Parenting Magazines and the Missing Fathers

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

I've ended up at the pediatrician a couple of times in the last couple of months, which has given me the opportunity to catch up on my parenting magazine reading. For some strange reason, after my first was born, I started receiving these magazines -- Parents, Parenting and Child all appeared at one time or another -- for reasons I never really understood. (Perhaps they were gift subscriptions. If so, let me know and I'll send you a much-belated thank-you.)

Eventually, the magazines stopped arriving. This was a good thing. Inevitably, reading through the issues, my blood pressure would rise. Even leaving aside the "beauty tips," nearly every article was explicitly targeted at moms, with story after story filled with "mom tips" or "mom advice" or "a real mom's story." It was as if half of the parents just didn't exist.

In the pediatrician's office, I checked the table of contents for the worst offender, Parenting (motto: "What Matters to Moms"), to see how mom-heavy it would be. After all, involved dads are increasingly getting media attention. Maybe things had changed in the last three or four years.

But no. It was the same old stuff. Almost a dozen references to moms in the table of contents alone. The one dad-focused piece was a story that followed the well-worn theme of how parenthood forces men to grow up. That's probably a separate rant.

Parenting is a gender-neutral thing. Having an extra X chromosome doesn't make you better at changing diapers or playing pretend or disciplining a child. It would be a simple thing to eliminate all the mom-centric references in any of the parenting magazines without altering the content any (with the exception, of course, of the beauty section). But for some reason -- misguided market research, maybe, or old habits -- these publications are working overtime to out-mom each other, leaving dads to wonder why the heck they're left out.

On the flip side, all kinds of dad-focused magazines have arisen in the last decade to latch onto the new emphasis on fatherhood. For the most part, they have failed, for a simple reason: Parenting is parenting, no matter your gender. If only Parenting recognized that.

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  September 20, 2007; 7:30 AM ET  | Category:  Dads
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dotted,
Sorry I missed your Monty Python reference yesterday. Oretty good.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 20, 2007 7:31 AM

First! I had a similar reaction to "Working Mother" when DS was six weeks old and I'm reading about how some CEO schedules her business trips to Indonesia in order to home for soccer practice. Here I am feeling accomplished because I've taken a shower and returned an email! I promptly threw that magazine away.

Posted by: diaworld | September 20, 2007 7:36 AM

Maybe, just maybe, all those parenting magazines mention moms so much is because dads don't really care if they look so nice and pretty, and that the parent most likely to actually buy the magazine are the moms.

Posted by: johnl | September 20, 2007 7:37 AM

I was going to post something very similar to johnl.

Men, in general, don't care how they look or what other parents think about them while, in general, women do.

I have no need to read those mags and I'm sure the editors know their market is primarly female.

Posted by: r6345 | September 20, 2007 7:47 AM

Brian, yes, the portrayal of dads in parenting mags pretty much sucks. But why do you blame "misguided market research" for that? Why do you believe that dad-focused magazines fail just because "parenting is parenting" and not gender-specific? Seems to me that the more logical hypothesis would be that a lot more moms than dads read parenting magazines. So the dad-focused mags fail for lack of readership, and the remaining mags, relying on GOOD "market research," figure out that the smart thing to do is to print what they think moms want to hear (ie, let's all dump on dad). That's generally how the market works.

That's certainly borne out in my house. My husband reads a lot -- internet, tech publications, novels. But whenever I've wanted him to read an article or book that I thought might help us in handling our kids, I have practically had to beg him to do so. I guess it would be too much like reading the directions. :-)

Look, I'm not a big fan of parenting magazines; even though I'm not a guy, I find their view of dads (ie, absent, incompetent, or a good little "helper") to be simplistic and offensive. (Not to mention that I really don't give a crap about makeup tips or the "must-haves" for summer, yadda yadda yadda). But if some mags have tried to target dads and gone under, then I think the most likely conclusion is that the magazines are printing exactly what their subscribers want to read. Which to my mind is actually scarier than if this was all controlled by some evil or clueless publishing industry.

Posted by: laura33 | September 20, 2007 8:06 AM

Interesting comments from johnl and r6345. I guess I don't think that women buy a magazing called "Parenting" to get beauty tips. I'd think they'd buy magazines like Glamour and such for that.

I'd love to see a gender-neutral parenting magazine, but they don't seem to exist. I really don't care what other parents think of me, I just like getting ideas for ways to deal with my kids better, fun things to do, and so on.

Posted by: dennis5 | September 20, 2007 8:06 AM

I was also going to post something similar to johnl! It seems a little obvious to me that the market for parenting magazines is primarily women, just because of Brian's statement that most father-focused magazines have failed. If fathers aren't interested in buying these magazines, why wouldn't they be woman focused?

Posted by: jjtwo | September 20, 2007 8:07 AM

Agree with johnl and r6345. Those magazines are "mom-centric" because that's their intended audience. They've found through significant research that the vast majority of their readership consists of women, so they target their ads and their content that way. Whether it's because women care more than men about what others think, I don't know; it just is.

Heck, all successful or wannabe-successful media does that. Why does the Washington Post sports section contain ads for massage parlors? Because men patronize those places and sports section readers are mostly men. (Side note: Weingarten's article on these ads/places a few weeks ago was truly hilarious.) Similar for Sports Illustrated - most of the ads are for beer, men's products (shaving supplies, deodorant, cologne) and other sports activities. Is TimeWarner (SI Publisher) asserting that no women are interested in sports? No, it's simply that they know that the bulk of their readership is one gender, and if they want to make money they have to target that gender.

Perhaps Brian would be less offended if instead of "Parenting" the magazine were called "Mothering"? "Truth in labelling", perhaps?

(And, yes, Brian, those subscriptions tend to be gifts from one source or another. Often it's the publisher themselves, giving you a short complimentary subscription in hopes that you'll keep it. Otherwise, it's a co-marketing agreement. Our day care center gave us free subscriptions to "Working Mother" - whether we wanted it or not - as long as our kids were there.)

Posted by: m2j5c2 | September 20, 2007 8:10 AM

There's already a "mothering" magazine. It's a crunchy-granola mag that prints articles on how going with one's 14-year-old daughter to get her a tattoo can be a bonding experience, and why "real men" co-sleep.

Posted by: newsahm | September 20, 2007 8:15 AM

"Mothering" is a natural family living magazine with a related, very active message board (with hundreds of regulars) that includes quite a few father participants, some of who are SAHDs. However, some of us over there in SAHD families, amongst others, have actually been complaining in part about this very thing-- that it also mostly ignores fathers and only seems to support one type of family set-up-- SAHM.

Posted by: rybatskoye | September 20, 2007 8:26 AM

A long, long time ago, I remember a series of books called "Childcraft"; they were hard covered books, a whole series of them in fact, and basically were "how to" books on raising a child from birth onward. My mom had the entire series and since she had four children, were obviously well read. I remember reading them as a preteen and thinking "why, this is just common sense stuff; why put it in a book?".

I think my sister has them squirreled away somewhere; I should ask her since I may be needing them in the near future.

