SXSWi: Alternadad Live!

Alternadad Live!
16:00 CST
3-12-2007
Neal Pollack, Bloger, Alternadad, starting online parenting community soon
Rebecca Woolf, Blogger, Girl’s Gone Child

Woolf: wanted to talk about hipster parenting buzz that has been around the blogosphere, NYTimes, Time magazine. We have become posters children for alternative parenting. I don’t think we are different than our parents who dressed their kids up in things they like.

Pollack: there has been this label slapped on this generation of parents. There is a cultural shift afoot, largely taking place on the Internet. Reacting against “Mommy and Me,” soccer-mom culture. The parents are largely the same. Idea that parents don’t want to give up pre-parent identity and you have things like Indie-rock parties for kids: baby loves disco, kids bands playing at Knitting Factory, House of Blues. Speaks to pareantal dissatisfaction. David Brooks (NYTimes) attacks, he isn’t paying attention. These are normal parents with a superficial Indie-rock aesthetic.

Woolf: I’m really not that cool, but I am looked at as a cool mom. We’ve become “Indie-rock” but the label itself is contradictory. People are upset, they don’t like me because they way I dress, the way I dress my kid. They are furious that I take my kid to an art show, a rock show instead of Gymboree.

Pollack: the angry people are in the minority. When you have a kid, you feel obsolete as an individual. Everyone can relate to fear of getting older and becoming culturally worthless. Lots of books, websites trying to understand what it means to be a parents, and trying to change definition of parenting in this country. There is fear of change.

Woolf: there are so many blogs that are all about being parents. [polling audience]: how many people read blogs instead of parenting magazines for advice? [not many raise their hand].

Pollack: parenting magazines are so focused. I have tried to write articles for them, but they always say their audience won’t appreciate his point of view. Blogs give a more raw and honest approach to parenting. First generation of parents that have been online their entire adult life, so more comfortable sharing that way.

Woolf: blogging is a personal experience. It is raw, it is ok to swear, etc. You can maintain your own voice while talking about parenting.

Woolf: people say that I am exposing my child, how do you deal with that?

Pollack: negative press that is personal. Parenting is a raw topic.

Deuce is the Beatles of parent bloggers (second Beatles reference I have heard today)

Woolf: I thought when I became a parent I would have to start shopping at Talbots and wearing pastels. You become a desperate housewife, wear tacky nails. So many different stereotypical moms, so I figured I would just start a blog.

Interesting hearing these thoughts. I don’t know anything about parent bloggers, but I should probably start reading them being that I deal with parents and their kids as a profession.


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arvind s. grover

I am a progressive educator, a podcaster (EdTechTalk.com/21cl), a blogger, and dean of faculty of JK-11 school (building a high school) in New York City.