Oh. My. Word. You may have heard by now that Alicia Silverstone wrote a parenting book. You know, the woman who parlayed a few seconds in an Aerosmith music video into a starring role in the '90s teen flick and made "as if" the put-down of a generation? The now C-list (or is it D-list?) actress is better known for her controversial mom moves of late, so it was really only a matter of time before The Kind Mama landed on the same shelves already populated by books from Mayim Bialik, Brooke Burke, and dozens of other celebrities who have become "experts" in the field of parenting simply by spawning while famous.
But where many of her predecessors have managed to fly under the radar with some not terrible but not terribly great "momoirs," Silverstone's book pushes some hot mom buttons, from vaccines (she doesn't believe in 'em) to co-sleeping (she's a fan).
And suddenly we're being treated to a raft of celeb mom parenting book hate.
Take the article from Jessica Grose of Slate titled, "Celebrity Quack Moms Are a Terrible Influence on Everyday Parents."
Much of what Grose says in her diatribe about Silverstone, plus Bialik and Jenny McCarthy, is absolutely true. The claims put forth in Silverstone's book about vaccines are irresponsible, and her assertion that your 6-month-old can be potty-trained is a bit of knee-slapper.
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But Grose -- and Jezebel's Lindy West, and others -- seem hell-bent on criticizing the celebrity parenting books as farces good parents are taking seriously simply because of their author's fame.
Granted, that is how these people got themselves book deals.
But let's face it ... these books are hardly the first "bad" parenting manuals out there. Take, for example, To Train Up a Child, the Christian parenting book that has been linked to the case of an adopted girl left to freeze to death by her parents. From suggesting parents force their kids to fast to advising children who are slow to potty train be sprayed down with a hose, the book's techniques are controversial ... at best. Or On Becoming Baby Wise, another parenting book written not by a doctor but by a pastor, that has drawn significant criticism from parents for questionable practices.
Celebrities don't have a corner on the bad baby advice market, folks. They're not the only ones pushing it out; nor the only ones parents are listening to.
They are, however, an easy target for critics, who call them out not just for their bad advice, but for making the mistake of parenting while famous. What they do is in the news; therefore, they are held up as role models to us regular Janes and Joes.
But that's not on the celebrities, is it?
Isn't that on us? The regular Janes and Joes dumb enough to listen to some chick from an Aerosmith video on whether or not 6-month-olds can really pee on the potty?
When we're making decisions about real, hardcore issues -- be it vaccines or breastfeeding or myriad other issues -- we need to be aware of the background of the person doling out the advice.
Sure, we can look to celebrities as fellow moms, read their books, and perhaps relate to some trick she used to get her picky eater to swallow some broccoli (Jessica Seinfeld, we're looking at you). Sure, we can pick up a random parenting book by Joe Blow and maybe read some much-needed advice on taking time for ourselves. There is often value in simply reading other parents' tales. We all need to have someone to relate to in what is a pretty tough journey.
But when it comes down to the real nitty gritty, the life and death stuff, WE should know better than to just take any old advice. Our kids' lives depend on us making educated decisions, on us doing our homework (and by that I don't mean trusting some conspiracy theorist on the playground OR the girl who starred in Clueless).
It's not celebrity moms' fault people make stupid choices after reading their books. It's the parents' ...
Do you read celebrity moms' books? Why? Which one was your favorite?
Image via Barnes & Noble