Posted by: johnl | September 20, 2007 8:28 AM

"real men" co-sleep.

What is co-sleeping?

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 20, 2007 8:30 AM

One of those mags arrived at my house yesterday. They could be written by the guy called "NYC" who does parodies on the the On Parenting blog. "The must have $2000 fall stroller" "Don't let your 10 year old eat popcorn unless you want her to CHOKE TO DEATH" Those magazines are for rich, crazy women trying to outdo each other. I read them as cautionary.

Posted by: atb2 | September 20, 2007 8:31 AM

Co-sleep = family bed. See "attachement parenting." It's a "lifestyle."

Posted by: atb2 | September 20, 2007 8:32 AM

Thanks.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 20, 2007 8:34 AM

Brian -- The reason why Parenting magazine's motto is "What matters to Moms" is because generally speaking, mothers are the only ones who read about parenting (unless in a doctor's office). Obviously there are exceptions. And if there are dads out there on this board who say otherwise, I would be very interested in hearing what magazines and books you've read recently.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 20, 2007 8:36 AM

I agree with Brian on this one. I do agree that the primary market for parenting magazines is women. But the language in a lot of these magazines is not necessary.

Brian, you should get a copy of Today's Parent (Canadian). It's a successful mainstream parenting magazine that yes, is skewed towards the moms that tend to be the buyer/subscribers, but manages not to be totally condescending about dads. How do they achieve this? Here's a quote from their writers' guidelines (available online):

"We would like the magazine to be read by mothers and fathers. Please don't assume an exclusively female audience. Also watch out for sexist language. Good non-sexist writing requires careful sentence construction (avoid using he/she or mixing singular and plural, as in "when a child cries, you should comfort them."). When discussing indivudal children, roughly balance girls and boys. "

Posted by: shandra_lemarath | September 20, 2007 8:37 AM

DH is a teacher, so since he gets off work much earlier than I do, he is often the one to take DS to the doc's. Sometimes I will meet them there after work (the office is in between my work and home.) I HATE HATE HATE the nurses who coo "awwww, daddy came with you to the doctor!" Can it be that odd for the husband to bring the sick child? But I have noticed that other than the staff, he is often the only man I ever see at the doctor's office. Anyone else experience that?

Posted by: RiverCityVA | September 20, 2007 8:39 AM

You aren't missing anything, Brian. Those parenting magazines are awful! The articles can be lumped into a few categories:

Scare of the month ("does looking at goldfish give children cancer?" etc)

Tips on how to deal with some problem that are supposedly new but have actually been written about a thousand times before in other publications (how to get baby to sleep thru the night, etc- believe me, there hasn't been anything genuinely new written about that in the past 20 years)

Treacle ("oh how precious my child is when she ...")

Article by a mom who is worried about whether she is raising her child right because she does/doesn't ... (let child watch TV, let child eat candy, etc). The article always concludes with the mom deciding that it's not so important after all.

These magazines are demeaning to women! Do you want them to be demeaning to men too?

Posted by: barfster | September 20, 2007 8:39 AM

I have to add this tiny thing about "Mothering" magazine. I would classify it as an extremist publication and would highly recommend seeking alternative sources of information as well as reading "Mothering". I haven't read it in years, but I did read it for a while. What primarily turned me off was that it seemed to encourage mothers not just to question their pediatricians (which I firmly believe in doing), but to presume that the pediatricians do not have their children's best interests at heart and to assume there is actually a conspiracy against healthy living.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 20, 2007 8:41 AM

"Mothering" is definitely not mainstream but I think "extremist" is a loaded term. It is a magazine that supports parenting choices that aren't always well-received in society at large (co-sleeping, not vaccinating, homebirth) which is why it's particularly surprising that it would be not as embracing of "alternative" family set-ups such as SAHD/WOHM.

I would point out that not all people who choose some or most (it's very hard to do "all") of these "alternative" parenting styles would think there is such a conspiracy. The magazine is produced by a small group of people who have their particular views for readers to take or leave, just like any other. I think a lot of the stuff in the mainstream magazines is just as "extreme" but just about something else. I personally don't read any parenting magazines regularly (including Mothering, although I am frequently on its boards, which have people with many viewpoints), because they drive me crazy. However, I prefer Mothering to the others. I've heard "Brain Child" is also better but I've never read it.

Posted by: rybatskoye | September 20, 2007 8:51 AM

rbatskoye, I love "Brain Child" and I'm sure you would, too. I still stand by my statement though about "Mothering" being extreme, and I say this as a card-carrying member of La Leche League (if that makes any difference).

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 20, 2007 8:58 AM

Parenting is not gender neutral. Mothers are way more nurturing. Fathers are necessary too, but mothers almost always make the better primary caregiver.

The reason parenting magazines are mom-centric is because only women read that drivel. If I'm any indication, dads would much rather read a car mag, sports mag, or news mag. If parenting mags want to stay in business, they ought to keep writing articles for moms.

Posted by: seansanders38028 | September 20, 2007 8:59 AM

Funny that you assume readers of "Mothering" would accept other alternative lifestyles (SAHD, for instance). In my experience, they pretty much only accept mothers as primary caretakers, as they have the breast and bottles are evil. Just because they're alternative does not mean they are accepting.

Posted by: atb2 | September 20, 2007 9:03 AM

Brian -- The reason why Parenting magazine's motto is "What matters to Moms" is because generally speaking, mothers are the only ones who read about parenting (unless in a doctor's office). Obviously there are exceptions. And if there are dads out there on this board who say otherwise, I would be very interested in hearing what magazines and books you've read recently.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 20, 2007 08:36 AM

I'm an "exception". The most recent book I read was "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk". As for parenting magazines, it's been a while since I've read one because per this discussion, I have no interest in reading about makeup tips.

Posted by: dennis5 | September 20, 2007 9:06 AM

Is there anything dads DO want to read about regarding parenting?

I spent YEARS trying to get my lovely husband to read my favorite pregnancy and parenting books. To make it easy I even highlighted the "good" parts. No dice. Literally he did not read one single word.

And he turned out to be a good dad anyway.

But I'm still wondering -- isn't there ANYTHING dads are curious about in terms of parenting? It can't be true that you all are 100% confident that everything you do is done perfectly. What does this say about fathers today?

Posted by: leslie4 | September 20, 2007 9:07 AM

"Parenting is not gender neutral. Mothers are way more nurturing. Fathers are necessary too, but mothers almost always make the better primary caregiver."

Evidence?

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 20, 2007 9:07 AM

Can it be that odd for the husband to bring the sick child? But I have noticed that other than the staff, he is often the only man I ever see at the doctor's office. Anyone else experience that?

Posted by: tmbgirly | September 20, 2007 08:39 AM

No, it's not that odd. I take my kids all the time and I've seen plenty of other fathers at our pediatrician's office. Maybe it's a regional thing - I live in Denver.

Posted by: dennis5 | September 20, 2007 9:08 AM

Parenting is not gender neutral. Mothers are way more nurturing. Fathers are necessary too, but mothers almost always make the better primary caregiver.

