Friday, April 03, 2015

There are things money can't buy



Parenting comes with some tough moments. The worst in the list is what I call The Walk of Shame - when you lug the baby around the mall while the stroller moves unoccupied, or worse stuffed with shopping bags. As you take embarrassed steps around the squeaky floors, you can feel the eyes of fellow parents boring on you - those judging expressions, that look of disappointment. The unoccupied stroller is a loud public statement that you've made a poor purchase, you've not trained your kids well, you goofed up as a parent and lugging the baby around you are literally feeling the pain.

Note: Speaking of pain, my wife said that labour was harder than mall discomfort, but we agree to disagree on that.

The desire to give the best to your child comes in direct conflict with the gut feel which warns you of an uncertain, irrational purchase. But we ignore those signals and move forward. Strollers, Carriers, Cribs, Car Seats - lying unused, dusty like giant symbols of poor decisions.

Even the little toys, teethers, rattles we buy have a slim success rate - It's like as parents our life is the priceless mastercard advertisment on loop. Like last month we bought a Mini-Lego building set for our baby; the pieces are lost but the box is still alive and part of his playset.

When we make a poor choice for ourselves, it's easy to hide, forget or change the story in front of our peers - 'I actually like this shade'... 'yeah the mileage in fact is quite decent'... 'It's a fantastic role in strategy management...'

We don't know what the babies want. Neither do they. But they have no complex social constructs and happily choose to ignore what they don't like. Meanwhile Fisher Price and Leapfrog come up with the next Baby iPad telling us that babies learn every moment of the day and the latest gizmos are the best tool for that. That's like Apple asking us to buy iPhone 6 because it's bigger than bigger.

So I want to start a movement - uniting parents for joint introspection to help understand their LO (little ones) better. I'll call it called "Look at all the stupid crap I bought for the baby" movement. We are still working on the title. It'll be replete with Memes and hashtags like #stupidbabycrap

While things are tough now, I have a feeling that things are going to get better soon. Once the kids grow slightly older I am sure they will make informed choices - like choosing to study vs. fooling around on playstation, politely walking along in the mall with no tantrums, obediently going to bed at 9pm.... But I could be wrong..