July 12, 2011 at 5:00 AM ET
Laura Ingraham is the most listened-to woman in political talk radio. Getting her three kids to listen to her at home? Well, that's another matter. For TODAY Moms, Ingraham blogs about fighting the culture wars as a mom.
My friends called me insane. Within the last three years, I have adopted three children who are all under the age of six. Overnight I went from carefree social butterfly to a working mom, regularly fried.
When you are a new parent, the culture comes roaring at you with all sorts of advice and pressure to perform (you and your kids). For a while, I actually started buying into “new trends” in parenting. I started buying the latest baby learning DVDs, signing my tots up for classes whose subject matter I could barely master. And the most embarrassing confession: I nearly shelled out $2,996.91 to “baby-proof” my home. When I asked a neighbor, also a mom, whether this quote was in the ballpark, she responded earnestly, “Sweetie, you can’t put a price-tag on your child’s safety.” No, but apparently you can put a price on gullibility. I found out she had paid almost double for the same “expert” services. Forget buying gold, just add plastic socket protectors and quilted coffee table trims to your portfolio! I decided to “expert-proof” my home. I went to the hardware store, and bought my own door latches and toilet seat clamps. I truly felt fulfilled as a mom—and it only cost me 120 bucks.
These are only a few of the stupid parenting tricks many of us fall for. Today we’re made to feel less worthy as mothers if we don’t indulge our children at every milestone and points in between. Your child is getting ready for pre-K and you still haven’t hired a tutor to hone her interpersonal and playgroup skills? What kind of mother are you? And remember, if she’s really going to make a good first impression at her private kindergarten admissions interview, she can’t very well show up wearing $7.99 leggings from Target! You didn’t know that Armani and D&G have kiddie couture lines? Where have you been? And stop waxing nostalgic about your own childhood birthday party memories—no longer will a sheet cake, store-brand vanilla ice cream, and paper hats from the drug store suffice. Show some creativity, ladies! Your kids (and the other moms on the block) expect over-the-top choreographed birthday adventures complete with their own stylists and professional videographers. My children have been invited to farm parties (complete with trucked-in petting zoos); circus parties (with professional jugglers, fire-eaters, and acrobatic troupe); and my personal favorite—spa parties, where little girls learn early on how to be as spoiled and self-indulgent as their mommies! In some tony areas, it’s like a birthday party Olympics—with mothers ruthlessly training to medal in the kiddie bacchanalia event.
As they get older, many of us indulge them further, by allowing them to freely wander the pornified pop culture. Are you really okay with your young teen daughter going to Ke$ha’s “Get Sleazy” summer tour? Is Rihanna’s S&M on her iPod? And if so, how is this empowering her? Have you actually read the lyrics and watched the videos? No time? Find the time.
We moms are often so busy with “regular life,” that the last thing we feel like taking on is another battle with our children—over the clothes they wear or what they’re doing on the Internet. Often times we’re convinced that we really can’t make a difference because “this is what all the kids are doing.” We don’t stop to appreciate the influence that our counsel and example have on the culture that our children will inherit. The decisions we make today, the indulgences we permit, will not only shape our children’s choices, but the future of our country.
I might be a little crazy for taking on three children under the age of six, but I’ll never be crazy enough to let the culture adopt my children.