My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Ode To A Periodical

Dear Parents Magazine,

Please stop calling me. I donít want your magazine anymore. Really. I mean it. Why, you ask? Are you sure you can handle it? Because Iíll be glad to tell you. Basically, your magazine doesnít speak to me. If you get my drift. Your articles either cause me panic (So. Many. Bad. Things. Can. Happen. To. Your. Child. Because. They. Happened. To. Mine.) or attempt to wring out tears of sympathy for women whoíve lost a child, have a child with ďchallenges,Ē have lost a spouse, have battled a deadly illness, have had trouble conceiving, etc. I donít have time for it. Got my own problems. Am I callous to othersí pain? No, but I have too much going on in my own life to start sobbing about how bad others have it. Just seems a bit gratuitous, almost as if Iím peeking through a strangerís window while she yells at her kids.

Also, are you trying to make me feel guilty for working full-time? Because it isnít going to work. I have to work and I like what I do and I like to be somewhere during the day where I can pee when I pleaseÖwithout sharing the bathroom. Where I can leave my office and not worry about some small hand picking the stapler off my desk and impaling her hand with it. Where I can have a conversation with an adult thatís not constantly interrupted by, ďExcuse me, excuse me, mommy I have to tell you something.Ē Plus, thereís the thing about being breadwinner and being able to pay the mortgage, the electricity, the phone, the well guy, the septic tank man. Which is one of my main responsibilities as Parent. Correct me if Iím wrong.

But, in case you still arenít convinced, here are some other reasons I donít wish to resubscribe:

Number One: You are a Disney Whore. I donít want to hear about the Editorís trip to Disney World, that bastion of Buy Our Crap and your children can be (white) princes and princesses. Not only are you a D.W., but youíre a Products Whore, which I guess could be said about most magazines aimed at women (and why you call yourself ďParentsĒ when youíre really all about ďMommyĒ, Iíll never know except that maybe ďDaddyĒ is too damn smart to read such tripe). Your magazine is nothing but a bible for the Consumeristic SUV-driving angst-ridden stay-at-home mom who thinks maybe she should be working and feels guilty or the working-part-time mom who thinks sheís not doing it right either or the kill-me-now-Iím ruining-my-children-by-working-outside-the-home-and-hiring-a-mommy-substitute-to-raise-my-children mom. How the heck will I get those brownies baked for the soccer team when I have to drive Madison and Morgan to the orthodontist? Let Ďem eat dirt, I say.

Number Two: Stop with the scary food shaped like other things. My daughter is too smart to be fooled by vegetables in the shape of an octopus. And, no, she wonít eat cauliflower even if itís got Cinderellaís (see above) ass carved into it. Who the hell are these women who have time to arrange food into the shape of tigers and chicks? Hereís your dinner, kid: PB&J, raisins, olives, carrot sticks and cheese. Eat it or donít. As long as the food items donít come in contact with one another, sheís gonna eat it. Or not. I donít subscribe to Clean Plate Magazine or Make ĎEm Sit There Til They Finish Digest. Kids will eat when theyíre hungry and itís usually best if the carrot sticks are not poked through the grilled cheese sandwich. Trust me on this.

Number Three: Why must all your ďfun dessertsĒ involve so much goddamn sugar? Iíve managed to raise a child who can find an apple to be a lovely snack. Or a small, unadorned brownie, every once in awhile. Sure, she likes sugar but that doesnít mean itís good for her. (Remember the one about all your friends jumping off the bridge?) Iím not going to make cupcakes with 12 inches of rainbow icing on top. Interesting how one article will talk about encouraging healthy eating and the danger of obesity, and I turn the page to find recipes for making Sugar Coated Sugar Squares and Fatty Meatballs in Gristle Sauce (mmm, mmm!). And, could you stop with the juice ads? Juice is empty calories, full of sugar and has none of the fiber found in, say, an actual piece of fruit. Children are much better off with water and a banana than a cup of juice.

Number Four: Oh, how I love those crafty, crafty ďartĒ projects that fill our ďkwalityĒ time! Because itís all about outcome, isnít it? Itís all about the product (see #1), not the process. And, as we all know, our little chick baskets ALWAYS end up looking like the ones on page 13. Why canít we, as parents, focus on process? Why canít children just experiment with art supplies and materials without feeling like theyíre supposed to make something that looks like something. Yes, children are learning to interpret and interact with their universe and itís a milestone to draw a circle and call it ďcat.Ē But must it have triangle ears and three perfectly straight whiskers on either side? Canít ďcatĒ be any damn squiggle the child creates? Or, canít the squiggle simply be? I adore watching Dustyís ability to draw representative figures (her bats and pumpkins are truly masterpieces) but not every session with crayons and Playdoh should have a particular result other than just using crayons and Playdoh.

Number Five: Stop scaring me. One of the reasons I stopped reading books about pregnancy and childbirth and babies halfway through my pregnancies was because I was tired of being confronted with all the Horrible Things That Can Happen. Yes, yes, itís nice to know the Warning Signs of every conceivable illness (half of which can lead to death if you donít call the pediatrician at the first sign of a fever), but thatís why we have reference books on childhood Ė to refer to as needed. I donít need to be reminded every minute of the dangers of plastic bags, window blind cords, sleeping on your stomach, lead in paint, breathing air, eating food. I canít take it anymore.

So, find some other sucker to send you $20. Mineís going towards fresh fruit and construction paper.


3:13 p.m. ::
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