Flitting between parenting gurus

If you can’t cut it as an internet entrepreneur, there are two shortcuts to making a shit-ton of money. These are:

1) Think of a new diet

2) Be a parenting guru

If you can combine the two in some way, then do it, because every mother in the cosmos will buy your book.

First-time mums love a parenting guru. This is partly because, in the chaos and exhaustion of new motherhood, it’s lovely to be told what to do by someone who professes to know – it’s the reading equivalent of having your arm stroked at a time when, God knows, you need it. Plus the modern mum has a tendency to see motherhood as a project, like starting a vegetable patch, which becomes altogether easier if you do enough research.

Time was we’d have looked to our own mothers for advice. But, sadly, most grannies these days are too busy saying things like, ‘I don’t know why your generation are so hung up on “designer” buggies – a fold-up Maclaren was fine for us,’ or, ‘Christ, don’t ask me, I can’t remember. I think we just shut you in a room.’

So a guru starts to look appealing. But choosing the right one is vital, because, like every parenting choice you make, this will become less about trying something for size and more a public statement of Who You Are. Buy a stretchy wrap sling and the world will have you pegged as a tedious hippie; stop breastfeeding at three weeks and they’ll think you vain and selfish (no maternal decision was ever judged positively, so for your own sanity, you might as well stop seeking approval right now.)

Gina Ford remains the go-to guru for many, but if you’re going to follow her methods, be selective about who you tell. Because, whatever they tell you, half your friends (namely the ones who’ve tried and failed to get their own babies into a routine) will have you down as a baby-torturing Nazi. Adopt the Continuum Method, and you’re instantly one of those mums who suckles their four-year-old while doing naked yoga.

Gina Ford

Gina Ford, looking a bit like a Chris Lilley character. 

In any case, whichever philosophy you latch onto, you’ll immediately place all your faith into, as if you were Tom Cruise and they Ron L. Hubbard. You’ll follow its every instruction, whether that’s to let baby cry or enrol him at special Scientology school with bi-weekly audits, because if they can get your baby to sleep through, then they are like God, only better, because he couldn’t fucking do it.

But if, after three nights, your baby is still up and raring to go at 4.15am, you will lose faith just as fast and jump ship to another guru, usually the one who’s suggesting the opposite of whatever it is you’ve been trying. Your chosen guru will be by turns a genius and a fraud, depending on your baby’s behaviour, until one day in the – admittedly far distant – future, when your baby will adopt something approaching a normal sleep pattern. At which point it will be clever old you who sussed it.

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