressed. But having a non-depressed mom at home until the kid is 3 is the best option. WTF mate I say again!

Not, oh, women might value their career and the work they do and they way they contribute to society. Not, self respect and interaction with adults is important to the happiness of adults, and having happy adults is important to children. Not even, having a parental carer at home is important so one of the partners should stay home (BTW not ONE book I read ever even considered the idea that the parents might be same sex partners). No, there was actually list of preferences that said: ‘mum is better than dad is better than grandparent/relative is better than nanny is better than childminder is better than daycare’. Several times he referred to dads as being “substitute carers”. So, what, moms are the only primary carer? Dads (or non-gestational parents) are just substitutes?

What. The. Fuck.

And the idea that the only valid reason for a mother working being preventing depression is SO INCREDIBLY OFFENSIVE! Try, I want my child/children to view women and men as equal, I want to be a good role model for them and I want them to know that work, work that you love, is important. Try, I want to be happy myself! And work, for all its stresses, is something that makes me happy!

The idea that having a mother at home making children more likely to be happy and successful later in life (which was part of his research and argument) is TOTALLY WORTHLESS IF MY CHILD IS A GIRL! Because if she’s a girl, she’s just clearly supposed to get pregnant and stay at home, who cares whether she’s successful!!!

Ok. So that was a very angry rant. It turns out, I really am very angry about this book. I’m going to leave it there for now and come back to the rest later. And just to say, I am glad I read it. But I’m also really angry!




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