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All Joy and no Fun

The Paradox of Modern Parenthood

By Jennifer Senior
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  • Contains 7 key ideas
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All Joy and no Fun by Jennifer Senior

All Joy and No Fun (2014) is a book about the trials and tribulations of raising kids. Senior examines the challenges of parenting while keeping us cognizant of the pleasures and rewards that come with it.

Key idea 1 of 7

Being a parent is a challenging undertaking; knowing what’s in store, and how to handle it, helps a lot.

Those of us who plan to have children in the near future have a pretty good sense of what it’s going to take, right?

Well, not so fast.

No matter how many baby books you’ve trawled for advice, no matter how many parenting gurus you’ve consulted, you will never be fully prepared to have a child.

For example, you may think you know all the ins and outs of childcare, but there is far more to it than you likely realize. Yes, you know you’ll be sleep-deprived and expected to change dirty diapers – but you’ll have other concerns, too.

For starters, today's parents are burdened with a crippling desire to be perfect. This stems from a surfeit of choice; parents get to choose the number of children they want, when they want have them, what kind of birth they want, how they want to parent them. The baby’s gender is about the only thing left to chance.

You might be thinking, “That’s great!” But, actually, too many options create pressure to do everything exactly right.

Parents want to impress others with the way they raise their family and so feel stressed when they can’t quite live up to their own ideals.

The role of children in the home and in society is changing, too.

Childrearing involves more work than ever before: we haul them to soccer practice and music lessons and all the other extracurricular activities that are often expected of them – and then have to pick them up afterward!

Modern parents usually need more time and money than their parents did. It’s no surprise that stress and exhaustion are common.

The following blinks shed some light on the most challenging aspects of modern parenthood. It should be kept in mind, though, that the advice below applies largely to the US middle-class not to the poor or the elite.

So start off by taking a look at the first difficulty faced by most new parents.

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