Monday, March 06, 2006
Worst book, ever
I wonder if you can get sued for saying something like... oh, I don't know... "Don't ever buy this book, it is the worst book, ever."
No, right?

Ok, well, I went to the library a couple of weeks ago and got about ten books. Seven of them were parenting books, mostly preteen and prepreteen and the other three were for puppies. That was also when I got my language cds, if you are trying to keep track :)
So, I've been through three of the parenting books already. Once you've been a parent for almost ten years, you can skip over several of the chapters like "fit throwing" or "hitting" or any other issue that mostly arises in toddlers and very young kids and skip to the bigger things like "the talk" or "changing bodies."
I was going to name them all here but a) they weren't worth it and b) that's a lot of hyperlinking so instead, I am just going to bitch about one of them.

One of the books I got is called I'm Okay, you're a brat. by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
Now, when I saw this, I was thinking it would be a little more humorous than anything else. You know, poking fun at how crazy our kids can make us and how we aren't awful parents, that kind of thing. A few pages in, I knew this book wasn't for me and thought maybe I would let Jiffinner read it since she doesn't have kids yet. One chapter in, I knew I wanted to yell at the author.

Now, I know as much as the next guy that no one ever tells you how hard it is, no one ever tells you how much work it will be and how it will completely change you lives when you have kids. No one ever tells you because there is no way that you can, with words, express how much your world changes. Are you up all night for the first year? Bet your ass. Do you have diapers and messes and screaming and tantrums and a million other things thrown at you on a daily basis? Uh... yeah. But if you truly love and are devoted to your children, that smile you get after two hours of sleep in two days or that "Good night Mamma, I lub you" after a whole day of saying "no!" to your toddler makes it all worth it.

In this book, Susan Jeffers says that there are basically two types of people. The normal people, of which she classifies herself, and the people born with "Loving-Being-a-Parent (LBP) genes."
Now before I go too much farther, let me tell you, I am not writing this to stick myself up on a pedestal or to say I am such a good mother or anything, I am just mad. This book disgusted me to such a level that I am angry.

From the second page of the first chapter:
When my first child was born, I was filled with fairy-tale expectations about the joys of parenting. It was a time of great celebration. But the party soon ended, all the revelers went home ...and the reality set in. And as my days as a parent turned into weeks, into months, into years and into decades, the question never left my mind... Why didn't anyone ever tell me how shockingly hard it was going to be?
My mother didn't tell me. My friends who were parents before me didn't tell me. The famous childcare experts who I relied on and trusted didn't tell me. Nobody ever told me. To this day, many years later, the world-at-large still glorifies, sanctifies, and romanticizes the longest and most difficult project in the world called PARENTHOOD, which has been justifiably described by comedian, Rick Reynolds, as "life-drainingly, wretchedly, miserably hard." It truly does feel that on this subject, a conspiracy of silence pervades our society.

Now, as I said before, being a parent is hard. Ask Jiffinner how many times I have told her that before she and The Bear start a family, get all that stuff you want to buy, do all the things you want to do, get all the sleep you want to sleep because when you have a baby, your world changes. And having a child is the longest and most difficult project you will ever take on, but the rewards so far outnumber the hindrances.
As much as I would love to copy the entire book here so that you can read it all and gasp at the awful things written it, I haven't the time nor the copyright permission so if you are truly curious about the book, I recommend going to your local library and checking it out instead of buying it. If you really think that you shouldn't be a parent because you don't like children or you don't ever want to lose your freedom, then this book is probably for you and you should read it as long as you get it from the library so as not to send any royalties to this mean lady.

