The parenting style that unites us all
HOW would you describe your parenting style? Personally I'm a bit of a bulldozer-helicopter hybrid with a touch of free range - but only on the weekends.
Now there's a new genre of parenting and, like a Frank Zappa record, I'm not really sure where I fit in. It's called concierge parenting and it's so fresh it was coined by a Sydney school principal just this month.
Julie Townsend, of St Catherine's School in Waverley, told The SMH she's come across a modern breed of parent who can get you tickets to all sold-out shows and even find you a fixer when you finally get that "dirty" weekend away and end up pulling your back out and spilling red wine all over the carpet in the first 10 minutes. I made that up. It was actually seven minutes, but who's counting when you're having so much fun?
Concierge parenting actually has nothing to do with people at hotels that insist on annotating old-school maps when you ask for directions to the closest convenience store. Hint: it's around the corner. It's also got nothing to do with that awful early-90s rom-com starring Michael J Fox.
Concierge parenting is about parents who are always there, waiting at that tiny desk - either metaphorically or IRL at the school office - to solve all their kids problems. Did they forget to do their maths homework? No dramas. The concierge parent will just swoop in and make sure the maths teacher goes on a "very very long and permanent holiday without any phone reception".
Did they miss out on the lead role in their school play despite being, objectively speaking, the greatest triple-threat since Hugh Jackman first strapped on a pair of suspenders and sang Bring Him Home?
Never fear. Concierge Dad is here to slip Ms Metcalf a couple pineapples so justice can be served.
If you think concierge parenting is starting to sound like organised crime, you're not far off. However, "experts" will claim it's closer to snowplow parenting, which refers to parents who like to make life slightly easier for their children by clearing away obstacles in an increasingly complicated world. Sounds pretty horrible, hey?
Then there's lawnmower parenting which is kinda like snowplow parenting but you end up cutting someone else's grass.
Some people think all these categories are overkill but perhaps a few more should be added to the canon to really express the broad Kinsey-esque spectrum of being a parent in 2019.
Blinkered parenting is when you're ambivalent about everything else except keeping your kids happy and alive.
Netflix parenting is when you hand over the child-rearing reins to a streaming service and pray that Barbie: Life In The Dreamhouse will help them navigate the world.
IDGAF parenting is when it's 9pm and your kid hasn't done their homework but you really want to finish that 17-part true crime doco so you just sign the damn book anyway and hope they don't get caught out.
Caffeinated parenting is when you're so jacked on lattes you can't focus properly and end up putting a full tub of margarine in your kids' school lunch.
But there's one category that unites all parents - whether you're a concierge, a snowplow, a snowflake, a helicopter or just a regular average Jane or Joe.
It's called imposter parenting and it's the universal truth that we're making this all up as we go along.
Darren Levin is a RendezView columnist.