There's a new industry that has emerged as an offshoot of one of the oldest professions in the world. It's dirty, often takes place late at night, behind closed doors, and creates controversy in terms of what's really right and what's really wrong. That's right: parenthood. But fear no longer, because today it is recognized that just because you actually are a parent doesn't mean you're necessarily qualified to be a parent, or that you should be expected to take on said duties of being a parent.
Enter, the baby concierge.
When I first heard this term, I immediately conjured up an image of the gravelly voice, cigar smoking, diaper clad gangster baby we met in Bugs Bunny (Babyface Finster, to be precise), cutting deals for Broadway shows, getting you in to the best parties, finding a real sweet deal on some electronics, all from the comfort of his padded stroller. But I did a little research and apparently I should have been thinking more along the lines of a wedding planner.
As the mother of four children, I know putting the words 'plan' and 'parenting' really only go together as a birth control strategy, but baby concierge services will try to convince you that they can take the stress out of almost everything baby-related for you, right from the moment the line on the stick turns blue. From doulas to diapers, nursing to nurseries and post-partum to pre-school, they can find the professional product or service to make your entrée into the world of mommyhood or daddydom a piece of baby shower cake.
While I absolutely admire the intentions of these well-meaning service professionals to aid parents in their time of greatest need (and make a tidy profit as well, which as a capitalist I also admire), there are some moments I feel that every parent should experience for themselves in order to wear the title parent, and not just chief procreation officer. For instance:
• The absolute awe and wonder of seeing that babies can indeed get poo into the folds of their neck, without any special props or assistance, and the cleaning out of the same.
• The discussion over whether the manufacturer's 'opinion' (otherwise known as instructions) are being followed correctly for the construction of the crib, change table and dresser, which occurs organically and maniacally between Mom and Dad (there's a special honour that goes to those who bought from Ikea, which is Swedish for "nice try").
• Not having a defensible and professionally-supported position against in-laws about why you do or don't follow a certain feeding or sleeping schedule with the infant. Because it's not the way they did it.
• Discovering that the stroller doesn't fit in the trunk of the car because who would ever think to pre-measure that? The golf clubs (that you no longer require, FYI) used to fit.
• Putting the old 'anyone can change a diaper, what's the big deal' theory to work on the new father of a baby boy. In his new suit.
Don't get me wrong; I'm all for finding new, convenient and easy ways to do things, so perhaps I'm just a tad jealous these services weren't around when I had a newborn. But in the spirit of growing and learning, I'm going to take a page from Finster's playbook and find my own padded stroller to operate from. Minus the cigar.