Sunday, December 30, 2012

Why Have Kids? A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness by Jessica Valenti

"This is a book about how the American ideal of parenting doesn't match the reality of our lives, and how that incompatibility is hurting parents and children. Because the expectation of a certain kind of parenthood - one where we're perfect mothers who have perfect partners, where our biggest worry is whether or not to use cloth diapers - makes the real thing much more difficult to bear." --Jessica Valenti

In her introduction, the author warns that "this book will likely make you angry." She tackles myths about parenting (children make you happy, mothering is the 'hardest job in the world,' women are the natural parent) in order to provide more realistic expectations about parenting. She argues that being real about what parenting is like will then open up the discussion about to how to make parenting easier and how to provide more support to parents.

This book was made much more interesting by the fact that the author is a mother herself and she doesn't shy away at all from talking about how challenging it is. It's really nice to hear a more realistic portrayal of parenthood.

A quick read and also quite fascinating as she cites studies and articles about parenthood. However, the very last chapter entitled "Why have kids?" was disappointingly the weakest one. It's like she ran out of steam. Anyway, I think this would make interesting reading for parents and non-parents alike, or people thinking about having kids.


Sandra said...

That looks like a very interesting book. I think that there is a lot of glorification of parenting and so much comparing regarding parenting.

Elaine said...

Thanks, Sandra. I appreciate it when parents are really honest about what raising kids is like.