Parenting Manuals Want You to Feel Like a Bad Mom

Have you ever read a parenting book and walked away feeling worse than you did before you read it? Yes? Well, me too. And we are not alone.

Recently, a study came out denouncing parenting experts' books for making mothers feel "confused and inadequate." Ask me why anyone would want to make new moms feel WORSE than they already do. We don't know why our babies are crying, these baby carriers require a master's in engineering to use, AND we have not slept in five weeks, two days, and 13 hours (but who is counting?).

What's that you say? You feel confused and inadequate already?


As a mother-of-two, I wasn't surprised by the study's findings. I'm not saying those books are designed to make moms feel bad about themselves, they just do. And it doesn't matter what style of child-rearing an expert is promoting: According to the study, research "into 50 years of parenting self-help books has revealed how, despite their differences, they have always issued advice as orders and set unattainably high standards for new mothers."

More from The Stir: 10 Snarky Responses to Unwanted Parenting Advice

I didn't need a study to tell me that one.

So a "how-to handbook" can make you feel like a crappy mom whether it's telling you to co-sleep or cry it out ... or telling you that your baby will be in remedial classes until he is 21 because you did not breastfeed him every hour on demand.

See, there's that "advice as orders" thing. I don't like it coming from anybody, not a renowned, legit expert on early childhood behavior, not a friend, not my own mother. That's why, for the most part, I swore off the parenting how-to tomes before my second kid was even born.

Feeling "confused and inadequate" comes naturally to me, anyway.

Do you think most books by parenting experts end up making moms feel bad about themselves?


Image via Amazon

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