I was reading the May 2011 Parenting: School Years magazine that had been abandoned in the common lunchroom, when I came across this advertisement.
Now I’ve been a parent for a while now. And, at least since the latter part of the 20th Century, I’ve noticed that there has been a concerted effort, at least in the United States, for fathers to be treated like parents too. Just this semester, there was an event in Albany, NY for fathers to walk their children to school, and in some schools, to stay for breakfast. This was also a message that had been spread in the Daughter’s preschool.
So messages like the one above, in my opinion, undercut the message. I’ve also been peevish with General Mills for quite a while, with their tag for KIX cereal – “Kid tested, Mother approved,” which you can see in this commercial and this one, among many others. And in these examples, not an adult, of either gender, in sight.
How about “kid tested, parent approved”? Doesn’t even change the scansion.
In that same magazine, an article naming moms in the title, but in the actual article, visits from either or both parents are cited.
Early on in this blog, I noted another pet peeve: when I took off from work to watch my daughter, someone said, “Oh, you’re going to babysit Lydia.” Can you babysit your own child? It didn’t resonate correctly with me. To the dictionaries to look up babysitting/babysitter:
to take care of someone’s baby or child while that person is out, usually by going to their home
a person engaged to care for one or more children in the temporary absence of parents or guardians
*a person who cares for or watches over someone or something that needs attention or guidance
OK, so there’s some wiggle room in the third definition.
But I asked my wife “Has ANYONE EVER said to you, ‘Oh, you need to babysit Lydia [because she’s sick, etc.]?” And the answer, as I suspected, was “No.” SHE watches, SHE tends to, SHE cares for. And I babysit? Nah, I watch, I tend to, I care for. I really believe the linguistic distinction matters. When she’s ready to be in a relationship and have children HUNDREDS of years now, I want her to have a partner who is a caregiver, not a babysitter.
Finally, a song: Be Kind To Your Parents. I had a different recording of this song, on pink vinyl. My sister Leslie and I used to sing it, though we changed the lyrics somewhat…
Be kind to your parents. You know they deserve it. Remember that grownup’s a difficult stage of life… They’re apt to be nervous and overexcited, confused from the daily storm and strife. Just keep in mind, though it sounds odd I know, most parents once were children long ago. INCREDIBLE!!! So treat them with patience and sweet understanding in spite of the foolish things they do. Someday you may wake and find YOU’RE A PARENT, TOO!
[So is THAT how it happens…]
ABC Wednesday – Round 9