In case you’ve missed the advertising and PR blitz, the new book Alternadad is Neal Pollack’s memoir about his struggle to remain “cool” despite having fully entered parenthood. But is he really saying anything new? Isn’t this a pseudo-struggle that all of our generation seems to be dealing with? We’ve discussed the problem of trying to assign yourself a “hip parenting” label, not to mention the fact that there are plenty of moms and dads who have retained their own unique style and personalities while raising their children. The difference is they don’t whine and carry on about how difficult it is, because, quite frankly, it isn’t — unless, that is, you are simply a poseur and trying too hard.
But the thing is, there’s nothing new about the parenting model promoted here. “Alternative” parenting isn’t about buying kiddie records from Bloodshot or watching Pee-wee’s Playhouse rather than Barney. And it’s certainly not about dissing other parents whose lifestyle choices you deem bourgeois or square. Alternative parenting might be raising your child in a lesbian commune. Maybe it’s homeschooling. Or breast-feeding till age five. Or absolutely no TV or putting all the food in the kitchen at kid-level and letting him choose what to eat.
For all Pollack’s interest in raising a cool kid, what he really wants — like many parents before him — is a child who’s just like him. The subtext here is how unavailable Pollack’s own “high-upper-middle-class childhood” is to his own kid, not to mention most kids, and I wish this idea had been more fully explored. But pop signifiers of bohemian living aside, Elijah’s being raised by a heterosexual nuclear family in a single-family home in a (slowly) gentrifying neighborhood. His parents want to get him into a decent preschool. They worry about property values and crime. They watch too much TV and don’t have as much sex as they’d like. And they want to give their child unfettered access to the dream of individual exceptionalism. What could be more mainstream than that?
The views, opinions and information expressed in articles and blog posts published on imperfectparent.com and all subdomains are those of the authors alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Imperfect Parent or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of any entity of, or affiliated with, Imperfect Parent. The Imperfect Parent
is designed for entertainment
purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for medical, health,
legal, or financial advice from a professional.
of material from any of Imperfect Parent's pages without written
permission is strictly prohibited.