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Wunder Muther, Trendy Ma, Dancing Daddy-boy . . . everyday my post-office box fills with “cool parenting” books and magazines put out by mainstream publishers. They are memoirs and how-to-be-as-cool-as-me tomes; advice journals and fashion rags. Last month a radio interviewer congratulated me for starting this whole “movement” with my zine, Hip Mama. So, how come my reaction to seeing another pile of parenting lit is to roll my eyes? These parents need to grow up, I think. And then I’m embarrassed by my judgment. If these moms and dads are making a buck to feed their families, more power to them, right? And every swipe at the old-school patriarchal institution of the family is a good thing, right? Well, maybe. But this stuff in my mailbox doesn’t look like a movement. In fact, it looks a little bit more like co-option. That radio interviewer’s congratulations felt more like an accusation. “Cool” parenting without a political component—without resistance or vision or even new parental insight into social issues—just feels like an updated way to sell exhausted mothers on the image-first model of parenting that has been such an effective tool in our collective isolation and oppression. “Hip” means aware and informed. To the extent that all this new parenting lit enlightens the community by keeping us aware and informed, by shattering taboos and nourishing spirits—more power to it. But if reading this stuff just makes us feel like our tattoos and haircuts aren't cool enough for the "new" motherhood, revolt!

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