Parenting: All Joy, No Fun?

9780062072221_custom-3ad0830c9e5840ec040960b6d50a8049e48fcc91-s2-c85During a recent trip through our Western New York frozen winter wonderland I had the radio on and I was able to catch part of an author interview on my local NPR station.  The @ 40 minute segment was on the Fresh Air program and was titled “Are We Having Fun Yet? New Book Explores The Paradox Of Parenting“.  I only caught a portion of the show but the parts I caught were pretty thought provoking.  As stated on the NPR summary of the interview with Jennifer Senior:

In her new book, Senior writes about how about children change the lives of their parents — for better and sometimes for worse. ‘All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood‘ considers the impact of children on marriage, sex, work, friendships and one’s sense of self. Senior draws on a wide variety of studies, surveys and histories, as well as her own interviews with parents.

Topics discussed in the interview included:

  • Defining the Role of Parents Today
  • Housewives vs. Stay-At-Home Mom
  • Teaching Happiness
  • “Drone” vs. “Helicopter” Parenting
  • The Correlation Between Parental Happiness & Government-Subsidized Social Services

I did not listen to the entire show yet, nor have I read the book but the portions I did catch were intriguing.  I love history and Ms. Senior discusses the history of parenting and how it changed dramatically when child labor became frowned upon in most developed countries during the progressive era between 1890 and 1920. She also shows some depth to her book by citing research done by sociologists, anthropologists, educators and other social scientists.

Listening I had a few ‘aha’s!’, a couple of ‘hummms?’ and a point or two of contention.  To me that adds up to something I should explore more as I continue to learn this parenting thing!  I also thought it something our readers might want to explore more.



Filed under Parenting

2 responses to “Parenting: All Joy, No Fun?

  1. Two things come to mind when I heard this (and it’s not the first time). One – as with everything else in life, it is what you make it, even at its worst. And two – it may depend on when you have them. For instance, my husband and I had ours very young, before we had careers, social lives, or even our own furniture. Meaning, we lost nothing in the process, only gained. One might say that’s backwards, you want to be “set” first, but being “set” seems to be what’s causing so many parents distress. It disrupts what they’ve had for so long. Sleep, money, parties, careers, a clean car and sofa. We had nothing to lose. And *now* as the boys get older, we are getting “set”.

    Not claiming this is the same for everyone, but I do notice this trend.

  2. I had my three boys after we were ‘set’ and we love it. I love being at home, the boys love our stories of travelling before they were born and we live each day.

    I think what parenting comes down to is one thing, ‘expectations’. My husband and I expected to be tired, to grow, to embrace change and vomit.

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