Posted by: seansanders38028 | September 20, 2007 08:59 AM

That's BS. Fathers are just as capable of being primary caregivers as mothers.

Posted by: dennis5 | September 20, 2007 9:10 AM

Can it be that odd for the husband to bring the sick child? But I have noticed that other than the staff, he is often the only man I ever see at the doctor's office. Anyone else experience that?

Posted by: tmbgirly | September 20, 2007 08:39 AM

No, it's not that odd. I take my kids all the time and I've seen plenty of other fathers at our pediatrician's office. Maybe it's a regional thing - I live in Denver.

Posted by: dennis5 | September 20, 2007 09:08 AM

As do I. But I rarely see other fathers. The one appointment I missed, the doctor asked my wife if I was ok. :)

Posted by: r6345 | September 20, 2007 9:10 AM

I work in a hospital clinic. It is not unusual at all to have the dads bring the kids to their appointments. I have never heard any of our staff comment on that fact as we are used to it.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 20, 2007 9:14 AM

But I'm still wondering -- isn't there ANYTHING dads are curious about in terms of parenting? It can't be true that you all are 100% confident that everything you do is done perfectly. What does this say about fathers today?

Posted by: leslie | September 20, 2007 09:07 AM

Not to be snarky, but this anecdote doesn't suggest anything about any dad other than leslie's husband.

Many dads are curious about how to spot medical problems, and about developmental targets, particularly for their first child. My spouse who, like me, would also rather be reading sports magazines, would pick up one of these mags from time to time at the doctors office and was as irritated as Brian. I don't actually think anyone buys these magazines - they are all gifts, LOL. In any event, the readership would only grow if they stopped being written as though only moms parent. It's insulting and senseless, unless they are saving money by regurgitating articles on a 5-year cycle and all of their current articles were written in 1943.

Posted by: MN | September 20, 2007 9:15 AM

They're like wedding magazines. They definitely are on some sort of loop. How much new material can they possibly come up with? That's why they're filled with beauty tips. They need to get a couple of pages of "content" around the ads.

Posted by: atb2 | September 20, 2007 9:19 AM

Parenting mags ignoring or dissing fathers?

Oh, no, Mr. Bill, I feel a song coming one.


Check back at noon to see if I were inspired!

Posted by: Songster | September 20, 2007 9:22 AM

I think men troll for information differently than women do.

Husband and I attended some childbirth prep sessions where they touched on parenting and he took note of that. They encouraged Dads to participate and he pretty much volunteered for the things that leader mentioned.

My husband seems to get more out of face-to-face advice than read-it-in-a-mag.

It's worth remembering if you are trying to reach someone.

Posted by: RedBird27 | September 20, 2007 9:24 AM

I think the thing to remember is that most of these mainstream mags are serving advertisers not parents. The content is just there so the advertisers can hit you with their ads. I'd seek parenting advice from other sources! That said, I agree with Brian that it'd be best for us all if involved fathers were treated as the norm in the media. Suggesting Moms do it better just lets the Dads off the hook!

Posted by: anne.saunders | September 20, 2007 9:29 AM

I would agree with those posters who are making the market forces argument... my husband (now ex) refused to read anything at all about pregnancy and now parenting. Even when he was being a SAHD, I was the one bringing home all the articles with the cool activities circled and the important tips highlighted, and even then they just went in the trash.

And I really think that's true of most dads I know. So why would publishers waste money/time portraying the viewpoint of an audience that's not likely to buy their magazine?

Posted by: ddddddd | September 20, 2007 9:31 AM

@all: I get that parenting magazines are mostly read (and bought) by moms.

But the content is gender-neutral. I could probably re-write 90 percent of Parenting magazine, strip out all mommy-specific references and lose nothing in terms of information or readability. Why go through the effort of making sure every section is "mom-this" or "mommy-that," when it a) adds zero to the content, b) alienates even 10 or 15 percent of your readers (I need to pull up the marketing stats, but I think that's ballpark), and c) contributes to the toxic notion that only mothers give a hoot about the intricacies of parenting?

Posted by: rebeldad | September 20, 2007 9:33 AM

"Is there anything dads DO want to read about regarding parenting?"

Here's one, how to convince our wife that time on the golf course can make us better dads.

Posted by: DandyLion | September 20, 2007 9:33 AM

Can I make a suggestion for a topic for tomorrow's discussion? The fact that Southwest Airlines will end their policy, as of October 2, allowing families with small children to pre-board. They will now have to board after the A group is finished if they do not have an A pass. The spokesperson likens it to allowing first class passengers to board before families with children on "regular" airlines. The CEO says that he does not think its fair that all these families can rush up to the gate at the very last minute and expect to get seated before those who have been waiting. I'd like the CEO to have to stand next to two toddlers in the boarding area who are forced to wait in line in the a group for over an hour to make sure they can get a seat near the bathroom, by a window, together with their family, and with enough overhead space for their carryons. And then he can sit next to those toddlers on the plane, because I am sure they will be in fine moods and lovely to travel with by that point. We stay away from the gate until the very last minute so that we can do our best to ensure a happy flight for everyone - our kids, but more importantly, the travelers around us. An hour of exploring the airport is key to happiness onboard.

Posted by: mdsails | September 20, 2007 9:39 AM

Two responses from a frequent lurker:

"But I'm still wondering -- isn't there ANYTHING dads are curious about in terms of parenting? It can't be true that you all are 100% confident that everything you do is done perfectly. What does this say about fathers today?"

--It says we are (or at least I am) more skeptical about our (my) sources. No, I'm not 100% confident about everything I do as a parent, but I am confident that I'm just as capable as any so called "parenting expert" or "child development specialist" quoted in a magazine. "Experts" spam press releases to journalists seeking to get quoted to raise their profiles. Some journalists bite for the quote because it helps fill an article. The magazine editor publishes the article because you need some filler in between the ads. Take all those articles with a heavy dose of salt.

Posted by: rr321 | September 20, 2007 9:48 AM

As a huge fan of "Brain Child" (it's the only "parenting" magazine I read) I must point out that it really isn't a "parenting" magazine in the sense that it doesn't offer adivce. It is a thoughtful publication that makes you think about the myriad issues and situations that arise when parenting. I always walk away with a different perspective after reading it.

I don't understand why Brin feels this need to be acknowleged by the mainstream meadia. Why he wants to be in a stupid Tide ad. Why he wants to be encouraged to second guess his appearance and every parenting move. Enjoy the fact that you are unfettered by this drivel.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | September 20, 2007 9:53 AM

jlp, while I see your point about flying with toddlers, I can also see Southwest's point. It does seem a bit unfair to allow line-cutting. Since Southwest will also allow you to get your lane letter and a line space number in advance, you will still be able to get to the gate just before boarding instead of needing to wait for an hour or more in one spot.

And as for co-sleeping...waaay too hippie crunchy for me. It's no sin to have a separate identity after giving birth. That's not to say that you can't have the occasional snuggle-in, but the only reason the pioneers slept in one bed was to keep warm. Sometimes there was only room in the hut for one bed, but I bet there were even 'parent' sides and 'kid' sides.

