Week 18: Toomuchtimeonmyhands.com

I’ve started to wonder what kind of father am I going to be. The best hint, of course, is to look at my own father, a man most would agree is a kind and sensitive human, a thinker, and a true gentleman. I hope I’ve internalized a lot of his methods and attitudes; If so, I lucked out. And if he had been a knuckle-dragging moron, I would hope that I could be smart enough to do things differently. Instead I just have to follow his lead, which is a good feeling. It’s also not the norm.

The other day, I went on Americanbaby.com. It’s vaguely exciting, because no man has ever gone on Americanbaby.com, so I feel like I am nosing around in the women’s bathroom, checking to see if they really have couches in there. The site is a bright, happy place with lots of soothing colors and impossibly big-eyed babies, and is a general carnival celebrating the joys of fertility. There were plenty of feelgood multiple choice quizzes; I took one called “What Kind of Dad Will He Be?” The questions were too easy, the answers obvious. Without much effort I was told I would make a well-balanced dad, “a wonderful mix of love, discipline, and fun, a man who will “dole out discipline firmly and fairly,” and be “willing to help out with . . . bathing, feeding, and dealing with a sick child.” Ugh. I hated this guy already.

I tried it again and purposely answered every question wrong. In the end, I got a simple message that said I should take the quiz again. Just as I suspected: Americanbaby.com is not in the business of telling people that they were not qualified to procreate.

I took a crack at “Should I Parent a Boy or Girl?” a quiz that ascertains which gender you’re more suited to raising. In the end, I was told that I honestly didn’t seem to care whether I had a boy or a girl, which seemed passive-aggressive to me. Made me sound like a prick.

Next up was “What is your Pregnancy IQ?” I felt confident about this one. I’ve been reading all of Sarah’s books. But I managed to blow it on a question about morning sickness, then another about placenta previa (an unpleasant-sounding obstetric complication in which a low-lying placenta covers part or all of the inner opening of the cervix). I finished strong, acing most of the rest—including the parts about mucus plugs and folic acid, two of my favorite subjects. So I was dumbfounded when I got this response:

You may still have some thinking to do. Talk to your partner and be sure to bring any anxieties you feel into the open. It may be a good idea to speak with a couples counselor or therapist, as well. But remember: Some of the best moms and dads around were nervous going in.

It was like a slap in the face. Thinking to do? Anxieties? Nervous going in? WTF? I probably got 80 percent of the questions right, and I still needed to see a couples counselor? This was the most brutal grading curve ever.

Then I remembered a crucial fact: I am man. These quizzes aren’t directed at me; they’re for pregnant women, and not just any pregnant women: educated women. Obsessed women. Women who spend their time taking quizzes on Americanbaby.com. I bookmarked the page and vowed to return in a few months.

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7 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Americanbaby.com is the worst kind of cult. IT IS EVIL

7 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Whats with the americanbaby.com hate, anonymous?

7 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

What's with the Americanbaby.com hate? I'll tell you.

It's a deep dark underbelly of Mommy Fascism, Celebrity Whoring and Blatant Materialism wrapped up in a nice pretty little pink bow.

If you look closely, you'll see that the webmaster is Satan.

7 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Women in rice patties don't have AmericanBaby.com and they do just fine.

Women have been having babies for YEARS without the "help" of obsessive sites like this. Our generation is not the first to have children, y'know.

7 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

The worst is the catalogs that make mothers feel like they have to obsessive - things like wipe warmers, thermometer pacifiers, and shopping cart liners.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

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