Well readhead: Everyone’s talking about parenting
There’s been some buzz around a recent article in New York magazine titled: ‘All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting’. The cover of the publication shows a mother holding her baby with the cover line ‘I Love My Children. I Hate My Life’.
The author Jennifer Senior (a mother herself) explores a wide range of research on parenting and reports that it overwhelmingly supports the view that parents are not happier than their childless peers, and in many cases, are less so.
She writes about the changing views of childhood in Western society, arguing that before urbanisation, children delivered their parents an economic advantage that’s no longer evident:
‘If you had a farm, they toiled alongside you to maintain its upkeep; if you had a family business, the kids helped mind the store. But … as we gained in prosperity, childhood came increasingly to be viewed as a protected, privileged time, and once college degrees became essential to getting ahead, children became not only a great expense but subjects to be sculpted, stimulated, instructed, groomed … kids in short went from being our staffs to being our bosses.’
Unsurprisingly, the article’s been controversial. The Atlantic’s response was titled ‘Parenting Makes People Miserable. What Else is New?’ In the blogosphere, some writers asked why all the happy parents aren’t speaking up. Christian bloggers argued the original article was an alarming sign of the times. In response to some other recent articles about the downsides of parenting, Australian blogger Mia Freedman invited her readers to share what they love about having children.
It’s an interesting debate, worth a look, and it features in this fortnight’s list of ten things to read, watch or listen to:
The article from New York where it started: ‘All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting’
For a sample of reaction outside the mainstream media, try Mama Drama, The Cross Timbers Gazette and Mia Freedman’s blog Mama Mia. Julia Baird in Newsweek argues that women should stop fretting about what makes a ‘good’ mother.
This New York Times story about a gravely wounded soldier and his family is one of the best pieces of journalism I’ve read all year. If you only read one thing here today, choose this. (via @mfullilove on twitter)
Here’s what happens when you ask a graphic designer to come up with a poster for your missing cat.
The singer, Jewell, goes undercover at a karaoke bar. See how the crowd reacts to the nerdy looking ‘Karen’.
If you watch The Gruen Transfer, you would have seen this award-winning advertisement for Old Spice. The company has taken the campaign to a new level, showing sophisticated understanding of social media by having the Old Spice Man respond via video to individual comments and questions on twitter and facebook. The blog Mumbrella has a great summary. One of the funniest answers went to the American political journalist, George Stephanopoulos, who asked if the Old Spice Man had any advice for the White House.
Reason Magazine fact checks the highly influential Fox News commentator Glenn Beck and finds him lacking.
A fascinating piece by my colleague Mark Colvin (@colvinius on twitter) about the effect the internet is having on our lives and brains. HYPERLINK ““http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/07/2946631.htm?site=thedrum
Mark Twain wanted his autobiography published 100 years after his death. It’s about to come out.
- Leigh Sales anchors Lateline on ABC1 and is on twitter @leighsales
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