Monday, 11 January 2010

The Daddy Of All Rows

Today Frazzled Daddy went “over the top” and became a media entity in its own right, I went on the radio. No doubt books, movie rights and a range of hideous merchandising is only a heartbeat away but rest assured that I will not forget you, the little people, when I go global. Well, I might.

The fabulous London institution LBC called me to ask if I had anything to say about the balls-out war that has broken out in the world of parenthood. In the red corner, the grandmaster of gurus, the behemoth of baby boffins, the heavyweight champion of itineries... GINA FORD. And in the yellow corner is the challenger, the archduke of dads, the prince of proportional representation, the leader of the Liberal Democrat... what’s his name, er oh yes... NICK CLEGG.

Just in case you missed it, Nick Clegg “launched a scathing attack” on Gina Ford’s childcare methods likening them to an Ikea assembly manual that can make parents feel strangely passive. In fact, read it for yourself, that’d be much easier.

OK, for any of you who haven’t read any Gina Ford and who don’t understand what the hell is going on then consider yourself very, very lucky and go about your day.
When I read the article I felt a huge affinity for what Nick Clegg had said. I remember very vividly the few weeks before our youngest son, Joe, was born and the frenzied accumulation and poring over the Contented Baby books. All our friends had read it and we had to and more than that we had to follow it because then we would be doing things “right”. It wasn’t until a few weeks later, after a lot of sleepless nights, that we realised that our son didn’t quite fit in to Gina Ford’s meticulous regime and that perhaps a different and more flexible approach was required. Once we’d made this extraordinary revelation things got a lot better for us.

So well done Nick Clegg for speaking your mind, for telling it how it is and for encouraging people to trust their own parental instincts.

As ever, let me know what you think by leaving comments and remember don’t listen to anything I say because I’m an idiot.


  1. The propensity for books by 'baby gurus' terrifies me to be honest, parents today are being encouraged to abandon their wits and trust in a woman who doesn't even have a baby of her own!

    Unfortunately there's been a marked change in culture - new parents don't rely on help from their own parents or in-laws any more but nor do they trust their intuitions which would serve them well.

  2. Oh God, I so agree! I read Gina Ford after having a six year gap between number 1 and 2, panicking that I'd forgotten everything. Friends with their first babies swore by it and so I read it, tried it for about two days and then remembered the most important thing any parent should know. Just like grown-ups, babies are individuals. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. Just let them do what they need to do (within reason, obviously!) and relax, you'll be happier and they'll be happier! I now have three gorgeous kids, not perfect, but they're happy and content and that's the most important thing.
    Oh and the other really, really important thing is it doesn't matter if your child has a vocabulary of 30 words by 3 months old or is fully toilet trained by 6 months, they can all do it eventually and it doesn't make your child a genius, it just makes you an obsessive parent!!!

  3. I've never read any Gina Ford but the effect that she had on some of my fellow mummies just before and just after the births of their first children is what inspired the birth of my blog 'mellow mummy' - people shouldn't get stressed trying to follow her strict regime if it doesn't work for them or their baby... it just adds to the pressure of parenthood.

  4. Sorry for the late response but have to add that Gina herself doesn't follow her timetable to the minute. She was my niece and nephew's maternity nurse and is much more flexible in practise. I think she just felt it would be easier for people to follow a set routine.