Parenting by the Numbers

They promise to simplify parenting by reducing it to a set of banal aphorisms. Some offer advice about how to raise your child — often of the form “[x] simple ways to show your kids [something]” — or how to compel your spouse to help raise your child — e.g., “[x] to involve [fathers/mothers] in your child’s education.”

Others are aimed more at reassuring parents that they are not failing miserably at parenting — e.g., of the form “[x] ways you are a great [mother/father]” — or able to balance parenting with being a spouse — e.g., “[x] signs [he/she] is a good [husband/wife].”

Some lists are meant to be funny. Some lists commiserate with stereotypical parenting difficulties. Some guarantee to revitalize your love life or restore your pre-pregnancy body. 10 is a popular number for items on a list, but so too is 3, and 4, and 5, and 6, and 7, and 8, and 9, and 11, and 12, and 13, and 15, and 16, and 24 — what happened to poor 14 and 20? Perusing one popular parenting website I stopped counting when I exceeded 200 dicta spread across dozens of posts.

I don’t understand the allure of these lists. My parenting, #1’s and #2’s reactions to my parenting, and my relationship with the Mother don’t fit neatly into the hackneyed adages proffered by such lists. All of which leads naturally to my own list:

~[x] reasons why my life is too complicated for a list (and yours is too)~