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Parenting Trends Are So…Trendy

By Wendi Aarons

Although my kids are still relatively young, just 10 and 12-years-old, sometimes I feel like I became a mother in the Dark Ages. But 2003 really was kind of like living in a cave, I guess, because we didn’t yet have amazing things like iPhones, Twitter and Facebook. OMG, how did we even survive? How did we make it through early motherhood without being able to show the world 100 pictures of our kid’s first poop in the potty?! I have no idea.

But because I had my kids when I did, I missed many of the trends that have now become permanent fixtures in the life of parents. Some of these trends I like, some of them I don’t, and some of them just make me shake my head and say, “Why? Why? WHY? I don’t want to know that even exists, weird cousin on Facebook! Stop it with the hourly pictures of Elf on the Shelf!”

My (admittedly strong) opinions aside, Alpha Mom wants to know what you think of some of these now commonplace Parenting Trends. Should they Stay? Or should they Go Away? Let us know what you think!

Smash Cakes

smash cake trend
It’s now popular to bake or order a special mini or “smash” cake for your baby’s first birthday party. Basically, this is an individual cake given to the little one to destroy while the parents take as many pictures as humanly possible. Whee! Cake material supplier Wilton and Betty Crocker even have recipes and designs for very elaborate smash cakes on their websites, but I think it seems like a lot of work for something that’ll be wrecked almost immediately. (But please note that I wouldn’t mind getting one of these for my next birthday. I’m in my 40’s. Lemme smash something.)

Elf on the Shelf Shenanigans

inappropriate elf
Years ago, there was no such thing as an elf figurine that parents put in different places every night to “spy” on their kid and report back to Santa. No, we had to make our kids behave the old-fashioned way: With threats and intimidation. But while Elf on the Shelf seems like a lot of fun for some kids, we have to wonder: does it only work if the parents post 1,000 pictures of their elf on social media? Also what about the pictures of the naughty elves snorting fake cocaine? (okay, those Inappropriate Elf pictures are totally for the parents and they’re pretty hilarious.) But why so many elves, people?

Gender Reveal Cakes and Parties

gender reveal cupcakes by sweetpeaskitchen
I didn’t find out the sex of my babies in advance, however, I’m in the minority in that now it’s even become popular to have a big party where the gender of the baby-to-be is announced to friends and family with a grand flourish (in fairness, Alpha Mom did a party craft idea post around it as well, and it was controversial). Sometimes the mother even goes as far as giving the bakery the secret ultrasound results in an envelope, then the bakery makes a cupcake with either a pink or a blue filling that the pregnant woman only sees when she bites into at the party. “I taste boy!” Might be fun, but let’s hope a bakery never screws up and uses green frosting.

Elaborate Pregnancy Announcements

pregnancy annoucements
If you’re pregnant and don’t make your own rap video to announce it like this couple in Utah did, are you really pregnant? Much like wedding proposals, pregnancy news has now become more of a production than simple, happy words you tell your friends and family at a backyard BBQ. There are art-designed cards from places like TinyPrints, original songs, poems and many other creative ways to spread the word. Not to mention the plethora of peed-on pregnancy test sticks we’ve seen posted on Facebook. Yeah. Don’t do that.

Valentine’s Day Cards for Every Kid in Class

class valentines trend

When we were kids, you gave a card to whoever you wanted to have one. Now teachers and schools insist that everyone gives a valentine card to everyone else in class so nobody gets their feelings hurt. (But that doesn’t bother us as much as the handmade fancy cards some moms make and pretend their 3-year-old did it.) We don’t see anything wrong with this, but what do you think?

Decorated School Lockers

decorated school lockers trend
Believe it or not, the boring, metal school lockers that we grew up with are now worthy of their own show on HGTV as they’re sporting shag carpet, decorated mirrors and even working chandeliers. In our opinion, all a school locker needs to be awesome is an 8 x 10 of Shaun Cassidy and a few packs of Bubble Yum, but it seems that times have changed and now parents want to give their students something unique. What do you think? Do lockers need carpet?

You’re Going to Disneyland! And We’re Telling You On Camera!

surprise disney trip videos
Why give your kid the exciting news that they’re going on a big trip in private when you can videotape it and post it on YouTube for the world to enjoy instead (especially the epic failures)? We’ve seen a lot of these videos go viral and we’re sure that Disney loves every single one of them. But we have to wonder where all of the “You’re going to the pediatrician for booster shots!?!?” videos are. Those seem like a fun idea, too.

Public Shaming

shaming children in public trend
Posting a picture of your dog on social media wearing a sign around his neck that says, “I Chew Shoes” is bad enough, but at least the dog doesn’t have access to Wi-Fi. Unlike the kids who will someday find the “hilarious” pictures their parents posted of them wearing signs that said things like “I pooped in the bathtub.” We’re guessing they won’t be laughing much. On their therapist’s couch.

Push Presents

Not too long ago, the present a woman got after going through childbirth was….a child. But now we have “push presents” where significant others are made to think they have to give the new mom a piece of jewelry to, I don’t know, reward them for their hard work? I’m not saying I wouldn’t have been happy to get a pair of earrings while recovering from my C-section, but it certainly isn’t something I expected to get. Push Presents apparently started being a thing in the early 90s, but I didn’t get the memo and was happy with the can of Diet Coke my husband brought me from the cafeteria.

Whew, finally got all of that out of my system! Now, tell us what you think about each new parenting trend. And if I forgot any, please let me know that, too. I’m still trying to escape the Dark Ages.

Photo sources: Inappropriate Elf, Gender Reveal Cupcakes, Elaborate Pregnancy Announcement, Class Valentines, Decorated School Lockers.

Published December 19, 2013. Last updated August 19, 2017.
About the Author

Wendi Aarons

Wendi Aarons is an award-winning humor writer and blogger who lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two sons. You can usually find her at

Wendi Aarons is an award-winning humor writer and blogger who lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two sons. You can usually find her at Wendi Aarons, The Mouthy Housewives or starting fistfights near the 70% off rack at Target.

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