From the moment I became pregnant with my daughter, I felt an immense pressure to choose which type of parent I was going to be. Would I be a tiger mom? A helicopter mom? A free-range, wild childhood mom? It was like deciding to sort myself into a Hogwarts House, only this decision carried a lot more weight. After all, the fact that I’m a Ravenclaw with some Hufflepuff tendencies has no real effect on the well-being of my child. What fictional Harry Potter house I’m sorted into really wouldn’t have a negative effect on my child unless I was a Slytherin. (No offense, Slytherins.)
It felt like too big of a decision to make. There were too many options, and too many opinions. Every article or book I read seemed to claim that the parenting style they were trumpeting was the only way to raise a kid, and if you strayed from their methodology, then your child would never live a successful, independent life and as an adult, would find themselves unable to emotionally bond with anyone, up to and including Golden Retriever puppies. The consequences seemed immense. What if I made the wrong choice?
I decided not to choose at all. When it comes to parenting styles, I’m registered as an Independent. I like to sample the best bits from every theory. This is for two reasons: one, I’m just not the type of person who can fully subscribe to any one methodology; and two, by refusing to align myself with any one style, I could have a lot more fun during parenting arguments.
If someone said she was a tiger mom, I would act completely befuddled. “But how,” I would whisper, “do you paint the black and orange stripes on a baby?” If she looked confused, I would apologize. “That was rude of me,” I would say. “What I meant to ask was, how do you figure out how to grow a tail?”
If someone touted the benefits of attachment parenting, I would nod in agreement. “Yes,” I would say. “We are doing attachment parenting, too. But it’s a mess for our budget – we go through SO much Elmer’s to try to get her to attach to me.”
Someone told me once that she had realized that she was probably, whether she liked to admit it or not, a helicopter mom. I nodded vigorously. “I’m a tugboat mom,” I replied. “So I totally get it.”
I could compliment parents of free-range kids at will, too. “I love that you’re doing free range parenting,” I could say, patting them on the back. “It’s better for the kids, and it makes them so much tastier, too!”
I don’t think I’ll ever fully subscribe to any one theory. In the meantime, perhaps I have a future in inventing parenting styles. Right now, I’m working on an idea called Pizza Parenting. I don’t know what it means yet, but it has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?