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How Parenting Became a DIY Project

According to Emily Matchar, from home birth to homemade baby food to homeschooling, raising kids is a way for parents to express their individuality. But is it a good thing?

It seems that every time you turn around these days there are reasons to feel inadequate as a parent. Most recently I have been apologetic to my peers that I didn’t have my daughter hand make Valentine’s cards for her friends, that I didn’t even buy Valentine’s cards for my 2-year-old son to distribute, that I never made baby food from scratch — heck I never even considered doing it, and that I’ve never once lost sleep wondering if a vaccine might be harmful for my child. I haven’t joined a CSA, never wrote a birth plan, and haven’t spent much time looking for alternatives for my daughter’s ok-but-not-fantastic after-school program. I pay for other people to host my kids’ birthday parties and I haven’t stitched, sketched, glued or embroidered a single decorative item for either of my children. I did paint the stencil on the nursery wall, but that was before first child was born, and therefore, before I was technically a parent.  If you read my blog posts much, none of this will really surprise you. However, here’s my big confession: I don’t actually feel guilty about any of this. I occasionally wonder what the heck is wrong with me that I couldn’t imagine finding the time in my day to do any of these things when many of my fellow working moms do at least several of these things regularly. But I don’t really sweat the fact that I don’t do them. It’s not a popular position these days, which is why I have closeted this fact until Emily Matchar wrote this article in The Atlantic.

Matchar takes, what I presume will be an offensive position to some parents, that a lot of moms have turned parenting into a DIY project more in order to fulfill needs of their own rather than for what’s really in it for the children. I’ll let others debate that point, but for me it’s simply reaffirming to know I’m not on an island of my own.

2 comments

  1. Profile photo of Amy

    Amy February 25, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I have to imagine that by giving up all the DIY projects that you have time to engage with your kids in ways that are important to you. So bravo! For me, I love to cook so making homemade baby food was a nice outlet for “me” time and a little bit of an adventure. On the flip side, there have been times I feel like I have to keep up with the DIY parents and then I get totally frustrated and guilty. So thanks for the reminder that, as parents, we simply do the best we can for our children.

  2. Tali February 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    I think as long as we support each other as women, and teach our children to be supportive of alternative ways of living their lives, we’re all good.
    So many people spend time badmouthing women that DIY (and bloggers that don’t) and so much of it is because of our own insecurities.
    I wish just as much attention was given to neglected children that Marisa Meyers got for her parenting choices. Imagine the awareness that would be raised!
    I’m ashamed at how much we as women judge each other, and I’m certainly not exempt!
    To each their own and kudos to you for accepting the parent you are while knowing your kids are just fine!

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