Hip parents

I’m not quite as enthusiastic about Babble as RebelDad is.  Yes, I’m glad to see a parenting site that is making a serious outreach to dads.  But they seem to be trying a little too hard to be hip.  Earlier in the week, it seemed like every other post on their front page was gratuitously cursing or referring to sex toys.  Oooh how naughty.  It made me think about what Andi Buchanan wrote recently about "the escalation of cool" or how being a hipster parent can be as much of a confining role as being a saccharine mommy who just loves pastels.

I feel like the Babble people read that annoying SFChronicle article about how boring mommies are and want to show that parents can still drink, curse and wear black.  Er, yes, but so what?  Is that really still a radical concept?  And is it really that exciting?

I know I’ve linked to it before, but if you haven’t read Being Daddy’s Square: The Unhip Parent’s Manifesto, go check it out.  I agree with RebelDad that being a parent shouldn’t mean giving up everything else that’s important in your life (#4 on his list), but if you go into parenting expecting that your life isn’t going to change at all, you’re shortchanging your child AND yourself.

Maybe after Babble’s a bit more settled, the authors will stop defining themselves by what they’re not and start talking about who they are.  I’ll check back in a month or so.

16 Responses to “Hip parents”

  1. Rebel Dad Says:

    OK, OK … it’s a little over the top. And compared to the blogosphere, Babble’s tone may not be anything new. But compared to the multi-million circulation dinosaurs (Parents, Parenting, Child, etc.) that used to plop in my mailbox every month, this is a nice change of pace. Even if the language a litte — ahem — rough.

  2. Rachel Says:

    It’s funny because I like a lot of those writers individually, and read their blogs faithfully, but somehow on Babble I went into snark overload. Loved the Unhip Parent’s Manifesto.

  3. baggage Says:

    I kind of got the trying too hard vibe as well.

  4. Elena Says:

    Babble justified its existence if it led you to remember The Unhip Parent’s Manifesto, which is absolutely wonderful, honest and as true now as when the author wrote it. Maybe someone can get him to submit a version of it to Babble — I bet it would spark quite a discussion.
    Otherwise, I think Babble is okay. Certainly better than I expected.

  5. DaniGirl Says:

    Great post, Elizabeth. I’m finding the whole “cool parents” thing a little tiresome.

  6. trishka Says:

    one advantage of having children later in life (i’m 39) is that one has usually given up on being “cool” before the kids even arrive.
    that said, i really enjoyed the first article i read over at “babble”, entitled “formula isn’t poison”.

  7. Christine Says:

    I think the NY Times had an article on Babble or some other “hip parenting” site. After reading The Hipster Handbook and having read alot of history on cool movements, I am really resentful of one defining thing: having kids is uncool. Ofcourse, this almost always applies to women, where men, in the past, can appear childless due to lesser expectation of responsibility. Historically and presently some of the most successful people, artists, definers of cool or hip have children and grandchildren. Cool, to me, defines youth and I think these people are struggling with growing older, not having kids. Isn’t 40 the new 30 and 60 the new 50 as people are living longer. Some of these people should teach highschool or college and they will realize it is not worth being hip. To keep up with hip culture is a job and I can never be on the same level of cool as my college students.

  8. Ailurophile Says:

    I have a friend who noted that the only way to be “cool” is to be yourself. He said that even the stodgy, eccentric or nerdy person can be cool just by being an authentic person. On the other hand – those who try hard to be cool can ipso facto never be cool.
    As I grow older I remember these wise words. While I hope never to disappear into the purgatory of puffy appliqued sweatshirts, I realize that the pursuit of “coolness” is often an exercise in strenuous self-loathing.
    And besides – don’t kids secretly WANT their parents to be uncool so they have something to complain about? ;)

  9. Elizabeth Says:

    Elena, I dropped a note to Brian of Being Daddy (which is now defunct). He said that he may be doing a version of it for Baby Couture magazine — http://www.babycouturemag.com/

  10. Helen Says:

    the purgatory of puffy appliqued sweatshirts
    That’s wonderful, Ailurophile.
    Great post.

  11. Tearfree Says:

    As long as there have been mothers, there have been “cool” ones. I’m amazed at how all these hipster parents think history began with them. How uncool is that?

  12. phonelesscord Says:

    I agree with Ailurophile, it’s the obvious trying too hard of the uber-hip parents that makes the Cool Parent thing hard for me to swallow.
    Obsession with coolness is itself, well, kind of uncool.
    http://phonelesscord.wordpress.com/2006/12/18/cool-mommy-daddy-syndrome/

  13. Scrivener Says:

    I’m not so certain about that Unhip Parents Manifesto. I read the post back when you first put up this one, and meant to circle back to comment here but got called away and now it’s a bit fuzzy in my mind (but if I go to reread it, I still won’t get a comment here, so…), and I more or less agree with his position. The kind of hip people he’s referring to, who make everything about themselves, are certainly distasteful; however, I don’t think that’s what “being hip” is always about. Maybe I’m just arguing semantics, I guess, but I kept thinking that in a lot of ways I’m way more hip now, as a 35 year old and a father of 2, than I ever was when I was a teenager or an undergrad–I listen to better music, just got this cool tattoo, am just way more aware and confident in my taste and all that. And I am a good parent who is not trying to make my kids into versions of me. I’m just engaged with the world and allowing myself to pursue what I find interesting, which is very much a value I hope to pass along to my kids.

  14. Ola Says:

    “Cool, to me, defines youth”
    Depends on how you define cool. Cool can be any age, imo.

  15. darkdaughta Says:

    It’s completely surface, urban, constructed, overhyped latte chic. When I saw the photos I thought plastic, these people are lawyers, academics, doctors, studio writers who are used to attending “cool” meaning expensive, loft living social functions. It veritably screams – We’ve got lofts, suvs, cappucino makers and phds. :) unh…I haven’t had lunch. Perhaps a little cranky of me, but what I’m trying to say is, they’re not cool, they’re a parenting brand constructed as cool so as to be better consumed by the appropriate target demographics.

  16. darkdaughta Says:

    It’s completely surface, urban, constructed, overhyped latte chic. When I saw the photos I thought plastic, these people are lawyers, academics, doctors, studio writers who are used to attending “cool” meaning expensive, loft living social functions. It veritably screams – We’ve got lofts, suvs, cappucino makers and phds. :) unh…I haven’t had lunch. Perhaps a little cranky of me, but what I’m trying to say is, they’re not cool, they’re a parenting brand constructed as cool so as to be better consumed by the appropriate target demographics.

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