I consider myself a woman of logic and science, which for some odd reason doesn’t always mesh well with parenting. Or rather, dealing with other parents. Now, I shouldn’t even have to add this qualifier, but I will because I’m sure I will get a bevy of commenters claiming “I don’t do these things, therefore your theory is WRONG,” but obviously I’m not talking about all parents. But trust me when I say that I hear and see these “myths” (also known as old wive’s tales) on a daily basis, so at least some of you are guilty.
“Don’t go outside with a wet head. You’ll get sick!”
No. Just…no. This isn’t how sickness works. You know those things called germs and bacteria and viruses. The things we all learned about in detail in high school (and college for many of us). Well, THOSE are what cause sickness. Not a bad hair day or being too lazy to use a blow dryer. So no, if my kid’s hair is slightly damp and they go outside to take the trash out, she won’t get ebola and die. I promise!
“Letting your son play with dolls will make him gay.”
I’ve gotten this as an out and out statement, and I’ve gotten this from well-meaning (though bigoted) family members claiming my son suddenly “didn’t want his lovie,” but it’s still the same bullshit. This isn’t how being gay works. It just isn’t. If you still think being gay is a choice or something that a parenting choice can cause in this day and age, then you are a terrible human being or just not very smart. Period. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but if yours isn’t based in fact then I’m entitled to the right to call you a jerk.
“You have to bathe your kids every single night or you’re a terrible parent!”
As the mother of three kids with very sensitive skin, this one drives me nuts. Of course I make sure that my kids are clean, and if they have a particularly messy day they will get a bath regardless of when their last one was, but generally they get a bath every other day. Any more often then it’s irritated skin city, and that city SUCKS. Same goes for hair washing, and all three have incredibly healthy, shiny hair. Even the experts agree that there is no reason to wash your hair daily, and it can cause more damage than good. So there!
“You’re carrying high, so you must be having a girl.” (or vice versa)
I heard various versions of this throughout all of my pregnancies, and while everyone had a fifty-fifty chance of being right, it was still annoying. Because science. The truth of the matter is the way you “carry” is caused by things like the depth of your pelvis, your weight and the size of your love-bun. Also, I carried all of my children the exact same way and still ended up with at least one of each. Myth…BUSTED.
“Don’t go swimming after eating, you’ll get cramps!”
This suggestion comes from my wonderful husband Don, but I was skeptical. He assured me that people do, indeed, believe this crappola, but just to be sure I asked around. Apparently they do. According to Snopes.com, there have been exactly zero deaths due to stomach cramps after eating. ZERO.
“Feed a cold, starve a fever!”
This one comes from my best friend Patrice, who also assures me that people still believe this crap. Apparently this one goes all the way back to the 1500′s, and was based on the then-medical wisdom that a drop in your body’s temperature caused a cold (I see what you did there, historical doctors!) while an increase in temperature caused a fever (which actually makes sense, though at the time they didn’t realize why). Doctors today consider this folklore, however, and honestly, if you’re getting your medical info from the Elizabethan period, then you probably shouldn’t trust it.