Author misses point on parenting

Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 04:04 PM.

There generally isn’t a simple or single answer with any issue as much as we’d like one. And we’re not going to solve complex problems in a single 300-page book, let alone a 750-word opinion column like this one.

Take parenting for instance. The title of the new book by New York Magazine contributing Editor Jennifer Senior entitled “All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood” (Ecco/Harper-Collins Publishers) implies parenting is supposed to be “fun” or was more “fun” in the past. Whoever said parenting was supposed to be fun as Collins implies?

Fun or not, parenting is hard work. While there certainly can be and often are glimpses of fun enjoyed by parents, “fun” was not intended to, is not, nor should it be a word associated with parenthood.

Instead, words that should be tied to raising kids are words we use far too little today in every aspect of our lives, let alone parenting, including: sacrifice, obligation, honor, devotion, duty, responsibility, prayer, patience and accountability.

But too few of us associate these “un-fun” words with parenting anymore. This fact is one reason modern parenting is more difficult then parenting in the past. Our expectations have changed unreasonably from selflessness to self.

Some other reasons? One is our growing addiction for instant gratification fueled by the availability of instant information at our fingertips from the web. If it doesn’t happen NOW, we’re not happy. Except for poopy diapers and rolling eyes, little happens instantly in raising kids. There’s no app for that.

Another reason is access to, and our irrational interest in, information about celebrities, entertainers, and those famous for being famous — those that live these (so-called) excellent lives — lives to which we compare our own apparently less excellent lives. They, the elite, pampered with nannies, private schools, accommodating work schedules, money to burn, and beautiful, perfect kids fashionably dressed in Baby Gap. We burdened with — well  — snotty-nosed, ungrateful kids in mismatched Wal-Mart socks who take up too much of our valuable time from work and hold us back from fun, career success, you name it.

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