Posted by: educmom_615 | September 20, 2007 9:53 AM

I agree that parenting magazines are crap. They are meant for upper class SAHM with nannies who have time to read about make-up tips and shop for that "must-have" $400 stroller and matching diaper bag. There is very little real or helpful parenting advice in any of them. Not only do they have an offensive view of Dads as either absentee or "mom's little helper" but they also cater to a very small percentage of women.

So here's what I want to know- where do people go for solid parenting advice? I am on my 5th child, but I still wouldn't mind some good advice on raising kids.

Posted by: michelewilson | September 20, 2007 9:58 AM

michele,
If you're raising five without going bonkers, you probably should be GIVING parenting advice!
My favorite adviser is John Rosemond. He's very old-fashioned and no-nonsense. His website is www.rosemond.com.

Posted by: educmom_615 | September 20, 2007 10:02 AM

"But I'm still wondering -- isn't there ANYTHING dads are curious about in terms of parenting? It can't be true that you all are 100% confident that everything you do is done perfectly. What does this say about fathers today?"

Perhaps it is that most fathers do not feel the need to have their own ways and methods on raising their children confirmed or approved by anonymous people, and realize that a generic "do this" article probably doesn't really apply to their specific children and circumstances.

That might also help explain why there are tons of books written on "mommy wars" but none at all on "daddy wars".

Or maybe men are just more stubborn about such things, and determine to find their own way without anyone telling them how to raise their own child.

Posted by: johnl | September 20, 2007 10:07 AM

Can it be that odd for the husband to bring the sick child? But I have noticed that other than the staff, he is often the only man I ever see at the doctor's office. Anyone else experience that?

Posted by: tmbgirly | September 20, 2007 08:39 AM

We heard the same comment from a working mom who had taken off to bring her kid to the pediatrician. "Wow, aren't you lucky your husband came with you to the doctor's office." I replied, "Actually, he's luck I came with him. He's a SAHD, and I took off work to come w

Posted by: kali | September 20, 2007 10:12 AM

Why don't men read about parenting? I'd say that generally speaking, women are much, much more introspective than men as a rule, and by nature are more drawn to books that make you think about what you're doing, question what you're doing, and learn about what others might be doing differently. I'm not saying all men are closed-minded, I just think women are more inquisitive.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 20, 2007 10:13 AM

jlp,

If you don't like Southwest's policy, fly another airline. And I'm saying this as a parent of young children. I don't fly Southwest with them because of the lack of assigned seats. They have a boarding system that works for them. I don't like it so I fly other airlines. It's really pretty simple.

Posted by: dennis5 | September 20, 2007 10:14 AM

educ-mom- There's a line space number? It's just A B C as far as I know. I wish they would just assign seats, for crying out loud. NO ONE likes having to stand in the B line for an hour so they can sit with their spouse. Does anyone know the rationale for this ridiculous practice? I love SWA, but this is so irritating.

Posted by: atb2 | September 20, 2007 10:17 AM

"where do people go for solid parenting advice?"

Fred, pATRICK, ProudPapa, Army Brat, and John L (who isn't a parent yet), but you need not go anywhere else, they are all right here on Onbalance.

Posted by: DandyLion | September 20, 2007 10:18 AM

dennis- But they are such a great airline. They are the least horrible to fly, minus their boarding policy.

Posted by: atb2 | September 20, 2007 10:19 AM

The line space number is coming in November. There's an article in the Baltimore Sun online explaining the new practice (BWI carries a lot of SWA flights). I was interested because my sons are both big fans of SWA.

Posted by: educmom_615 | September 20, 2007 10:20 AM

The problem goes beyond the parenting magazines. Momcentricity is now in our politics too, with organizations that push for better childcare and work flexibility and children's health insurance aimed only at a readership of mothers. I think this is a big mistake. Giving the focus of family-friendly reform to mothers only is like trying to clap with one hand. We need both genders to fight for change and win.

p.s. MomsRising has a small spin-off now called FamiliesRising, which I hope will take off and actually become the 'parent' organization (pun intended). That's a step in the right direction for an organization that is doing so much good.

Posted by: violinline | September 20, 2007 10:20 AM

atb -- SWA's polilcly is new, I thought I heard November, but someone pointed out here that it's October. Whatever. You check in online 24 hours ahead and what's the big deal? You get your letter and your number. Considering I fly short trips from BWI to Long Island (usually at the airport far longer then the flight), I will like it because I won't have to sit in the A line for an hour plus! Especially on days like Thanksgiving.

Posted by: DLC1973 | September 20, 2007 10:22 AM

DandyLion

"where do people go for solid parenting advice?"

Fred, pATRICK, ProudPapa, Army Brat, and John L (who isn't a parent yet), but you need not go anywhere else, they are all right here on Onbalance.

Ha, Ha!
I'd like to meet their kids....

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 20, 2007 10:23 AM

And apparently, not assigning seats actually gets people on and off faster (I can't explain that one, but it seems that they have the data to support it), and airlines save boocoodle bucks by shaving just one or two minutes off turnaround time. That's at least part of the reason SWA fares have stayed so low.

Posted by: educmom_615 | September 20, 2007 10:25 AM

I'd like to second (or third) those who love "Brain, Child". Wonderfully thoughtful magazine. If I could point at how they do it versus all the other magazines out there, I just couldn't. But I really enjoy it.

DH is not at all interested in learning about parenting from a book -- however, he is quite content to follow my lead and I see him try to discipline and interact with my son similar to how I do. (THis is not something I've told him to do, just something I've noticed. He has said before that I have more patience for our 2 yr old than he does).

His own father was mostly AWOL when growing up (busy with his business). Ironically, DH now has his own business and is gone a lot. I wonder if he is trying to be more involved than his own dad. I think so.

He's a loving and patient father, but I do find him having less patience for our son. Moms, dads -- do you see that too?


Posted by: goodhome631 | September 20, 2007 10:32 AM

Eek. The numbers are going to be tough. There are going to be some seriously irritated people who are last on the list who want to sit with their spouses who normally would have stood in the front of the C line for an hour.

It does seem crazy that the cattle call loads faster than loading from the back of the plane by seat assignment. I wonder how.

Posted by: atb2 | September 20, 2007 10:33 AM

"Why go through the effort of making sure every section is "mom-this" or "mommy-that," when it a) adds zero to the content, b) alienates even 10 or 15 percent of your readers (I need to pull up the marketing stats, but I think that's ballpark), and c) contributes to the toxic notion that only mothers give a hoot about the intricacies of parenting?"

Well, clearly, because they THINK they ARE adding content (a), and that by doing so, they will more than offset the 10-15% loss under (b). Seriously, if they really thought that they were losing more readers than they gained by this, they wouldn't do it any more. (c) they just don't give a crap about.

When your target audience is mommies, you want to paint yourself as a sympathetic outlet for those mommies -- it's all about showing that target audience that you "get it." So the theme that comes through is that mommies are most important, that mommies are the ones who carry the heaviest loads, that those darn clueless dads aren't carrying their fair share, etc. etc. etc. It's basic pandering -- telling their target audience what they think it wants to hear.

