There is something about the start of a New Year that always feels like a clean slate.
The calendar moves forward, and we feel like we have a chance to start over and jettison all of the toxic or negative parts of the previous year.
However, it’s not simply individual bad practices that need to be left in 2018. I’ve noticed certain parenting trends or habits that also deserve to be dropped like proverbial dead weight. From chickenpox parties to leprechaun traps, there are plenty of parenting habits that deserve the good old New Year’s heave ho.
So, in no particular order, here are the parenting trends that I would nominate to stay in 2018:
1. Chickenpox/Measles Parties
As a mother and nurse, I find it baffling and deeply concerning that in 2018, these throwback exposure parties are a rising trend. As a healthcare professional, I’ll be crystal clear. Chickenpox and measles are 100% preventable. And while frequently mild, both carry the risk of severe complications, including pneumonia, bleeding problems, encephalitis (brain swelling), bacterial skin infections, toxic shock syndrome, bone and joint infections, and even death. It is both ignorant and reckless for someone to not only expose their child to these risks but also to potentially expose sick or immunocompromised people in our communities. Let’s just pretend these were never a thing and move on.
2. (Dangerously) over-the-top gender reveals
I’m all for sweet and sentimental gender reveal parties. By all means, fill some balloons with confetti or frost a cake with pink icing and do your thing. But when your gender reveal party starts to involve things like weapons and safety goggles and accidental catastrophic forest fires, maybe it’s time to rethink the theme. As a rule of thumb, if your gender reveal has the potential for bodily harm, maybe go another route.
We can all agree this trend needs to stop right? Whether it’s trolling a celebrity for their breastfeeding practices, attacking a blogger over her car seat choices, or judging a mom in Target for yelling, mom shaming is never productive. It’s pretty simple. Let’s support each other, even when we disagree (unless it’s over something legitimately unsafe, like…)
4. DIY formula
This is one of those head-shaking trends that manages to stick around despite science, evidence, and basic common sense. It doesn’t matter how many Hollywood celebrities blog about their homemade, organic goat milk formula (made from their own pasture-raised goats, naturally), there is nothing safe or okay about DIY formula. Formula is one of the safest and most tightly regulated food products on the market, because of how crucial adequate nutrition is for infants. No goat, no matter how fat or organic or GMO-free, is going to give your baby adequate or safe nutrition. Plus, no one should take nutrition advice from a former reality TV star right?
I’m all for women choosing their own birth practices. Even though I prefer my births in hospitals with lots of lovely drugs, if a woman wants to have a water birth or birth center birth or even home birth (with a trained healthcare professional), she should do her thing. However, that open-mindedness ends at the so-called “freebirthing” practice. If you haven’t heard of it, just imagine the TV show, “Naked and Afraid”, and throw in some labor. Basically, women give birth, without a healthcare professional, in the wilderness. And yes, it’s every bit as misguided and dangerous as it sounds.
6. Leprechaun Traps
As parents, we do enough right? Between the Tooth Fairy and Elf on a Shelf and birthday parties, our whimsical holiday plates are already exceptionally full. So, whose bright idea was it to add yet another thing to the roster? No one needs to “celebrate” St Patrick’s idea with a fanciful children’s tradition that not only requires parenting time and effort but is also bordering on the creepy/horror movie spectrum. Not to sound like an Irish Scrooge, but the only way St. Patrick’s day needs to be celebrated is with green clothing and/or green beer. Let’s not overcomplicate life any more than it needs to be.