Putting the ‘Pop’ into Pop Culture

Mark Green
Mark Green

When did parenting become mainstream? I certainly couldn’t pinpoint the pivot in society where we decided that marketing the idea of being a good parent became a good idea. I’d like to credit the internet for this wave of parenting style, but I know a plethora of books on the subject existed in my own parents’ time. The only difference today is that there’s a more accessible place for everyone to have the conversation, and more people are sharing their experiences on raising children.

            I’m about to have my first child, courtesy of the efforts of my loving wife, and I don’t think there’s been a better time to be a father. Gone are the days of feeling lost in the sauce and being alone in a crowd with a million questions bouncing around my head. Now everyone has a blog or a podcast or a YouTube channel devoted to parental advice, and if you like what they have to say, there’s nifty swag to buy to keep you motivated in your new role.

            Now, I’m not saying I know everything there is to know about parenting; I’ve never done it before. The closest I’ve ever gotten was herding a bunch of camouflaged privates through the woods while training them which way the pointy end of the gun went. I do feel like I’m not going into this completely blind, though.

Thanks to the power of social media, I’ve been able to read the stories and conversations new dads have had with each other for months and have gotten a feel for what’s to come. I’ve gotten ideas on how to prep the nursery, on what kind of father-daughter (we’re having a girl!) activities I can look forward to, and a complete kit of tools for my back pocket to turn to when it comes time to deal with varying situations I may have otherwise handled poorly.

            Like a lot of good people in this world, my wife and I have both come from broken homes. We’re looking forward to “breaking the chain” as we’ve come to call it and building a foundation for our children that is stable and ensures their futures are bright. My own parents came from broken homes, too, and surely had the same train of thought in mind when I was born.

Can my wife and I do what our parents couldn’t do? I think so, and I think it’s because of where and when we are raising a family. We’re in a good country, albeit with some hiccups, where opportunities still abound to offer children the chance to reach for the stars. We’ve gotten to a point where we can have open-ended conversations, like this one, discussing parenting, with the mission to normalize acknowledging the fears and concerns that we all have in doing so. Recognizing these concerns is a step in finding solutions, and having mature conversations about them with each other is a great way to find out that we’re not alone in dealing with these issues. A lot of the time, we find out that these problems, these concerns, are nothing to be afraid of at all, and we’re all going through the same experiences.

            For me, community sites like Facebook’s The Dad, or comedy parent and DIY expert Dude Dad, have been great resources to prepare for the greatest change in my life to come. I’ve been able to watch the firsthand experiences of parents across the country as they manage a variety of different challenges, see them find the humor in situations that I’m still not sure is possible, and flex the successes of their children as they go through the steps of growing up.

I’ve been able to take what I’ve seen of the road ahead and bring better questions to our doctor and obstetrician as we prepare for our own delivery date. I’ve been able to get more creative with the way I’ve looked at supporting my wife through her pregnancy and how I’m prepping the nursery for our daughter. Did you know that a quality toolbox can make for a quality changing table AND still be a toolbox when your baby is out of diapers? Thank you, Internet!

            All of the flashy gimmicks and clothing with “Cool Parent” written everywhere put aside, I think pop culture has hit a home run for once. Parenting is cool. In an age where we’re all just a little more connected through a multitude of apps and devices, it seems only fitting that more people are finding common ground on the things we do every day.

With childrearing being the number one cause of keeping our society moving forward, it makes sense that people are realizing that we’re all in this together. What’s the old adage? “It takes a village to raise a child.”

            I guess parenting has always been cool.