Monday, August 2, 2010

A Blog is Born...

Hello to all,

This blog came to be because of many different factors in my life. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, what most people consider the epicenter of Judaism in America. I was raised by my Baal Tshuva parents who have chosen a frum lifestyle for my 7 siblings and I. Growing up in a large family comes with its pros and cons. I found that being with a larger family can maximize the total family experience. With a big family, good times are better, bad times are worse.

When I was old enough, I got married and eventually became a father. For me, this was a transforming experience. As most new parents do I instantly referred to my foolproof mental Rolodex of ideas on parenting, no doubt automatically ingrained into my mind by the way my parents raised me. After all, If my parents used their methods, and I turned out okay, wouldn't I want my child to be the same? Every day brought a new perspective and a new challenge. What to feed the child? How to feed them? What consistency should the food be? How should they sleep? On their back? On their stomach? Side? Blankets? How many? The list of questions and choices was endless.

From the beginning of the pregnancy, I referred to the endless library of baby magazines and books. Dr. Spock. The whole shebang. Immersing my brain in the massive treasure of parenting wisdom backed up by years of heavy duty research. Armed with this information, I felt I was ready for anything when it came to my child. Becoming a parent also changed the way I saw other parents and their children. I always make sure that my child has everything they need and that there is nothing overlooked. If its sunny, I apply sunscreen and a hat and make sure my child is never in direct sunlight. Cold? Sweater, snowsuit, hat, extra blankets, etc. Why wouldn't I? I mean, this is my child! Shouldn't I want to make sure my child is safe, happy and healthy? Of course.

Walking around Brooklyn, I detected a certain haphazardness about other Jewish parents I hadn't noticed before. People walking with their infant children in a stroller being blinded by the sunlight. Mothers holding their babies with their heads dangling and bobbing with every move and step. This came to me as a complete shock. How could these people do this? These are children were talking about here. Innocent and helpless. Entirely reliant on their parents to receive the best care. I've seen baboons take better care of their kids! My eyes being constantly bombarded by the sight of careless parents is part of what drove me to start this blog. Part of me is ranting just to get out the frustration of seeing these poor children with stupid parents and part of me wants to explore this phenomenon of neglectful child care in the Jewish community. I'll mostly post instances of shockingly nonchalant child abuse that many of these parents consider to be no big deal. The rest of my posts will contain some thoughts and musings on where this came from, why this is happening and what can be done about it. For those of you who wonder why a Brooklyn Jew chooses to blog anonymously, the answer is in the question.

The name for this blog can be understood in a few ways. Who are the Meshuga Parents? I consider myself to be a meshuga parent. I am tirelessly fixated on protecting the best interests of my child. Does that make me a better parent than any other? No. Everything is better in moderation. Let the kid run and scrape their knees. Don't be the parent who either never lets their kid run in the first place, or the parent who calmly sits by while their child engages in an activity that could very easily render them handicapped. Maybe were all Meshuga parents. This is something I plan to explore.

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