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Date archive for: April 2019

Uber for Junior?

Ride-Hailing Companies Recognize Parents’ Need for Kid-Hauling Help

Here’s a little secret no one tells you about raising children but so help me it’s true: The job is 23 percent parenting and 77 percent schlepping.

From lugging the buggers around in utero to hauling them here and there in Bjorns, slings, wraps, bassinets, and strollers-that-ought-to-have-turn-signals to driving them back and forth to playdates, school, lessons, sporting events, camps, medical appointments, and emergency trips to In-N-Out Burger — being a modern mom or dad is less about shepherding your kids toward adulthood than shuttling them to activities.

Sure, the most terrifying automobile ride you’ll ever take is the one home from the hospital with your firstborn child. It seems the entire world outside of your vehicle is both designed and determined to wreak calamity on the fragile human you’ve just labored to create.

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New Target Doesn’t Hit the Bull’s Eye

But It Scratches an Itch I’ve Been Trying to Reach for 17 Years

SB Independent

At this point, it would be hard to calculate which is greater: the number of words I’ve written about Target over the years, the number of purchases I’ve made at Target, or the number of hours I’ve spent pining for a Target right here in my hometown.

I’ve hosted a Target haiku contest and investigated the freaky phenomenon that compels some shoppers to relieve themselves in Target loos. But it all started 17 years ago when I wrote a column professing the unwholesome addiction my friends and I have to the retailer.

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Are You a Lawnmower Parent?

College Admissions Scandal Reveals Dangers of Clearing Smooth Path for Kids

You’re really not a parent of import anymore unless you’ve nabbed yourself a slick motor-vehicle label. First there were Helicopter Parents, hovering figuratively over their poor children’s heads, overseeing every miserable aspect of their orchestrated lives. I never fretted much over this classification, as it doesn’t apply to me; I lack the energy to be that controlling.

But the latest sobriquet intended to shame inept moms and dads hits a little closer to home. Like the front yard.

Have you heard of Lawnmower Parents? Known in chillier climes as Snowplow Parents and in less subtle neighborhoods as Bulldozer Parents, these are the well-meaning but misguided folks who continually clear a smooth path for their children, pre-empting any potential embarrassments, challenges and discomforts, and removing any obstacles that might impede Junior’s success. (Some call them Curling Parents, after the Olympic sport that involves shoving a toddler, sorry, a heavy stone towards a goal while someone sweeps the ice in front of it to decrease friction.)

From innocuous-sounding things like rushing to school with a forgotten lunch to more obvious line-crossing like calling in a sick day for your child so she can finish an overdue homework assignment, Lawnmower Parents think they’re being helpful. Supportive. Even loving. But the recent college admissions scandal showed us how parents can go from mowing lawns to clear-cutting entire freaking forests for their kids.

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‘My Parents Are Stupid’

When Kids Refuse to Be Properly Indoctrinated

If I had any doubts that Gen Y and Gen Z possess the savvy and the huevos they’ll need to lead this country out of its current muddle, those doubts were squelched last week. First, 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger testified before the Senate about why he went and got himself vaccinated after growing up with a staunch anti-vaxxer mom.

“My parents are kind of stupid,” began Ethan’s Reddit post back in November asking for advice on where and how to get the shots as an adult. He told the Senate that as he “began to think critically for myself, I saw that the information in defense of vaccines outweighed the concerns heavily.” Can I get an “amen” for Ethan?

Then journalist Eli Saslow, author of Rising Out of Hatred, came to UCSB Arts & Lectures to talk about the miraculous transformation of Derek Black. The godson of KKK grand wizard David Duke and actual son of another grand wizard (how is that actually a grown man’s title?), Black was a prominent white supremacist in his own right until he went to college and met people who defied the stereotypes he’d been spoon-fed his whole life. They challenged him to learn more about other races and religions, which — as education is wont to do — convinced him that racism was a big steaming pile of hooey. Now, much to Daddy’s dismay, he’s an outspoken critic of the white nationalist movement.

Imagine the courage, conviction, and capability of these young men! There’s something about a kid rebelling against his lunatic parents that fills me with hope. But I was surprised to find that these stories also filled me with something else. Something less flattering: panic. If this dramatic rejection of family values can happen to deranged and misguided parents, what’s to stop it from happening to outrageously rational and astoundingly wise parents — you know, parents like me?

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My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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