If pandering didn't work, they wouldn't do it any more. But unfortunately, the death of the more neutral parenting magazines would tend to indicate that this mommy-focus is what the readership wants to hear. Which explains why I'm more concerned about the fact that people actually want to read this drivel than the fact that it is out there (seriously, if everyone just stopped reading the National Enquirer, it would go away).

Posted by: laura33 | September 20, 2007 10:33 AM

I HATE HATE HATE the nurses who coo "awwww, daddy came with you to the doctor!"

Posted by: tmbgirly | September 20, 2007 08:39 AM

We got the exact same comment from another mother at the pediatrician's office last time. I informed her that daddy is a SAHD, and that I took off work to tag along with him!

I hate the mother-centric view of all media - magazines, tv shows, commercials. I understand the market dictates that these things be directed at the primary buyer in the family - the mother. But it's the attitude about fathers that really bothers me. They're almost universally depicted as uninvolved and incompetent.

Posted by: kali | September 20, 2007 10:40 AM

"It does seem crazy that the cattle call loads faster than loading from the back of the plane by seat assignment. I wonder how."

atb, probably because everyone is so busy trying to beat everyone else to their chosen seat that they forget to dawdle and putz. :-)

Man, losing pre-boarding will be tough; I might have to change airlines. Trying to wrestle a carseat and baby bag and two small kids into place is hard enough without a giant line of PO'd people standing behind you waiting for you to move your Giant Pile O' Crap and get your squirming kids out of the aisle so they can sprint by to grab their seats.

Posted by: laura33 | September 20, 2007 10:41 AM

"Having an extra X chromosome doesn't make you better at changing diapers or playing pretend or disciplining a child."

Posted by Brian Reid | September 20, 2007; 7:30 AM ET

I agree with this.

"Parenting is a gender-neutral thing."

No, it isn't. Parenting involves thinking and feeling. My life experience has taught me that men and women do not think the same way. And even if they did think the same way, they certainly don't feel the same way. Mathematics, physics, chemistry -- these are gender-neutral things. There is no "male" or "female" way to treat group representations in Hilbert space, or ideals in Noetherian rings, even though David Hilbert was a man and his colleague, Emmy Noether, was a woman. But interacting with other human beings? No way is that gender-neutral.

As for magazines, I didn't need no stinkin' magazines to show me how to be a father to my children. I remembered how my father raised me, and I did what he did. Maybe the magazines ought to aim at men who grew up without fathers, and so have no example to guide them when they become dads. Unfortunately, this seems to be an expanding market .

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | September 20, 2007 10:45 AM

Can it be that odd for the husband to bring the sick child? But I have noticed that other than the staff, he is often the only man I ever see at the doctor's office. Anyone else experience that?

Posted by: tmbgirly | September 20, 2007 08:39 AM

All the time. One time my husband went to store with the baby to pick up something, he was told he was such a "good daddy for babysitting." Babysitting? Ugh

Posted by: brokenrainbow098 | September 20, 2007 10:47 AM

"Man, losing pre-boarding will be tough; I might have to change airlines. Trying to wrestle a carseat and baby bag and two small kids into place is hard enough without a giant line of PO'd people standing behind you waiting for you to move your Giant Pile O' Crap and get your squirming kids out of the aisle so they can sprint by to grab their seats."

----

You don't lose pre-boarding (per-se). If not in group A, you board between group A and B. You can still sit together as empty rows exist after group A.

http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/checkin.html

No matter when you board, there will be people behind you waiting for you to move.

Posted by: r6345 | September 20, 2007 10:49 AM

There is a great site for Dads it is MetroDad

http://metrodad.typepad.com/

I am not sure but I think his model for child rearing is Lord of the Flies. But worth checking out.

Posted by: jolu32339 | September 20, 2007 10:56 AM

"No matter when you board, there will be people behind you waiting for you to move."

Not so much with the preboard -- gives me a couple of minutes' grace period to get going before the big line comes in. Plus I'm usually quicker than at least some of the other parents, so when we're all in a pack, the line gets annoyed at them instead of me. :-)

Posted by: laura33 | September 20, 2007 10:58 AM

RE:where do people go for solid parenting advice?"

You left out WorkingMomX...:-)I also like the parenting advice offered by Tim Kimmel and Kevin Leman.

I've gone through the same thing with my husband of 20+ years when it comes to reading any type of parenting info. He's just not interested. I read everything I can because I know that my parenting style can always be improved.

My husband has never taken one of our three boys to a doctor's appointment. That's always fallen to me because of either being a SAHM (for 7 years) or the flexibility of my work schedule.

momof3boys

Posted by: CheleFernandez | September 20, 2007 11:00 AM

I just can't shake the suspicion that Brian secretly wore a pregnancy empathy bag around the house when his wife was pregnant.......................

Posted by: pATRICK | September 20, 2007 11:01 AM

Thanks, Momof3boys!

pATRICK, what is a pregnancy empathy bag? Is it like a colostomy bag?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 20, 2007 11:04 AM

Neat to hear about SWA's possibly having assigned seating in the future, I love their airline. I'll bet it's quicker to do not assigned because people are scrambling to get in, find a seat, and "claim" it. If it's assigned, you're in no rush as you know no one is going to "steal" a spot you might want. However, I do think it's unfair for people who travel with family and often have to sit apart (have done that before, in assigned AND not assigned).

I think the idea of parents with young children boarding before everyone else, especially when seating is assigned, is a little unfair as well. I've also seen people really take advantage of it, with kids who were way too old to be called "young." I'm also lately agitated by the behavior parents have let their children get away with on planes. A crying baby I understand no one can stop, but I've seen toddlers out of their seat belts hastling other passengers when the seat belt sign is still on. The parents just "ooohed" and "aaaahhhed" and how cute little billy was being and did nothing to stop it or reprimand it. The flight attendants tried, but the kids were often up out of their seats again after the flight attendants moved on.

Posted by: _Miles | September 20, 2007 11:06 AM

goodhome631


"His own father was mostly AWOL when growing up (busy with his business). Ironically, DH now has his own business and is gone a lot. I wonder if he is trying to be more involved than his own dad. I think so.

He's a loving and patient father, but I do find him having less patience for our son. Moms, dads -- do you see that too?"

There is no irony here. Your husband is an absentee father; he is repeating his own father's mistakes. It's called a cycle and you are part of the cycle.
Not much to wonder about...


Posted by: chittybangbang | September 20, 2007 11:10 AM

Asking me for parenting advice would be like someone in the NFL asking a PeeWee football player how to defend against a
3-4 zone blitz.

All I intend to do is observe other parents, ask for advice from those I trust and respect, recall how my parents raised me, and then act as I feel should be appropriate for my particular circumstance and child.

But, following the directions from a "parenting" article as if raising a child is like a recipe? I don't think so.

