Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Life Automation

Do you remember when Martha Stewart first came on the scene with the fresh idea of doing everything from scratch? Or maybe if you don't remember Martha doing everything from scratch, surely you had some relative who did. Or you can imagine life in the 19th century when people made their own clothes and food, and so forth.

One of my points of pride is that I can do things self-sufficiently. I'm not Martha Stewart, but yes, I can make my own pickles, jam, and chicken stock. I can make clothes on my own, stuffed animals, and the curtains in my apartment. I can build a lot of things on my own.

When I got married, I did most of it on my own, such as printing and decorating my own invitations and writing my own thank you notes. I don't understand people who hire wedding planners. If you can't pick out your own cake and schedule a dress fitting on your own, how will you ever manage actually being married?

And now, via Broadsheet, I find you can hire a baby planner. For a moment when I saw that title, I had this sick image of a woman who stood in the bedroom to help a couple conceive. (Ick!) But no, a baby planner is for all the trappings that come along with imminent motherhood:

Baby planners will help expectant couples set up a baby registry, decorate a nursery, find "doulas, lactation specialists, personal trainers, nutritionists and personal maternity shoppers" -- personal maternity shoppers! -- and, most important, find a reliable nanny. They'll also find "mother's assistants" who will take care of sending out baby announcements and "returning the amount of presents" (seriously). All for a mere $100 an hour.

It sounds a lot like the wedding industry hype to me. A wedding is supposed to be about two people marrying, not about presents and tiaras and releasing butterflies. And a baby is a time to step up to the plate and be a parent and shower the child with love and attention. If you can't manage sending out baby announcements and
finding a pair of maternity pants, should you really be having a baby in the first place?
Besides which, understandably overwhelmed women aren't even necessarily the target market for baby planners. Carla Roney, editor in chief of TheNestBaby.com, "says that as professional urban women start to have babies later in life, they have more disposable income and are going all-out to make the arrival of the baby an over-the-top, special event."

Ah, so here we go, the real reason for this: "Look at me! I'm having a baby! Pay attention to me!" I wasn't surprised to see Carla Roney's name pop up; she was formerly the editor in chief of the weddingpalooza mega-site, TheKnot.com. So now that she's succeeded in pushing women to buy into extraneous wedding favors, placecard holders, and personalized matchbooks, she's ready to uber-pump up your birthing.

I certainly hope that if I decided to have a baby of my own at some point, I'll be resourceful enough to not need a planner to help out.

1 responses:

karinmc said...

Kate,
Thanks for making yourself known on my blog. I am glad to have found yours and this particular post. When I got married the idea of releasing control of my plans to someone else was just not something I was willing to do. As a DIYer and being intent upon not letting the event overshadow the purpose of the day I wasn't going to have anyone adding their mark to my and my husband's most meaningful day. Now Baby Planners ... my first response ... NO WAY! Like you say if you can't handle everything involved maybe you shouldn't be having a "mini me" but upon reflection since I am adopting I, in a way, have a baby planner/agent. But in my case it is the legal issues involved. It is unfortunate that it comes to that but when my little one finally does come home I plan on doing the decorating and care-giving myself.


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