It felt like a turning point to me, but maybe I’m overanalyzing it. Going through the mail the other day, I came across the renewal card for my subscription to a parenting magazine I have been getting for what seems like a zillion years. And for the first time in five or six of those years, I threw it into the recycling pile without a moment’s thought. I knew without even thinking that I was done with being told month after month how to be the perfect parent.
God knows I need all the parenting pointers and advice there are to give, but I’ve maxed out on what I can get from the glossy parenting magazines out there. Generalization? Sure, but for now, I’d rather sit down for a coffee with another mother who is living at least a version of my reality or better yet, has lived through it and is willing to share with me how she did it.
To be fair to all those publishing houses out there, my parenting magazine served an important role for me over the years. First as a new mom, and then as a mother of two little ones under 3 years of age, I was in constant search of information, lapping it all up from all sorts of sources. Essentially, I wanted confirmation that what I was going through – from the sudden loss of any amount of control over my time to the day to day dilemmas I fixated on about coordinating nap times and feeding schedules – was normal. And the monthly ritual of cracking open my magazine was like a trusted friend telling me it was so.
So what has changed – if anything? I still seek out tips and articles relating to the stages and phases of my children. But I now know who to talk to and where to look; and I can recognize a cookie cutter answer to a complex parenting question a mile away. The turning point for me was the realization that day that I’m not that new mom anymore looking for validation. Funny – three children and eight years later and I finally got it. Too bad my cheque book had to take the hit in the process!
Mihad Fahmy is a London Ontario mother of three. She practices human rights and labour law and is always on the lookout for the perfect novel to escape into at the end of a busy day.