Posted by: johnl | September 20, 2007 11:11 AM

"I've seen toddlers out of their seat belts hastling other passengers when the seat belt sign is still on. The parents just "ooohed" and "aaaahhhed" and how cute little billy was being and did nothing to stop it or reprimand it. The flight attendants tried, but the kids were often up out of their seats again after the flight attendants moved on."

_Miles, this is against FAA regulations and you should report the airline. It's the parents' job to keep their kids in the seats, but if the flight attendants aren't properly enforcing the rules, they're to blame, too.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 20, 2007 11:12 AM

"DandyLion

"where do people go for solid parenting advice?"

Fred, pATRICK, ProudPapa, Army Brat, and John L (who isn't a parent yet), but you need not go anywhere else, they are all right here on Onbalance.

Ha, Ha!
I'd like to meet their kids...."

While I don't always agree with the above mentioned people, I have no doubt that they all love their kids and take a deep interest in them, so on behalf of all of us, rasberry to you!!!! (this is a G rated blog after all, luckily for you)

Posted by: pATRICK | September 20, 2007 11:13 AM

"Plus I'm usually quicker than at least some of the other parents, so when we're all in a pack, the line gets annoyed at them instead of me. :-)"

Laura, all the parents not in group A will be massed together between A and B groups. Sure, if you're in group A, you'll have some group A people (or is that Type A people) mad that you are taking time.

Otherwise, you're just one of the pack. :)

Posted by: r6345 | September 20, 2007 11:16 AM

WORKINGMOMX, this is it. It's actually funnier to see than read. I am still laughing.


http://www.empathybelly.org/features.html

Posted by: pATRICK | September 20, 2007 11:16 AM

"Ha, Ha!
I'd like to meet their kids...."

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 20, 2007 10:23 AM

Fly to N.O. today, I will be picking up the older daughter. You can meet 3 of them today.

But you better not say anything bad about No. 2 dau aka AF Dau, she knows how to cuff & stuff.

Posted by: Fred | September 20, 2007 11:20 AM

In order to be considered a good father, a dad only need to be a step better than Darth Vader.

Posted by: DandyLion | September 20, 2007 11:21 AM

But, following the directions from a "parenting" article as if raising a child is like a recipe? I don't think so.

Posted by: johnl | September 20, 2007 11:11 AM

I guess it's a difference in perspective. I don't see those articles as being "recipes" saying you must follow their advice. I look at them as offering ideas, in the same way that you get ideas from your friends and family.

For example, say I read an article about how to get kids to do their chores, and it has some suggestions that we aren't currently doing. I'll take the ideas into consideration to see if they might work for our family. I don't just do what the article says because the author must know more than me. It's just giving me some ideas that I might not have already thought about.

Posted by: dennis5 | September 20, 2007 11:23 AM

This is totally off the subject except that we're talking about loving and parenting our children to the best of our ability...

What is with all the crazy people (Texas in particular)killing/maiming their children?! Has this kind of behavior always been around or am I just now paying attention?

momof3boys

Posted by: CheleFernandez | September 20, 2007 11:24 AM

Chris Rock said that all dads can be measured by one standard.. Keep your daughter off the stripper pole. If she's on the pole, than you f'ed up.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 20, 2007 11:24 AM

If the magazine's readership is 95% female (and believe me they research their readership), of course it's going to be aimed at women. They are just not going for a gender-neutral demographic. Since dad-oriented magazines also exist, I'm surprised this irritates you so much. I agree they should change the titles from "Parents" and "Parenting" to something more specific, but you can't expect them to write for people who aren't their readers.

Posted by: lmlarock | September 20, 2007 11:27 AM

RE:But, following the directions from a "parenting" article as if raising a child is like a recipe? I don't think so.

I agree with Dennis5. I'm always on the lookout for ways to tweak my parenting.
A friend of mine recently started paying her firstborn for grades on the premise that his "job" is to be a student.

momof3boys

Posted by: CheleFernandez | September 20, 2007 11:29 AM

I always heard it you can get them out of HS without a pregnancy you have succeeded as a parent!

Posted by: Fred | September 20, 2007 11:30 AM

Chris Rock said that all dads can be measured by one standard.. Keep your daughter off the stripper pole.

To add to this: keep your sons out of jail.

The neighborhood I grew up in in South Florida--poor, welfare mothers, virtually no fathers--produced plenty of jailbirds and out-of-wedlock teen moms.

And the strippers I knew, plenty in an area where strip clubs are on every other street corner, all had absentee fathers.

Posted by: pepperjade | September 20, 2007 11:32 AM

pATRICK, that is hysterical! I would have to get my husband completely wasted in order for him to wear that. And then I could put on "Pride & Prejudice" so he could REALLY get in touch with his feminine side . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 20, 2007 11:36 AM

I'm not saying I would discount generic advice from a "how to" parenting article, only that I wouldn't treat it as the Holy Writ that some parents seem to consider such articles.

And no, I'm not going to parent the way my dad did. He didn't get involved with us until we were capable of working on the farm, then we were treated as unpaid farm hands and general laborers, except he also had to feed us and keep a roof over our heads. Never played with us, never had father/son talks, etc. It was either work or the times we needed to be disciplined that he would get involved.

Posted by: johnl | September 20, 2007 11:56 AM

As to toddlers on the loose on airplanes.

Any parent whose toddler can't figure out how to undo an airplane seatbelt needs to re-think that child's physical and mental health and development. The real problem here is that airlines don't have decent plans for child safety seats. 12 years ago when I was dealing with a toddler, I had a nifty five-point safety-harness thingy (basically a padded steel plate) that hooked onto the airplane seat's seatbelt. I have no idea if this device is still on the market. When my 10 month old was still in her rear-facing baby seat, I tied a burp cloth around the airplane seatbelt latch to keep her from playing with, and un-doing, that bright shiny thing right on her lap.

Posted by: contrarymom | September 20, 2007 12:08 PM

"The CEO says that he does not think its fair that all these families can rush up to the gate at the very last minute and expect to get seated before those who have been waiting."

I agree that it's unfair, and it does lend to the "But I have CHILD-reeeeen! I have the MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD SO I COME FIRST!" mentality (sorry for the screaming). However, the CEO of Southwest might do well to ask it's non-parent customers what they would like. Many of us like the pre-boarding policy because it allows us to check out where the parents are, and sit elsewhere. It would be unfortunate if we got settled in comfortably, having gotten an "A" ticket and stood in line for an hour to get a window seat, and then have Mommy-most-important-job-in-the-world plop down with her shrieking 2.3 kids, stroller, diaper bag, breast pump, endless noisy toys and snacks, and of course, parenting magazines. Then again, I don't know if that's better or worse than having a toddler stare at me over the back of its seat (while, of course, standing in the seat, which is always safe), or having someone's little one kick my seat throughout the flight.

I'm all about letting parents pre-board. It lets them keep their sense of entitlement, and keeps confrontation to a minimum, because in spite of how I may sound, I don't want to offend anyone or their children, but I may not be able to control myself on a cross-country flight.

Posted by: Monagatuna | September 20, 2007 12:11 PM

Noon time and Tune Time!

to the beat of "Heard it through the Grapevine!"

