I've been trying to stay out of the whole hipster parent smorgasblog, hoping it will just go away, but since David Brooks brought it up in his NYTimes editorial today - and my kids are asleep - I guess I'm going to enter the fray.
Needless to say there has been a lot written on this subject already, some of it smart, some of it entertaining, none of it really getting to the heart of the matter. From Neal Pollack's Alternadad, articles in TIME and New York Magazine to today's New York Times editorial, all of it seems to focus on whether it is OK to raise your kids like little mini-me hipsters or not.
So far I haven't heard anyone say anything about what is the true issue at hand - Hey, alterna-parents, you're not cool. And, yes, since I'm a native New Yorker I do feel qualified to judge you on this - that's why you're raising your kids here too.
So, from my perch here, let me explain something to you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with dressing your kids up like little ravers, playing them nothing but The Shins and only letting them eat their organic mac and cheese from the coolest restaurants. The thing you are getting wrong is that spending that much time thinking about these things and justifying them to the world is so not cool.
Yes, being a conformist, non-conformist may be hip, it's just not cool. Being confident enough to let your kid go to Chuck E. Cheese, watch Disney movies and know that they will still be the coolest kid in Pre-K - that's cool.
And what's the deal with believing that becoming a parent turns you into a drone? It is just such a sad display of ignorance. Do you really think we are the first generation to raise kids in the city instead of the burbs? If you took one second to contemplate all those cool people you wannabee, you'd realize they ALL pretty much have kids. Hmmm. That's odd.
Here's the other thing that really bugs me about this whole thing. For a group of people that are making a lot of effort to prove how with-it you are, you sure ain't. How can you possibly think that this is something new? Just about every other generation for the last 100 years has believed they were the cool parents. Don't you remember your own parents playing you The Beatles, feeding you apple cider instead of juice, and telling you their worldly adult issues?
Just because The Beatles are no longer relevant - yes, sorry Boomers, it's sad, but true - does not mean that your parents were not just as insufferable and self-righteously self-consumed with how cool they were and how they were going to be the coolest generation of parents ever. They weren't going to be squares like their parents. No, our moms weren't going to be tied to the kitchen. Our parents were determined to go out, smoke pot, live their own lives and be their own people - and they wouldn't let anything hold them down, even marriage. Oh, wait, that didn't turn out so good, did it?
As for David Brooks, he's just sad if he thinks Urbanbaby is where hipster parents hang out.
For another good take on Alterna-Parenting check out Being Daddy.