Saturday, February 5, 2011

Please, for me, don't sled in a rubber suit

I spent a lot of time in doctors' offices in 2010. I was pregnant and of "advanced maternal age," which meant extra ultrasounds and tests. I had gestational diabetes and had to check in at the Mulletville Diabetes Center once a week. I had horseback riding issues. Junior had tubes put in his ears. You get the idea.

As grateful as I am that I had health insurance, I resented the time I spent in waiting rooms—sometimes more than an hour. I had to use sick time to cover the time; that ate into my paid maternity leave. That pissed me off to no end. I needed to do something to offset that anger.

Biting Chuck didn't help, so I stole. Just doctors' offices parenting magazines mind you, but I stole them blatantly and with zeal. Towards the end I got so bold I'd actually shove a magazine in my purse as they called my name.

I know. I'm a bad ass.

The fact that no one said a word or that there were no charges for magazine subscriptions in my bills actually isn't the point of this post. The point is that what I read in the pilfered magazines scared the bejeezus out of me.

Stuff like this:

And this:

Magazine after magazine bore more things of which to be fearful. I read about rubber bands that asphyxiated little fingers. Slammed toilet seats that obliterated genitals. Even sledding, that lovely winter past time, now needed a helmet, knee pads and bubble wrap for nearby trees.

"Johnny, no! You might fall in the snow!"

I learned that even the unassuming Superbowl party was fraught with danger:

Did you know that your television should be bolted to the table lest it topples and decapitates your guests' children? Hot snacks can scald little fingers?

"Johnny, no! Stay away from that chicken finger!"

Seriously. The fear mongering has got to stop. There aren't enough hours in the day to be afraid of everything.

Parenting magazines are doing a real disservice to parents by presenting the world in a Johnny-could-die manner. The preservatives, saturated fats, and colorants in a chicken finger are more of a health hazard than its temperature. And if your TV hasn't fallen on your own head, it's probably not going to fall on anyone else's head.

So look, it's ok to sled and go to the bathroom. It's ok to let your child watch TV while holding a rubber band.

It's ok to not live your life in fear or to constantly be fearful of what might happen to your child.

Deep breath.

It's ok.


Pricilla said...

The whole mantra in the country right now is to fear.
If we do not fear what are we to do?
If we do not fear we therefore don't need all that wisdom and all those magazines telling us how to cocoon ourselves so as to never have anything happen.

Or never do anything at all.
What a life.....

Small Town Mommy said...

My feeling is that you can't be prepared for everything and you can't wrap kids in bubble wrap (besides, they might suffocate). Living is dangerous. If we could protect them from everything, we would, but unfortunately we can't. I think parenting magazines are running out of story ideas.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Tell me about it. When I was pregnant I finally put down all the parenting/pregnancy magazines because they told me about 50 different ways my baby could die before he was even out of my womb. I didn't even want to know how he could die after I got him out after reading all that crap.

heather said... is a great site for hearing the crazy things that people come up with for us to be scared of now.

The Mother said...

Even we docs do that. Sometimes a little knowledge is dangerous.

The good thing is, kids are heartier than we give them credit for.

Sparkling said...

I so thought from the title that you were going to tell us about going sledding and see someone in a wetsuit. (rubber suit)

Keely said...

Oh yeah. The fearmongering is ridiculous. We'll all be suffocating in bubble wrap before too long.

Lori said...

I sort of wish I could go back five years and kick historical, new-mom, me. Because of fear my husband and I slept in shifts for the first two weeks of my daughter's life, fearful of possibilities. We didn't even let family come see her except our parents. said...

I hate those magazines. When I was stuck in he waiting rooms, I'd be sure to bring my own book, but if I had to peruse one of the others', I'd be sure to make a comment to the doctor about how there was no good reading material. Did he think pregnant women couldn't read something smart and intelligent like The New Yorker? The newspaper? If there was a penis doctor, you can be sure they'd have more writings of substance.

Mama Badger said...

BE AFRAID! Be very afraid!

Meh, not so much. While I think maybe my parents were a little too lax (which is probably where all these warnings stem from) I think most of us watch our kids well enough to keep them safe. I think the obvious prevention is good enough for most kids.

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

I always love those b/c it's like "don't spend your 9 months worrying about every little thing, your baby will be born with wings and let me tell you the top 10 horrific things to worry about lest you focus on the wrong worries during the time you're poisoning your fetus with all your fears."

Thanks, editors!

Anonymous said...

There's actually a name for it, "The Pussification of America."

And there's even more fallout than we could have imagined. Back when kids were allowed to actually play outside, they learned how to do things - like fix their bikes. Or build ramps. Or make mud pies. Now they sit inside and play video games and have no mechanical skills whatsoever. It's pathetic when you see a grown man who doesn't know how to air up a bike tire. And, in my opinion, it's a huge cause of the drop in enrollment in engineering programs. Not to mention all the whiney ass cry baby mama's boys and princesses who grow up to be totally useless members of society.

Mrsbear said...

It does sell magazines though, or at least lure people in to brazenly stealing them.

Winding my children in bubble wrap would probably only serve as incentive to throw themselves harder against things just to hear the pop-pop-pop.

Leanne said...

I was thinking the same thing and then a local publications asked me to write one. Hmmm. $100 and scaring people or no $100 and let someone else do it. Yeah, I'll send you a link if they publish it. Sigh.

kyooty said...

we bolted the TV to the wall "after the fact" oops!

Man! There are a lot of holes in my neighborhood

Our young neighbors Bob and Claire are wonderful —which is a fricken relief because we basically share a yard. A flat, treeless yard. When ...