A Father's Lament!

Ooh, I bet you're wondering how I knew
About those beauty tips and fall colors too
Recipes and pots & pans, soaps that I knew before.
Between the two of us guys
You know I love Pampers more.
It took me by surprise I must say,
When I found out yesterday.
Don't you know that...

I read it in the magazine
No! I'm not capable of raising mine.
Oh I read it in a magazine,
Oh and I'm just about to lose my mind.
Honey, honey yeah.

I know that a man ain't supposed to fry,
But these potatoes I can't hold inside.
Losin' my apron would end my life you see,
Cause cooking and cleaning mean so much to me.
You could have told me yourself
That the toilet will clean itself.
Instead...

I read it in the magazine
No! I'm not capable of raising mine.
Oh I read it in a magazine,
Oh and I'm just about to lose my mind.
Honey, honey yeah.

"Parents" say buy more of what you see,
Son, and help our advertisement fees.
I can't help bein' confused
If it's toilet training please tell me dear?
Do you use pull-ups before he goes
Or for your child do you use "Luvs" evermore?
Don't you know...

I read it in the magazine
No! I'm not capable of raising mine.
Oh I read it in a magazine,
Oh and I'm just about to lose my mind.
Honey, honey yeah.

Posted by: Songster | September 20, 2007 12:16 PM

"Many of us like the pre-boarding policy because it allows us to check out where the parents are, and sit elsewhere."

I nominate for quote of the YEAR!!!!

Posted by: chittybangbang | September 20, 2007 12:17 PM

"As for magazines, I didn't need no stinkin' magazines to show me how to be a father to my children. I remembered how my father raised me, and I did what he did."

Matt's comment above is the bookend to this comment below:

"His own father was mostly AWOL when growing up (busy with his business). Ironically, DH now has his own business and is gone a lot. I wonder if he is trying to be more involved than his own dad. I think so."


The "I'll raise my kids just like I was raised" model is nothing more than a way to ensure that you pass on whatever mistakes were made with you to the next generation. If the way you were raised really was fabulous than it will stand up well when viewed dispassionately and when compared to alternative approaches to raising children.

pATRICK: did you just quote Chris Rock, LOL??? I didn't think he was on your approved cultural figure list.

Posted by: MN | September 20, 2007 12:30 PM

pATRICK: did you just quote Chris Rock, LOL??? I didn't think he was on your approved cultural figure list.


MN, I think Chris Rock is one of the funniest people alive. He skewers everyone equally, that is why I like him. His bit on marriage is hilarious.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 20, 2007 12:58 PM

MN, BTW check out my empathy bag link that I sent to WORKINGMOMX , it's priceless.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 20, 2007 12:59 PM

Songster, great tune! I'll be humming that all afternoon!

If keeping your daughter off the stripper pole qualifies as not failing, then does keeping your son from filling the strippers' g-strings count the same way?

Maybe it's because I'm a teacher and I spend my days giving the hairy eyeball, but I have NO PROBLEM reprimanding poorly behaved children if the parents are totally oblivious -- i.e., I will tell the toddler peering over the seat to turn around and sit down. I'm not mean but I am authoritative, and if the parent says anything, I just say, don't worry, I'm a teacher and I'm used to dealing with children. Shuts 'em up fast.

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 20, 2007 1:01 PM

I have always thought that the manlessness of parenting magazines was sexist, period. I'm sure the publishers could quote you all sorts of marketing research blather about women and reading about parenting, but does that mean they're *really* transcending their own prejudices? Actual scientists frequently fall victim to their own preset mentalities (think the unquestioning prescribing of HRT, or the early history of anthropology), so why shouldn't marketers? Read the Post: at any given time there are plenty of object lessons about the irrational behavior of corporations. For example, I know I've read somewhere that African-Americans are underrepresented in major magazine ads, even though it's been proven that they spend more money on clothing for whatever their income level, and they're more willing to try new products. It's not a big stretch to imagine male fatherhood being equally invisible.

Posted by: floomby | September 20, 2007 1:04 PM

If keeping your daughter off the stripper pole qualifies as not failing, then does keeping your son from filling the strippers' g-strings count the same way?

No, keeping them out of jail is more equal.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 20, 2007 1:07 PM

Re: preboarding, I don't think it's about anyone's relative importance as much as an efficiency thing. The theory is that the entire boarding process goes faster if the flyers who take the longest time to arrance their carry-ons and get in their seat board in a relative empty plane, and at the same time, instead of being evenly distributed amongst the road warriors.

FWIW, when my son was a *very* annoying toddler, I always boarded as late as possible. I figured the less time he spent cooped up, the higher the probability I wouldn't have to kill him in flight.

Posted by: floomby | September 20, 2007 1:11 PM

I figured the less time he spent cooped up, the higher the probability I wouldn't have to kill him in flight.

Posted by: floomby | September 20, 2007 01:11 PM

LOL!

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 20, 2007 1:26 PM

Laura: Right - you don't have to be the fastest, you just have to run faster than the other guys being chased by the bear ;)

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 20, 2007 2:01 PM

That's a shame about SWA policy. I have two flights scheduled with them with a one year old and four year old. The biggest problem is whether we will get seats together, which would not have been a problem under the old system. I agree that maybe it was a bit unfair to others that I got to board first. But my guess is SW will lose some family travelers (me included) for changing the policy. I don't want to have to sit in the group A line for an hour with my kids on the floor waiting to board just so that we can all sit together. I'd rather just go with a different airline, have a pre-assigned seat and board whenever I please.

And I agree, that if I don't like it, I should use a different airline, and that's what I intend to do in the future. That said, I bought my tickets for these flights before the policy change was announced, and that's what you call bait and switch.

Posted by: cliffmerrell | September 20, 2007 2:05 PM

I'm coming in late to this topic, but I think that the publishers of those magazines may simply have only been exposed to men like my husband.

He is a great Dad and loves his little boy but he does not like to read parenting books and magazines. Instead, he'd rather let me read them and tell him the important parts. Parenting, Dr. Spock, and so on all get condensed to the Exec Sum. If he wants to know information and I'm not there, he'll Google it and so only get the little tidbit he needs.

I can't fault him...it's efficient

Posted by: dedeeboru | September 20, 2007 2:08 PM

I'm glad my comments weren't taken as harshly as I made them sound. I agree with above poster who said that the reason for pre-boarding was efficiency rather than superiority, and I agree that it is more efficient to do so. It may be unfair for those of us who have to stand in line for an hour to wait for a decent seat, but I'd take unfairness over the unpredictability of parental seating arrangements, having to move when a late-arriving parent can't find two or three seats together, the complaints of parents about the elimination of the policy, the interruption of having to wait behind a parent folding up a stroller, etc. etc. I feel that, in all its inherent unfairness, pre-boarding is best for parents and non-parents.

Unfortunately, I am too chicken-s**t to do anything other than glare at a parent whose child is acting up. So I just do my best to try to avoid people that I think will worsen my already-bad flying experience.

