being a mom
If You Want to Mess Up Your Kids, Follow the Daily Mail’s Guide to Raising Upper-Class Children
There was a day when I thought the drunk lady at the grocery store was the last person on Earth from whom I would ever want to hear parenting advice, but that was before The Daily Mail decided to publish a guide to raising upper-class children. Now I know that pacifiers should be avoided because they make babies look undignified, and that only lower-class parents feed their newborns on demand. I also now know thatÂ I would rather take parenting advice from a raccoon with a box of rusty nails in its mouth than from The Daily Mail.
Or a car alarm that won’t stop going off. I’d rather take parenting advice a Shake Weight. Or from the rumor that Khloe Kardashian is really OJ Simpson’s daughter than from The Daily Mail. Hell, I’d rather take parenting advice from the crazy vegan restaurant owner who lets her not-yet-potty-trained toddler run around the dining room without a diaper on than from The Daily Mail and its etiquette expert, William Hanson.
Hanson is the same writer who told us years ago that upper-class babies only wear short pants, because full-length trousers on little boys look “suburban.”Â More recently he wrote a modern guide to “marrying up,” which advised women to improve their social situations by dieting like crazy and cutting off any friends or relatives who are poor. (No, really.)
But if you take his advice and manage to make yourself not-fat and not-ugly enough to win over a rich man, what is next? Well if the nursery rhymes are true, first comes
love mercenary hunting of rich men for sport, then comes marriage, then comes baby with the baby carriage.
Now Hanson has written a guide to how to raise a baby like the upper-classes, and it will make you want to find the nearest British private school and show up with a warm blanket and some cups of comforting cocoa for all those poor little rich kids.
Get a nanny
Step one on Hanson’s list is to get a nanny, even before the child is born. The very chicest thing to do is to find the nanny who raised you and hire her to come back and raise your children.
What was Nanny doing between the day you went off to college and the day you called her now 70-year-old self back to service? I’m a little worried. I don’t think Mummy and Daddy really sent Nanny to live on a farm upstate, do you?
Your name is Mummy from now on, and you will coldly reject the word “mama” or any cute nicknames your new infant may try to come up with.
Hanson informs us that proper babies refer to their parents as mummy and daddy, though boys are now allowed to call their fathers “dad” after they become teenagers.
That is actually true. I had a 37-year-old British coworker who called his mother “Mummy.” He was not allowed to say “Mum” because it was “common.” My other British coworkers said he was very posh. (If you have a lot of British coworkers and want them to like you, ask them to explain the British class system to you. They will bring it up at every gathering and take deep joy in explaining the vagaries of accent and schooling to your wide-eyed American face. It’s sort of the international equivalent of asking the guy in the Patriots jersey to tell you about Tom Brady.)
No public breastfeeding.
Hanson disapproves of mothers who “whip out a bosom in public to feed her child” because “the whole process can make well-heeled observers uncomfortable.” Not only that, he says only lower-middle-class parents feed their babies on demand.
“Feed it every time it cries and demands attention, (patrician mothers) believe, and it will forever be demanding and tiresome,” writes the most demanding and tiresome columnist at the Daily Mail.
That is just terrible, medically unsound advice. New babies don’t really have wants, they only have needs. When a baby wants to be fed, it needs to be fed. Please feed and cuddle the baby and tell it you love it, even if it says “mama” instead of “mummy” and looks undignified with a pacifier in its mouth.
No pacifiers or baby showers
Oh yes, you can’t use pacifiers because they make babies look undignified, says Draco Malfoy’s butler.
I mean, just look at this tacky little baby:
Also baby showers are gauche, and if you are a person of substance you will pretend you do not know what one is if someone invites you to one.
Also, onesies are “common.” Baby girls should wear dresses and baby boys should wear short pants.
This is further convincing me that William Hanson has never actually seen a baby. If you put a baby girl in a dress, she will not be able to crawl and she will pitch a fit like a tiny lion cub. (Or maybe my baby is just tacky.)
Tantrums also just do not happen for the upper classes, Hanson asserts. He says upper-class babies do not have “terrible twos.”
I’m genuinely starting to be convinced Hanson has confused babies with garden gnomes. If that’s the case, his advice is actually spot-on. Please don’t breastfeed a garden gnome in public. That really will make observers uncomfortable.
What do you think of Hanson’s child-rearing advice? Let us know in the comments.
(Image: iStockPhoto / Nellisyr)