Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A sucker born every minute

Was it PT Barnum who said that? It should have been some famous magazine publisher, because it's always the magazines that suck me in. I swear, when I was younger (teens/twenties) it was Glamour or Sixteen or some other such thing that would always convince me it had THE article to show me how to put on make-up just right, or find the perfect bathing suit, or get the guy I had a huge crush on, or something.

Now it's Parenting, Time Out Kids, or some other parenting magazine that sucks me in. And the silly thing is, I KNOW BETTER. I know that the advice in these magazines is never what I think it will be. Either it doesn't apply to my situation, or it suggests something I'd never do in a million years, or, most often, it's all fluff that doesn't really end up saying much of anything.

Now I mentioned Parenting and Time Out Kids because they are the latest two to suck me in. Parenting's September 2007 issue has the following teasers on the cover: "7 things all toddler moms need," and "Good mornings! Best ways to get everyone going."

Well, I have a toddler! What 7 things do I need. This is what I thought when the magazine appeared in mail box (I can't even remember when I subscribed or why). Turns out that the things I need are not actual physical items, but attributes. Skills I need to help my toddler grow up into a well-adjusted human being. These skills are: "Micromanaging, Interpretation, Diplomacy, Feigning Interest, Herding, Fashin Consulting and Friendship." OK, if you have a toddler and haven't figured out that you're called upon to exhibit all of these things in the course of the day, then you're an idiot. Or maybe I'm an idiot for thinking that Parenting magazine has any real answers for me. And yet still I believe!!! Maybe they really can help me develop the skills I need to get my family going in the morning.

Just to balance the other article which I thought would be about things and turned out to be about skills, the morning article, which I think will be about skills, turns out to be more about things - though there are little tips thrown in. And I tell you, the next time I need a robo alarm clock that rolls across the room so you have to get up to turn it off, or a magnetic and felt sandwich, or interesting shaped cookie-type sandwich cutters - I'm going to feel bad for thinking this article was just dumb. Until then I'm going to continue to wonder why I waste my time reading this drivel.

And why, if I can't stop myself from reading the drivel that shows up in my mailbox, can't' I at least stop myself from picking up more drivel in the grocery store? I don't know. I just know when I saw that Time Out NY Kids cover that promised to tell me everything I need to know about daycare in the city - I had to have it. Even as I told myself that it wouldn't have any new information, even as I told myself that the magazine has a demographic with a much higher income than mine. Even as I knew these things, my hand still reached out and grabbed the magazine off the stand and put it on the counter before the cashier finished ringing out my groceries.

And what did the article tell me? That there's very little daycare available in the city, and that there's even less affordable daycare. That if I worked for certain large corporations, I would at least have access to emergency childcare. And here's the big surprise! Are you ready for it? Ikea has free childcare available while you're shopping there. And this would be a big deal if I hadn't already been to Ikea tons of times - enough to determine that my 2yo is too little for the ballroom and my 8yo is too big.

So what did I learn for my $2.99?

That daycare in NYC is too expensive and sparse and I'm a sucker for a magazine cover.


The Bear Maiden said...

Are you my mother????

Amy said...

I do this too! I have gotten better at resisting actually buying many magazines because of how aware I am that the titles are meant to serve as bait but that once lured in I won't find anything substantial. However, when I do fall prey I'm worse than you because it's not even to a magazine I would want to admit reading, such as the parenting journals you've mentioned. Sadly, I fall for the true crap, such as Cosmopolitan's promises to reveal "Ten Secrets to Mindblowing Sex" ...

The Bear Maiden said...

You HAVE to read this.

Fat Lady said...

Bear Maiden, your link just comes back to the comments page - please re-post.