Remember when your babies were newborns and you had that moment of “what on earth am I doing with a BABY?! What was I thinking?! I don’t have a clue what to do with this little human!?”
Well, NBC is filming it all – freakouts, tears, panic, joy and relief – as six teenaged couples tackle parenting with borrowed babies in the new reality TV show The Baby Borrowers. These couples are all 18 and older, so they are barely teenagers and in established relationships with their partners.
The babies – the poor babies – have been loaned by willing parents who can watch the happenings from live video feed in a neighboring house. I’m not entirely clear why anyone would loan their baby to strangers, but these folks did.
My colleagues at the National Parent Education Network are understandably very worried about these babies being cared for by strangers (don’t worry, there’s an unfamiliar “professional nanny” lurking in the back ground and the parents can come intervene at a moment’s notice). And the babies are very distressed, there is no doubt about that.
I wonder if the ends justify the means.
Most of the teens think they can handle the rigors of a baby. They are excited to try practice parenting and are looking forward to feeling closer to their partners and exploring what it might be like “someday” with their own babies.
Interestingly, some of the teens fall apart within the first 24-48 hours before the baby shows up. Once the baby makes the scene all of the couples are clearly under duress – they really don’t know what they are doing – and any cockiness has completely disappeared.
“Parenting” is clearly way more difficult than these kids had imagined and by the time the babies are put to bed – most asleep in their care givers arms – the teens have had it.
They are exhausted, punchy, crabby and stressed. I’d bet every one of them would give it up and go back to their real lives in a heartbeat.
They’ve had the babies for 12 hours.
This show is a walking, talking teachable moment. Any parent who has kids 12 and older should watch at least one episode so their kids can see what it’s like to be fully responsible for a baby.
Then, as a family, a conversation should follow about what their kids’ plans for the future hold, what their goals are and how they can make their dreams happen.
Anyone can make a baby. It takes significantly more work to be a parent.