The book should have been titled: The Big Warning.
And then one copy should have been given to each and every very selfish person on this planet. Look at the table of contents, for instance:

Part One: Another Side Of The Picture
Chapter One: Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me?
Chapter Two: I Want My Life Back!
Chapter Three: Oil and Water: Sex and Diapers
Chapter Four: The Unspeakable Truth About Kids

Part Two: Send The "Experts" Back To School
Chapter Five: What You Put In Doesn't Necessarily Come Out
Chapter Six: Down With The Guilt Peddlers!
Chapter Seven: Top Ten Mad, Mad Myths

1. There is an instinctual urge for all men and women to have children.
2. Having children is the ultimate fulfillment in a woman's life.
3. All women instictively know how to care for their newborn child.
4. All women have an instinctual desire to care for their children.
5. Breast is best for everyone.
6. "Bonding" and "attachment" are essential to the well-being of the child's life.
7. Mothers should stay home from work during the early years of a child's life.
8. All that goes wrong with a child is the mother's fault.
9. Women are more capable than men when it comes to the care of their children.
10. Getting custody of the children is a "win" for all women.
[Had to add these after I read them]
Chapter Eight: The Dangers Of Full- Time Parenting
Chapter Nine: There's No Place Like Work

Part Three: Should We... Shouldn't We... Why Did We?
Chapter Ten: So Why Do We Do It?
Chapter Eleven: So Why Don't We Do It?
Chapter Twelve: If One Could Do It All Over Again...

Can you tell that this book was written by someone who clearly should have never been a mother? I didn't couldn't read the whole thing. I took this book to the park with me on Sunday and put it down after two chapters so I could go play with my kids. Why? Because the fact that there are people like this woman out in the world raising a child made me sad.


The beginning of Chapter Two says:
I have heard expectant parents saying with great assurance that having a children won't change their lives. They are humorously, yet pitifully, misinformed. The truth is that: Everything changes once a child is born!
There is not one Iota, not one speck of your life, that remains the same - physically, psychologically, financially, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, experientially. Name it, and it changes. It's as though we've traded one life for another and the big shock hits for many of us when we realize: There is no going back!
It then goes on to cover a bunch of the things that changed in such a negative way that I was appalled.
"Freedom: "I can't believe I traded my old life for this. I voluntarily traded heaven for misery. I made a bad decision and I have to find a way to live with it."
Sleep, Precious Sleep: You may think that once the colic disappears and a normal sleep pattern is established, all is well. Wrong! Now it's time for teething problems. Will this merriment never cease? "Yes, little one, I know your gums hurt. But I am tired." Eventually the teething problems disappear and you sleep more peacefully throughout the night until the early, very early, morning at which time that playful, cuter-than-cute face is in your tired face wanting her breakfast and demanding your attention. Ob, boy. Does she demand your attention! When they finally reach school age, you are still up early, dressing them, feeding them breakfast and waiting for the school bus to arrive. It's early, early, early. No respite here.
Mobility: The pathetically naive among us believe that a child needn't hamper mobility; you can just take the little one with you wherever you want to go. Obviously, these unsuspecting should are not observers of human behavior. In the first place, it's not that easy. In the second place, who wants your child there anyway?
Privacy: From the minute a child is born to the time he flies from the nest, privacy is a thing of the past. Remember this: Privacy never resides where a child resides.
And as if you need any other reasons, there are subchapters devoted to: Money, Career Opportunities, Camaraderie, "Sanity", Adulthood (The Best Parts), Self-Esteem, Personal Time, Fun, Relationships, Peace Of Mind

And it's all wrapped up with this:
"Those with the LBP genes willingly give up much of their lives because of the wonderful benefits they experience in raising their children. Those without the LBP genes love their children, but feel as though they have been imprisoned without any chance of parole!

That was it. That was all I could take.
Are there people out there like this? I have no doubt. Everytime I see someone arrested on the news for killing or hurting their child, I know that there are people who aren't meant to be parents. It's ironic, really, that those upper-middle class married couples, very similar to our author I'm sure, are the ones no one bats an eye lash at when they say that they are having a child. But me, your statistical knocked up fifteen year old, I'm the one people worried about.
Two parent households with quotes like, "She and her husband had wanted this child so badly, but during these four months they lost sight of the reason why. (Four years later, they still haven't figured it out.)" and "I'm tossing the baby around on the bed trying to get him to fall asleep. I had to try very hard not to be violent with him. Anything to shut him up."
They make it sound like having a child is the biggest plague to ever befall your happy household. This book was the biggest load of crap I have ever attempted to read.

so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 8:01 AM
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