I Propose We Make ‘Labeless Parenting’ A Trend

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This morning I was invited to attend a very special Anderson Live show with Anderson Cooper about “parenting styles.” Nothing like getting up at six am to hear Lenore Skenazy defend her $350 “free range nothing” class. There was the very predictable re-harpooning of the free range advocate’s decision to let her 9-year-old son ride the NYC subway alone, complete with the predictable mommy shaming audience. Show me a woman making a less than stellar choice for her child and I’ll show you the masses ready to string her up as the sacrificial lamb. But following the disapproving comments in the audience, the only proper bookend to “free range” surfaced in the discussion: helicopter parenting.

A fellow “mommy blogger” to my side told Anderson Cooper and the audience that she favored a “middle ground” with children’s safety and independence,  a concept that doesn’t seem to appeal much to the mainstream media narrative of parenting. That’s when my marketing brain started churning.

If you flipped on the TV these days, you’d assume all mothers were being sorted out via house much like that Harry Potter Sorting Hat. Can’t you just see lines of naive little preggers lining a majestic wooden table as they’re dispensed into “hipster mom,” “tiger mom,” “helicopter mom”?

Well, I say we add a new house to the lot and start the trend of ultra-chic, super swanky, Labeless Parenting! Ladies, we could really go places here!

Can’t you just see morning TODAY show hosts gathered around a freshly make-up shellacked group of “Labeless Moms”? They can espouse the credo of “fluid” and “free” interpretations of parenting, unbound by “the confines” of conventional parenting labels. These mothers (and of course there are no daddies in this club!) are shockingly both strict about homework but occasionally order out dinner! They both have a nanny and still love their kids! They like to have a drink sometimes but aren’t about to get black out drunk. Shocking and new, I know!

Let’s talk book deals, ladies. I’m thinking of going Lenore Skenazy with this one and putting together Labeless Parent: What The Rest Of Us Are Doing. Any mother out there who cares about your kid’s grades, but isn’t about to wade through two-year waiting lists of private schools, can pen the forward. We’ll be on talk shows from here to Los Angeles and through out the parenting blogosphere, we’ll be snagging headlines with “Labeless Parenting.”



  1. Eve Vawter

    September 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    would comment, but too busy buying up the domain and designing your T-shirts

    • Koa Beck

      September 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm


    • C.J.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      I would buy one of those t-shirts!!

    • Kallie Desruisseaux

      September 17, 2012 at 12:18 am

      SO SAD that that link didn’t work for realz!

  2. C.J.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Love it!! I’m so tired of parenting labels. Attachment parenting, free range parenting, helicopter parenting etc. Why can’t we al just be parents and do what feels right for our families. Heaven forbid you don’t follow a parenting style to the t. You’re obviously a bad parent if you don’t. It seems when people label parenting techniques they often take it to the extream. We don’t follow any labelled parenting style. We just do what seems right for us.

    • LiteBrite

      September 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      I think most parents have a little bit of everything in their parenting approaches. We’re “helicopters” about some things, “free range” on others. Some of us are “AP-oriented” when our kids are younger but become more “French like” as they get older and more independent. We can be a “hipster mom” in the way we dress but a “tiger mom” about education. We can be a little “granola” when it comes to feeding our children healthy foods (but still eat pizza once in awhile!).

      Seriously. All this constant labeling does is set us up for controversy and arguments. It’s silly, really.

    • C.J.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm

      Exactly, very well said!

    • LiteBrite

      September 14, 2012 at 9:45 am

      Thanks Eve and C.J. I can’t take full credit for the comment though as I read a Mommyish article awhile ago that said this same thing, and it just stuck with me because it’s true. I agree there will always be all-or-nothing extremists, but I think most parents do what comes naturally (or maybe it’s just the ones I know).

      When I spent nearly three months sleeping with my son in an armchair, I never thought I was “co-sleeping” or being “AP.” I just did it because he wouldn’t sleep in his darn crib. When he is playing outside and I won’t let him play off the deck without supervision, I don’t think I’m being a “helicopter”; it’s because we live on a busy street, and he’s extremely impulsive. I read Pamela Druckerman’s book “Bringing up Bebe”, and I recognized a lot of my parenting style in there; however, it’s not because I’m trying to do things the “French way.” It’s just stuff I do now that he’s getting older.

      Parenting isn’t black or white and most of it is common sense. Well, it should be at least.

    • Justme

      September 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm

      I read that very same article! I think that when we label ourselves as a particular type of parent, we tend to paint ourselves into a corner. What happens when Susie grows and changes and matures and requires a slightly different parenting approach? Raising a child is not a checklist, nor is it linear. It always has been and forever will be completely fluid and ever-changing. Our job as parents is to take stock of our children, our resources and our boundaries and do the best we can to parent a child in a way that will produce a functioning, contributing and healthy member of society.

    • Eve Vawter

      September 14, 2012 at 5:55 am

      Such a GREAT comment!

  3. Amanda Gerber

    September 17, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Second from the left’s shoes are too small. That’s all I’m going to say about all of this.

  4. Meah

    September 17, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I would buy that book and recommend it to all my parent friends, in an annoying holier-than-thou sort of way. 🙂

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