Parenting for dummies


I normally make it a hard and fast rule not to make fun of other writers. I mean, it’s hard, this writing gig, and criticism among the ranks isn’t going to make it all any easier.

Yeah, yeah, I know those of you working out in the big world every day just sneered, and rightly so. “Oh it’s so hard to write, says the columnist … oh, sure. Sometimes you have to actually hit “send” or “spell check” or something. Sounds grueling.”

OK, yeah, I get that. It’s not coal mining. Still, I rarely poke fun at other writers or their work because people who write in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. That said, I simply cannot help myself. Britney Spears’ mother, Lynn Spears, has written a book on parenting.


Lynn Spears, mother of “I am routinely seen out in public in my underwear, completely whacked out of my mind on drugs and alcohol Britney” (and her younger sister, teenage mother, Jamie Lynn) has written a book telling the rest of us how to parent?

I can only presume it’s the perfect guide for all parents who want their kids to end up staggering drunk in Hollywood, flashing their lack of underwear to the masses?

I mean, c’mon, seriously? Is this some kind of joke or something?

Advice. That’s the thing about having children — almost from the moment you conceive, people start telling you what to do. I mean, generally if you are old enough that people celebrate your impending blessed event and encouraging you to excel at it, then it probably should be assumed you are also old enough to know how to make fairly responsible(ish) life choices for your offspring.

Ah, but no. It starts early in pregnancy. What to Expect When You’re Expecting is only the beginning. What you should really expect is stacks of reading material that will expand almost as rapidly as the mother-to-be. There will be no end to writers telling you how to birth, feed, sleep-train, potty-train, socialize, civilize and even exercise your baby.

No one is too obscure to have an opinion on how the rest of us should raise our children. While there is certainly some wisdom out there, I have come to the conclusion that many of the books are just there to make parents feel as bad as possible all the time.

Just in case you didn’t doubt your ability to raise a child enough, there are dozens of experts who will happily tell you everything that you are doing wrong.

Who else?

Despite the “something for everyone” school of thought, I honestly cannot imagine that there are too many other mothers out there who could possibly relate to Lynn Spears’ experience. She is a classic stage mother who has “sold” her daughter almost since birth and relentlessly pushed her children toward fame at all costs.

(Unless it’s Lindsey Lohan’s mother, who will undoubtedly be writing her own book at any moment). Maybe they could have gone half-sies on the cost of rehab or something. Perhaps matching T-shirts: My daughter went to jail and all I got was this book deal!

In progress

As a parent, I try my best every day to do right by my children. Our family is very much a work in progress and I’m not against taking advice. From my family, friends, neighbors, heck, I’ll even take advice from members of the community who have raised their own children successfully.

Nonetheless, Mrs. Spears is one font of wisdom I simply cannot support. Unless this little missive is titled Do as I Say, Not As I Do, in which case, I do applaud truth in advertising.


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.