Monday, September 17, 2012

Why Have Kids? A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness

The alarm clock is ringing and I groan as I turn over to see that 5:30 a.m. has come around all too quickly yet again. I hop out of bed and get started on my day. By the time I get my husband off to work, our 3 older children off to school and our 2 year old up and at em for the day, I check the clock and at 9 a.m. I am already exhausted. The day is filled with running errands, cleaning house, preparing meals and I finish up just in time for the kids to get off the bus, do their homework and get to one of their numerous activities for the evening. Oh, and did I mention that we have to fit supper in there somewhere too?! We get back home so I can look through a dozen papers from the school where I find myself signing my name to volunteer for various upcoming activities including baking cookies for the school musical, planning Christmas parties for my children's classrooms and coming in to listen to the little kids read. After I finish signing the rest of my month away, it's time for showers, a quick snack and hopefully bed but not until I finish up another load of laundry for the night. 

As a parent have you ever looked at the chaos around you and thought "What in the heck was I thinking?!" I have had many of those moments throughout the 10+ years and I have often felt guilty for feeling that way. I mean, my husband and I chose this life for ourselves so I am not entitled to complain or feel sorry for myself am I?  This is why I was so excited to hear about a new book called "Why Have Kids?" by Jessica Valenti.  

You don't very often pick up a book that is filled with such honest truths about parenthood. Most books make parenting, especially motherhood, out to be a glamours fairy tale and while yes, parenting does have its fairy tale moments, it also has very real challenges that most parents don't like to admit. Jessica Valenti wrote this controversial book  to spark conversation about modern parenthood and is based on scientific studies, on the ground reporting and her own experiences.  Moving beyond the black and white "mommy wars" over natural parenting, discipline and work-life balance, she explores the reality of parenting including joy, guilt and exhaustion.  

In the book she talks about how the American ideal of parenting doesn't match the reality of our lives and how that is actually hurting families and I can so relate to that! When we as parents cannot reach that level of perfection that we think is expected of us, we often feel guilty and miserable and it makes our children miserable too!  I continue to see mothers attack each other over their parenting choices and I love how Valenti talks about forming communities of action rather than communities of judgement and she encourages mothers and parents to support each other in their decision making as parents.  I think at the end of the day, we all just want to do what is best for our children and just because another mothers views are different than yours, it doesn't make either of you right or wrong. 

To keep up with Jessica, you can follow her on Twitter @ JessicaValenti and be sure to snag up a copy of this book asap! You can purchase it on Amazon right now!

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I received a copy of Why Have Kids? and compensation for my time investment and work on this campaign. 


  1. I thought my days of motherhood had past...but we now raise our grandson. It's exhausting, but worth it and we love him so much!!!

  2. This sounds like a great read. Even though it's often difficult and there is a lot of sacrifice...having children is the best thing in the world.

  3. This sounds like a great book. I have 13 years of parenting and 4 kids. I have to remind myself frequently not to be disgruntled when I see other people running and doing and I am tied home or to school errands. However, I can't imagine NOT being a mom. I have been one my whole adult life!

  4. Many may think we are all crazy with all that we give up to have kids. And all the horrible thing we go through like pregnancy, child birth, terrible twos, no longer quiet nights at home, romantic getaways at a drop of a hat. Sure we give up a lot, but we get so much more in return. These kids make us better. They make life complete.

    This book sounds like quite an interesting read. I'd love to check it out.

  5. I had a single friend say once to me on facebook - "well you chose to have kids." I think single people just don't get it. Parenting is an exhausting job and we complain sometimes. But it is also the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It sounds like this book would be a great read!


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