Posted by: Monagatuna | September 20, 2007 2:12 PM

floomby:

"It's not a big stretch to imagine male fatherhood being equally invisible."

As opposed to the visible female fatherhoods and male motherhoods, of course.

Posted by: johnl | September 20, 2007 2:13 PM

oh, and with regards to preboard. I won't fly. The liquids restriction coupled with them kicking women off for breastfeeding is too much for me. How is my kid supposed to eat?
I take the train. And yes, they allow preboard as well and we use it. We're fast, it's just easier to walk up and down looking for a seat while the train is still if you're holding an infant.

Posted by: dedeeboru | September 20, 2007 2:14 PM

Well, thank you Educmom. I write these for my entertainment. If you find them humorous, I am thrilled! A postive response gives me inspiration!

Posted by: Songster | September 20, 2007 2:21 PM

What is with all the crazy people (Texas in particular)killing/maiming their children?! Has this kind of behavior always been around or am I just now paying attention?

momof3boys

Posted by: CheleFernandez | September 20, 2007 11:24 AM

It's always been around. I have a grim fascination with these sorts of stories, a "there but for the grace of [insert deity of your choice here]"...

When I was five and my sisters and brother were four, 34 months, and 14 months respectively, our mother had her first 'nervous breakdown'.

Long, sad, grim story... but 'baby Jesus' (what Mother was calling my brother) didn't get crucified, and the 'three angels' (me and my sisters) didn't ascend to heaven in a blaze of glory.

That was in Idaho in 1964, and Mother has been in and out of various mental institutions ever since.

Posted by: sue | September 20, 2007 2:27 PM

"Well, thank you Educmom. I write these for my entertainment. If you find them humorous, I am thrilled! A postive response gives me inspiration!"

OR in other words "I feel it, and I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me"

with the usual apologies to Sally Fields

Posted by: pATRICK | September 20, 2007 2:34 PM

The tune has been in my head all afternoon but I have been working so haven't had my usual time to really pay attention. Sing it Songster!

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 20, 2007 2:39 PM

Yup!

Posted by: Songster | September 20, 2007 2:39 PM

and pATRICK after I wrote "Don't Sing in the Subway" the other day because you inspired me! GeeWiz!

Posted by: Songster | September 20, 2007 2:41 PM

I have this vision of the California Raisins wearing SWA flight attendant uniforms, singing in an airport terminal...

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 20, 2007 3:28 PM

Leslie, as to why men don't read pregnancy/parenting magazines, it's because we'd lose all our "guy points" for doing so. Why, that would be even worse than reading the manual for the new power tool I just bought. :-)

In my own case, though, if there was something DW wanted me to look at I'd look at it, but somewhat skeptically. If there was an idea that I thought sounded good, I might try it, but in general I'm a believer in "trust your instincts."

On the other hand, I do believe in consulting the experts when needed. I'm the one who always schedules the consultation sessions with the pediatrician to talk about what's going on with the kids and how to react; e.g., is this weight gain normal/okay; is the sudden inability to sleep through the night serious. We've had the same pediatrician for 16 years; she's fantastic and knows our kids very well. Plus she knows hundreds of other kids and can tell us how common/uncommon certain things really are. Much better than reading a magazine.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 20, 2007 3:34 PM

"I don't want to have to sit in the group A line for an hour with my kids on the floor waiting to board just so that we can all sit together. I'd rather just go with a different airline, have a pre-assigned seat and board whenever I please. "

cliffmerrell, if you don't have A group, you board after A group. This is less than 1/3 of the plane. The probability of getting seats together is 100%. If you have A group, you can either sit on the floor and go early with A or wait and be the last group A.

Either way, you DON'T need to sit of the floor. You WILL be able to sit together.

Posted by: r6345 | September 20, 2007 3:35 PM

And, cliffmerrill, you'll get a number marking your place in line. You actually WON'T have to wait by the gate, just show up right before boarding. Now, if you don't check in early ad get a C, then you will have some trouble.

I think SWA is trying to split the differnece between those who want assigned seating and those who want the old system. Like any good compromise, everybody hates it.

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 20, 2007 3:42 PM

Re: SWA - while I'm not a huge fan of "cattle call", they have done a LOT of research and shown that it's much, much faster than assigned seating. Apparently it's because of what someone said up-thread - if you don't have an assigned seat, you hustle to grab the one you want. If you already know where you're sitting, you always have a few people trying to cut in line and board earlier than their row, and a few people dawdling and getting on when they're announcing "last call, all ticketed passengers should now be on board." There's no penalty (if you're not worried about bags in the overhead), so heck, why NOT make the whole plane wait for me? :-)

(It's sort of like a lot of people have pointed out in response to Brian's original complaints re: the magazines: these people do a LOT of research and they know what makes them money and what doesn't - or they don't stay in business long. A few people may be offended by it, but it's not a big enough phenomenon to change their behavior - they want the profits, darn it.

Somebody else pointed out upthread that the WaPo sports section runs ads for "massage parlors" that are thinly-disguised houses of ill repute. Yes, the WaPo gets complaints about it, and there are probably a few people who won't buy the WaPo because of it, but contrast that small loss of revenue with the ad revenue they get.

Similarly with Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue - yes they get complaints and lose a few subscribers, but contrast that with the money they make.

The common thread is that these people all know what they're doing; if not they wouldn't be in business for so long.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 20, 2007 3:44 PM

I'm with Meesh, or maybe it was Mona, who said that I'd actually prefer preboarding so that when I fly alone (which I do more often than I fly with my family), I can see where the kids are and sit elsewhere. And of course, when I fly with my kids, preboarding is a godsend. It's a shame. I guess we'll have to start flying another airline when there's a choice!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 20, 2007 3:48 PM

I have no guy points left.

I read those magazines, if only to know what to expect from my DS and to know how to deal with the unexpected issues that arise. I have asked my DW to try some of the things in the magazines, usually when something isn't working for her, but "mother knows best" is the mantra I get.

My mother and my wife have totally different parenting styles. I try to bridge the gap and reading Parenting and other mags help me understand what my DW is going through.

I don't read the articles about how bad a mother feels about what she is doing. I don't read the articles about fashion. I don't read the articles that are not relevant to my DS's age group. But I do read the "how to" articles that deal with the real-life issues. I am a manual reader (again, no guy points left) so that I can figure out how to take care of my tools/appliances/toys. My DW does not and ruins quite a few of these tools/appliances/toys or gets frustrated trying to use them.

Posted by: WorkingDad | September 20, 2007 4:29 PM

WorkingDad, if you next tell us that you don't like beer you're going to get shunned at pATRICK's next block party (ref to yesterday)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 20, 2007 4:31 PM

FQOTD

"I figured the less time he spent cooped up, the higher the probability I wouldn't have to kill him in flight."

Posted by: floomby | September 20, 2007 01:11 PM

(Not that Fred's and Frieda's kids EVER acted like that!)

Unfortunately, the Creepy Van (tm) is broken right now so you will just have to sit in the driveway and image the Hula Girl shaking her hips!

Posted by: Fred | September 20, 2007 6:36 PM

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