Jowita Bydlowska

Parenthood is Serious Business

Gavin McInnes, “Baby Discipline” (2009)

I watched this video many times during the course of my pregnancy. It was detox from all the ultra-somber baby-rearing advice that I had to endure almost 24/7.

Gavin McInnes is one of the founders of Vice magazine, a monthly guide to hipsterdom. Born in the 70s, he is also probably one of the most infamous heroes of my generation of North Americans. We are known as Generation Y, or the “Millennials” (though the Millenials, as McInnes would probably agree, is the lamest word ever).

After McInnes left Vice, he promised this was not the end of him, backing up his promise with the typical McInnesian flourish: “There’s a ton of other projects in the works, including books, a movie, comics, TV shit, etc and I’ll announce them on the site as they blossom into fruition like a hundred humid vaginas in the presence of God’s boner.” (Emphasis mine.)

One of those projects is a series of video shorts about parenting. McInnes is a father of two children; some have speculated that having children was the reason he left Vice. He is now in charge of STREET CARNAGE, a website that “features street fashion critiques called STREET BONERS and compilations of bad television called TV CARNAGE.” For the most part, the site’s je ne sais quoi is similar to that of the funny and offensive Vice of old, and has less in common with the look-guys-I’m-still-cool Vice of today.

Anyway, I’ve been watching McInnes’ parenting shorts and thank God’s boner for them. Websites and videos that deal with motherhood are practical and serious, the way motherhood is.

Mother and Baby TV, “How to express breast milk” (2009)

Ugh. But like McInnes I struggle with the seriousness of it all. And my child-free friends, the Millenials, struggle along with me. For example, recently I got an email from my friend Ally that said “I can’t call you a ‘whore’ any more, can I, since you’re a mother now?” (Yes, she can.) Then my friend Bunmi wondered if “sexy motherfucker” was an okay term to describe my baby. (Yes, it is.)

Then there are the “professional parents,” people like Dave whom we ran into while pushing a stroller. He boomed: “Ha ha ha, where’s your techno now?” Dave represents the certain attitude that is based on the fact that parenthood is serious business. In that spirit, I’ve been warned about my vagina walking out on me after giving birth or my drug use becoming a public concern; and I’ve heard bad haircuts referred to as “Mom hair.”

Basically, babies are perfectly efficient coolness exterminators. I’ve seen dozens of mysterious smiles on the lips of parents who had said to me, “Oh, your life will change.”

Gavin McInnes, “Sophie Can Walk” (2008)

And my life has changed.

Today I can tell you this: Never mind about worrying about being cool. There are more important things to take care of. You see, just like McInnes’ daughter, Sophie, my newborn child is unable to walk. Just like McInnes, we have asked doctors to give us some hopeful timelines but the outlook is always grim. “A year or so,” they all say. Worse yet: We are met with heavy, embarrassed silence whenever we ask about Hugo’s current inability to speak.

– Jowita Bydlowska

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Jowita Bydlowska was born in Warsaw, as in Poland. She moved to Canada as a teenager. That hurt. She got over it eventually and now she likes it in Canada. She's the author of "Drunk Mom," a memoir, "Guy," a novel, and "Possessed," also a novel. For fun she takes weird pictures, usually of herself, because she and herself are on the same page most of the time so it's just easier that way. More from Jowita Bydlowska here.