Parenting is not always the easiest thing in the world. One of the most rewarding, sure, but easy? No, usually not. There’s no manual that comes with the kids. No instructions other than your friends and family will try to give you.
This can lead to parenting trends. Some of which are… odd, to say the least. Some trends end up being good ideas, other’s not so good. Nonetheless, these ones don’t seem to be ending soon, even though one of them certainly should.
The idea that we should be kind to our planet isn’t exactly new but in the last ten years or so, brands like Honest Company (launched in 2011) and celebrities (Miranda Kerr, Gwyneth Paltrow and Pharrell Williams to name a few) have been leading the charge in sustainability, making it easier (and more desirable) for the masses to follow suit. And happily, going green doesn’t mean you have to resort to cloth diapers (although you can if you want to). Whether it’s embracing second-hand clothing, starting a compost, opting for greener cleaning products or creating no-waste lunch boxes, families are making small but mighty eco-conscious choices and that’s good news for future generations and Mother Earth.
2. Subscription Everything
Who would have thought that when Birchbox launched in 2010 that it would usher in an era of subscription boxes? No, we’re not just talking about Amazon Prime. Over the last couple of years, subscription services have soared and parents are taking advantage of the many convenient options like baby food, toy kits, diapers and more. Hey, there’s even a subscription service to help with postpartum recovery.
OK, truth be told this one was actually coined in the 1970s, but due to Covid-19 upending all our lives, we’re predicting that 2020 is going to be the year of unschooling. And then who knows? Once you embrace this lifestyle, it might be hard to go back (just ask Alanis Morrissette). Also known as self-directed or “delight-directed” learning, unschooling is a mixed-age, child-led approach to teaching and learning without any traditional academic systems or requirements. Think of it as homeschooling but instead of a curriculum, your child leads the way for learning. So why now? Well, when the current alternative is sitting in front of a Zoom call all day, opting for an education that allows kids to follow their passions (star-gazing! Butterflies!) is an appealing alternative for those who can afford it.
4. Paid Paternity Leave
In the past few years, companies like Apple, Google and Facebook have begun to offer paid paternity leave (up to four months at Facebook) and some states (California, Rhode Island and New Jersey) have formalized the benefit, providing up to eight weeks PFL for new dads. With many high-profile dads (like Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian) recently speaking out about the importance of fathers taking time off to bond with their newborns, here’s hoping that this doesn’t so much stay a trend as become the new normal.
Not Good: Gender Reveals
After multiple gender reveals gone wrong (including this recent one that grew to more than 10,000 acres in California), let’s all agree that announcing the sex of your baby is over. We’re all for celebrating the arrival of your kid but forcing your nearest and dearest to toast a yet-to-be-born baby in a sea of pink or blue is weird at best, with the potential to be downright dangerous. It also forces your baby to subscribe to gender norms while they’re still in utero. And just in case you need further convincing, even the original creator of gender reveal parties wants people to stop.
What ever trends you follow, which ever advice you choose to take, as long as you are endevouring to do the best you can for your child and getting support from people around you; then you’re doing as well as anyone can.