This is the kind of shit I have to scroll through to find a job. While I don’t mind the occasional babysitter, nanny, or home health aide listings, people like this woman (Birgit M. since she posted her name and photo and doesn’t that look like an “Office Bitch” stock photo?) rankle me to the point where I’ve entertained fantasies of sending them detailed e-mails describing how their vegan chicken nuggets and insane expectations will turn their children into mommy-obsessed serial killers.
Of course, I’m not qualified to tell someone how to raise their child. I’m not qualified because I’m not a parent, and also because only a parent really knows what their child needs. However, I’m not a parent because I know that I have neither the time nor the money to dedicate to such a mission, and I don’t think that one is a substitute for the other. Also, while each child is different, they’re not so different as to require a rigorous system of child-rearing and psychological manipulation in order to turn two. I’m not a parent, but parents who don’t understand these things piss me off.
The headline for Birgit M.’s ad reads “Are You A Fan Of Teacher Tom Or RIE?” I don’t know who Teacher Tom or RIE are, but in the interest of learning about something that’s so important to this parent that she has admittedly dismissed (or fired?) candidates who don’t share this incredibly specific philosophy, I looked them up.
Teacher Tom has a Blogspot, which should tell you all you need to know. People who have Blogspot blogs include mommy bloggers, “photographers” who bought a DSLR and only use autofocus, and megachurches. Serious educators should not have Blogspot blogs. They’re slow-loading, they’re poorly-organized, and they look fucking amateur, and there are only about A HUNDRED other better blogging platforms out there for actual blogging, not to mention HUNDREDS MORE website platforms for someone espousing a business model.
From what I can gather, Tom seems to be a preschool teacher who wrote a local interest book and…that’s it? I’m not saying that preschool teachers aren’t important, I’m just having a hard time understand why someone would be a fan of this kind of person to the extent that it dramatically affects their childcare decisions. Like, does a job candidate have to have his blog bookmarked? What if they think it’s ugly? Because it is.
I also looked up RIE, which apparently stands for “Resources for Infant Educarers.” Maybe people with babies aren’t as creeped out by made-up words as I am, but really? Educarers? That’s not real. That’s a cult-style buzzword that someone made up to sell you pre-preschool “education” before your baby knows it has feet. The website wasn’t very helpful (although I’m probably not as affected by smiling infants as other people), but the Daily Beast posted something about it and the main point seems to be “Think Baby Einstein Videos Aren’t Expensive or Ridiculous Enough? This Program Is For You!”
According to the Daily Beast, RIE “eschews the conventions of American infancy from baby strollers, high chairs and battery-operated toys to excessive praise, forced sharing, and even lullabies…It has its own tight-knit circle of instructors; its own rituals (the narration of the diaper change); its own spare aesthetic (no mirrors, no dangling mobiles, no Baby Einstein); and its own set of guidelines (no singing, no rocking, no playpens). All of this honors the baby’s “struggle” and builds a more “authentic self,” proponents believe… “Doing RIE” generally means showing respect for a baby’s experience. Parents narrate the action around the child—loud noises, new faces, movement from one room to another—to help the baby have “a thinking, feeling part of whatever you are doing to him and for him,” as the movement’s original manual states. A crying baby isn’t shushed or distracted but is allowed to release the tension of feeling, and asked why he or she is crying.”
Good grief. This mess seems like a gateway, if not a direct express ticket, to the style of parenting that reacts to child misbehavior not with correction and education into how one’s actions can affect others, but with crouching down to the kid’s eye level, apologizing for bringing it up, and asking them how the situation makes them feel. Which is bullshit, and exactly why nobody wants to see babies in restaurants anymore. This kind of parenting reveres the Cult of Baby, treating what girls in my high school were doing as a miracle and rejecting as non-persons those of us who don’t care to reproduce.
Which is pretty funny when you consider Birgit M.’s ad, which offers a vague $10 to $20 an hour for this kind of intensive philosophy, as well as requires a caregiver to work up to 7 days a week during pretty much any hour the child would be awake. Nothing like a parent who doesn’t have time to be one, let alone looks down on other parenting styles as inferior at the same time.
Birgit M. sounds like a real asshole, basically, and if at all possible, Dear Internet, I’d like you to keep her lunatic ads the hell away from my employment search.