Confused? You will be ….

Well, after a cubic shedload of publicity this weekend – Times extract and interview, Observer and Sunday Express – to co-incide with the publication of the book (see right), things have quietened down a bit. I think there’s an article in the Express soon (thought it was today actually, but apparently not) and the FT on Saturday, plus a couple of magazine articles coming up and some radio. Most of the coverage has been on target. One or two articles spectacularly off – by journalists who hadn’t even got a copy of the book … but thought they’d write about it anyway. They’ll obviously put it right once they actually read the book – I’m sure they will.

Won’t they?

A bit of a shame about all those people who’ve been given completely the wrong impression about the book in the meantime though.

Anyway, one interesting thing that has been highlighted is how incredibly contradictory most parenting information is. No sooner has one theory been publicised than another one – equal and opposite – comes along. Breast feeding confers benefits. No it doesn’t – it’s just that the kind of people who breast feed have children who do better. (No class assumptions or value judgement there, then!) Over-scheduling your kids is bad. No, it’s good – because the kids are more successful and better adjusted.

So what’s a parent to do? Anxious – nay desperate to do the RIGHT thing (cos there’s only ONE right thing – right?), we flip-flop between strategies, getting our knickers thorougly in a twist as we do so. And then get blamed for it (cos we all blame the parents – right?).

My theory is that there are too many theories. Probably because there are too many academics out there trying to get tenure, so the only good theory is a brand new, contentious theory. Something that’s bound to get published in a scientific journal and discussed at conferences from Davos to Denver (see, I know something about the lives of academics), then broadcast in reduced form in this week’s papers.

Meanwhile, we’re dazed, confused, stupid and contagious. Well, maybe not contagious – although, considering some of the venom in the media directed at parents lately, you’d think we were!


12 thoughts on “Confused? You will be ….

  1. I’m with you. There are too many theories. Let’s just chill out, drink a martini and realize that people were bringing up kids for thousands of years before Leapfrog Learning Pads, educational mobiles and Baby Einstein videos.

  2. oh, the joys, you can certainly blame me – no problem at all – cos it’s already been proved i’m an idiot.
    but looooook – an anonymous flamer! how classy is that? – we’ve arrived, my dears. i was going to delete it but a) duh – couldn’t work out how and b) it’s quite amusing and i thought you lot might like to try out your powers of forensic psychology on this nameless and rather self-important nutter. obviously, we don’t know who it is – but i don’t really get the amazon thing, cos the book is only just out and hasn’t had any reviews. i just can’t wait now to see what this strange little person has to say. some weird and very sad people out there ….

  3. I totally agree with this post. There isn’t any “right” theory, just do whatever works for your family and at the end of the day I want to go to bed knowing I did the best I can. I stopped reading parenting magazines years ago because they left me feeling inadequate.

  4. Can’t wait to read your book.. it seems parents are no longer encouraged to just trust their instincts..

    I’m definitely a ‘relaxed’ parent (translation: kids will need loads of therapy)….

    I’m looking forward to reading your book!


  5. The over-critical venom not only spews from the misrepresenting media (which I used to professionally be an accessory to) but also from fellow mothers. Let’s admit it; We all judge each other. Each of us think we are doing a better job than that mom over there bottle feeding (or breastfeeding) her baby at the park. And did you see her diaper bag? It’s sooo last season … You get the point.

    Where can I pick up your latest book/offering in the States? Must Have It!!!

  6. tra la la – managed to delete anonymous psychoblooger after all – we have the technology. right – i don’t expect the book will be published in the us – it’s really verrrrry british in nature. i spect it could be got through amazon – don’t know about b’n’n, i’m afraid. maybe when the series goes out in february, there’ll be more interest – meanwhile i’ll just keep drivelling on around the themes we cover in the book – so keep checking in. actually there was an extract in the times, so i might do a link to that, if you like? let me know …

  7. Ooohhhhhh. I’m so curious! What did the big bad spammer say? Was the post rife with typos? Generally, spammers suck at proof reading (mind you, so do I…) but are often good for a laugh.

    Loved the article! You both looked lovely and your children are a handsome bunch!

    If you do publish a version for the North American audience, you’ll have to include another profile: Born Again Bible Thumping Mom. She makes her children say grace before snack time, and won’t let her children partake in the satanic ritual of Halloween. Tell tale signs of the BABTM is her low tolerance for all things Harry Potter and bouts of IBS whenever anyone alludes to dinosaurs or fossils or anything faintly related to evolution.

    Well I’m going to start making lists and categorizing my fellow mommies as per your profiles. I am self identifying as Craft Mummy (66%), Foodie Parent (15%), and the Tate Parent (whatever % is leftover – I suck at the math).


  8. Thank you for the encouragment on NaNoWriMo! 🙂 I appreciate it! Actually, I saw quite a few people from the UK listed on the nanowrimo website, maybe you should give it a go.

  9. I think that your theory is right… but it doesn’t help the confusion. (My personal mixed-message peeve right now: breastfeeding helps you lose weight/no it doesn’t. Can personally say that my breastfeeding body clung to weight like Lindsay Lohan to her vodka.)

  10. Love your “theory” theory! Now I must read your book. It’s even more intriguing if not available in the US. I guess I’ll have to enlist my aunt to ship me one!

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