Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Here We Go Again

Longtime readers may have noticed that I haven't gone into a spittle-spewing rage lately over the mainstream parenting magazines (once upon a time, I'd be foaming at the mouth every month or two at some inanity in Parents/Parenting/Child/etc.). This is not because the mags have suddenly become more sensible. It's because I no longer get 'em. I don't know why I got them in the first place. I never subscribed. They just kind of showed up. I don't miss 'em now that they're gone.

Exhibit A on why I don't miss them is the "What Was Dad Thinking?" article in this month's Parenting, flagged by reader Kelly, who called it "Sexist, pandering, insulting drivel." That's pretty much right.

It traffics in the difference between what moms say to dads and what they mean, and it take great pleasure in conjuring up hypothetical situation in which mom comes home to disaster. A sample grab:
He won't multitask
You say: "I have to run errands. I'll be back in two hours."
You mean: Hold down the fort in general, and consider making yourself useful: There's a load of laundry with your name on it.
What happens: When you get back, it looks as if a tornado hit. He claims he didn't have time to eat lunch, let alone answer the phone (there are seven messages on the machine!).
How to deal: Watching the kids, to a man, often means just that. His excuse? Unlike a woman, who can chat with a friend while folding laundry with one hand and feeding the baby with the other, he says he's just no good at domestic multitasking. But that shouldn't constitute a get-out-of-chores-free card. Remind him that he's Mr. Efficient at work; this might ramp up his enthusiasm for household management. Or give examples of how he multitasks at home (taking the dog out when he goes running, say) and suggest how he can do the same type of thing with the kids. Professing faith in his competence is key.
Man, where to begin? Even though the advice is occasionally sensible, the overall theme is that dad is clueless and a rank amateur when it comes to the kids. It's not enough that Parenting actively works to avoid publishing anything that might be aimed at half the parents in the world (the ones with the Y chromosomes): they have to take potshots at us, too.

Bonus factoid: the story was written by Fernanda Moore. Who's Moore? She is the author of what is unquestionably the dumbest, most hostile-to-fathers stories published by a parenting publication. Moore was stand-up enough to argue her case here directly, but with a second doofus dads story, she doesn't have much credibility with me.


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