In Why Have Kids?, Valenti explores these controversial questions through on-the-ground reporting, startling new research, and her own unique experiences as a mom. She moves beyond the black and white “mommy wars” over natural parenting, discipline, and work-life balance to explore a more nuanced reality: one filled with ambivalence, joy, guilt, and exhaustion.
Would-be parents must navigate the decision to have children amidst a daunting combination of cultural expectations and hard facts. And new parents find themselves struggling to reconcile their elation with the often exhausting, confusing, and expensive business of child care. When researchers for a 2010 Pew study asked parents why they decided to have their first child, nearly 90 percent answered, for “the joy of having children”. Yet nearly every study in the last 10 years shows a marked decline in the life satisfaction of those with kids. Valenti explores this disconnect between parents’ hopes and the day-to-day reality of raising children - revealing all the ways mothers and fathers are quietly struggling. A must-listen for parents as well as those considering starting a family, Why Have Kids? is an explosive addition to the conversation about modern parenthood.
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Useful for Parents, Parents-To-Be, & Non-Parents
As a woman who will one day have kids, I'm very appreciative of this book. I truly enjoy my job and spent years trying to find something substantial that I'd actually want to get an education in. So, I'd hate to think that I have to put my doctorate aside because my future toddler is having a hard time with potty training.
Undoubtedly, my future child will mean the world to me simply because they will be my child, but I now feel and will feel great joy from the career I also have dedicated myself to. Though it's an entirely different types of joy, there's no reason why we can't experience both.
The narrator did just fine, but she sounded more like she was giving a lecture, and I couldn't help but think that there were parts where Ms. Valenti was attempting to sound sarcastic or even playful which didn't translate with Ms. Beresford's more straightforward tone. Even still, her performance was pleasant and relaxing for a long commute home.
More Accurate Title "Wished I Didn't Have Kids"
Emily Beresford, yes. Jessica Valenti, possibly. Ms. Beresford did a great job expressing the passionate tone that Ms. Valenti keeps throughout the book. Even though I think Ms. Valenti is a very talented and intelligent author, I tended to disagree with a majority of her points about the role of a mother. I would imagine that any other book would have the same political party drive, in which I would appreciate her well supported points, but disagree in the end.
Mostly annoyance. I felt like she was proposing mothers are entitled to a life away from her children, after they have them. She seemed to complain a lot, generalizing all men as worthless and irresponsible, and exhausting the point that raising children doesn't always lead to happiness.
With all the negative comments listed above, I must say that a book like this is good to read once in a while. To listen to someone you don't agree with - and might I add, one who has done their homework - can only be beneficial, but you must be able to withstand the complaining.
I'd imagine most men would NOT enjoy reading this book and most women with hopes of a beautiful motherhood will only find their experience tarnished. I believe this book will make certain mothers hesitate to enjoy and second guess the truly good times of motherhood. Perhaps it may help mothers that are struggling to fight their urge of believing their child will make them happy all the time, but anyone who has sat in a plane with a crying kid next to them realizes children aren't angels...or a multitude of examples that kid's can drive you crazy...even as a bystander.
I think the average mother is more keen on the expectations of motherhood than the author gives them credit.