I have an essay (a bit of a rant, really) posted on Time.com right now, called Million Dollar Babies. The short version is, the government came out with new figures last week estimating the cost of raising a baby in America, but those numbers are a HUGE underestimation, which has unfortunate consequences for families nationwide. Would love to hear what people’s thoughts on how realistic they think the government’s figures are.
Today, Katharine Mieszkowski has an interview with me front and center on Salon.com. There’s also a podcast, which I’m not going to be able to listen to, because I can’t stand listening to my own recorded voice. (Remember back in the Eighties when you first heard your voice on an answering machine?)
April’s issue of Time Out New York Kids just hit newsstands, with a story on Parenting, Inc. by Matt Haber. Haber will forever be in my good graces for publicly pointing out certain egregious facts about a negative review of my last book, so I was delighted to find out he was on the case for this story. The article, “Marking up Baby,” (I’d provide a link, but unfortunately, it’s not online), looks into “how the exploding kid-gear industry turns parents into suckers.” He goes on to write,
“Paul, a mother of two and a regular contributor to Time magazine, looks closely at the nonstop spending spree associated with parenting (designer shoes for newborns, buy xanax online anyone?) and offers a sobering critique of the combined industries she dubs ‘Big Baby.'”
Haber interviews several moms in New York City. One East Harlem mom, for example, admits to feeling suckered into stocking up on what proved to be unnecessary products. “We ended up with so many useless things – a bottle warmer, Diaper Genie and baby monitor, to name a few,” she tells Haber. “We live in a tiny apartment; we don’t need technology to hear the baby!”
But the story is also careful to point out that Parenting, Inc. isn’t a polemic. Where would we be — dare we imagine it? — without the sippy cup!?
I was very flattered to see that the incredibly talented writer and editor Nell Casey (she has edited two anthologies, on depression and caregiving), had nice things to say about Parenting, Inc. in this month’s Cookie magazine. In a larger story about a book on how the current generation is failing to achieve the economic status of the previous generation, Casey wrote: “Pamela Paul’s Parenting, Inc. [argues] that today’s marketing forces blur the boundary between want and need. In doing so, it offers the reader a distilled version of the parenting products and services that are truly useful, as opposed to those that prey on our fears.” Thanks, Nell!
After three days in a row of my almost-three-year-old spending “nap period” dashing between her bed and the potty, I have come to the sorrowful conclusion that “my” nap period is coming to a close. Of course, my 16-month-old son still snoozes away for at least two hours, but the days of closing the nursery door at 1pm and having two hours of freedom are over. It’s Monday, so this hasn’t really affected me yet, though I suspect I will sense the real repercussions this weekend when I’m officially on duty. I suppose I’m supposed to herald this moment as yet another “milestone” bumped into and hurdled over by my glorious progeny, but I can’t help mourn my own lost time…