Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The Gay Uncle's Guide to Parenting: Candid Counsel from the Depths of the Daycare Trenches by Brett berk, M.S Ed.
When I heard about this book I absolutely had to read it. Our dear neighbors next door are a 70 year old gay couple who are constantly giving advice. They also will occasionally babysit for their neice and her four children. They bring me things for my kitchen and were completely shocked to hear that I do not like to cook. So, I had to read, "The Gay Uncle's Guide to Parenting!"
Every soon-to-be parent should definitely read this book!! It is a fun, witty, interesting view on parenting from someone who has never done it himself but has watched those around him do it and doesn't mind giving his opinion on how poorly they're doing.
I really liked how practical the advice is. A bit snarky at times but mostly a practical book for parenting. Definitely something that new parents who are completely obsessed with their kids and don't have a real life outside of being a parent. Somewhere between our grandparents and our parents we became obsessed with our kids and completely forgot about the real world, the world where we don't worship our children and become slaves to them. Our childless family and friends would probably love to tell us so... The Gay Uncle isn't afraid to tell you!
I think that my favorite chapter is the one on discipline. Since Brett Berk has a degree in education and a lot of experience as a preschool director he certainly understands the way we should talk to and work with our children. I like his matter-of-fact, as well as, dramatic, witty parenting tips. It is certainly the most unique parenting book that I have read.
I also like the parenting bubble alerts. They are little blurbs that incorporate child development/teacher type information in a witty tone. I agree with his practical wisdom and hope to incorporate more of it in my every day parenting.
When I was pregnant with my first child I spent hours at bookstores reading books that told me I needed to buy a large list of items. We could not afford to buy half of them. According to the Gay Uncle you really don't need any of them and I totally agree. When I had my second child just a year after Aidan's birth we only bought diapers and wipes.
Reading the first chapters of the Gay Uncle's Guide reminded me of life before children. I had a lot of ideas about parenting. I told myself that my children would never watch TV, eat only healthy, organic food, that they would never go in public with their hair sticking up, mismatched clothes, that I would always look hip, fit, and presentable in public, etc. Well, needless to say, none of that happened! My son had a wild hair do this morning because I just didn't have the energy or time to get it to lay flat on his head. Turn the cartoons off? I have too much to do and I really want to go to bed before midnight. I can't afford a sitter and my family lives too far away. So, yeah, I just gave a lot of excuses that the Gay Uncle would probably think are dumb but I would like to see him do what I do. 24/7 full-time mother, business coordinator at UCB, housekeeper, cook, runner, lover, and PTA volunteer.
When all of my friend's started to have children I remember going into their homes thinking, "what on earth have they done? This furniture is awful! What happened to my hip friends? Is that baby spit up on her clothes? UGH! What a mess!" And I remember saying that I absolutely would not be one of those parents. Well, two kids in two years and I have to embarrassingly admit that I turned into one of those parents. I don't know how you keep from turning into one of them: looking for comfort where you can because working 24/7 as a parent is a very tough challenge. While I thought that the Gay Uncle's Guide to Parenting was witty and fun I also found it to be somewhat impractical and kept thinking to myself, what does he really know? He has never been a parent. I would take this book more as a type of guideline and a remember-how-you-felt-before-you-had-children book.
Author Brett Berk's (very funny) blog