Why Have Kids?

Why Have Kids?

A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness

Book - 2012
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If parenting is making Americans unhappy, if it's impossible to "have it all," if people don't have the economic, social, or political structures needed to support child rearing, then why do it? And why are anxious new parents flocking to every Tiger Mother and B#65533;b#65533;-raiser for advice on how to raise kids?

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 ten 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-read for parents as well as those considering starting a family, Why Have Kids? is an explosive addition to the conversation about modern parenthood.

Publisher: Boston : New Harvest, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
ISBN: 9780547892610
Branch Call Number: 306.8743
Characteristics: xx, 178 pages ;,22 cm


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Dec 21, 2015

This book just seemed to me a collection of low-hanging fruit. Nothing new or original here, just anecdotes you've already heard and trials you've already thought of.

Mar 23, 2015

This book should have been titled “why you shouldn’t have kids” the author presents a singled sided argument revolving around modern parents failures, there is absolutely no positive data presented to support having a kid in this book. There was little discovery of "the truth” it’s ultimately the authors very narrow version of her truth, seen through her lens of a singular negative pregnancy, birth and motherhood experience. She repeated her own personal story of her “traumatic” birthing experience several times thought the book, whoever proof read this should have really fixed that, the book itself was not very long so how many times do I need to re-read this woman’s personal birth story? The authors message is gift wrapped in a “I am a feminist” so therefor I speak for the good of all woman package, as if those of us who actually enjoy being parents or gasp enjoy being at home moms have sold out to “the man”.

May 20, 2013

Any parent asks themselves this at some point. An interesting read which challenges many uncomforatble assumptions about becoming a parent, being a parent and whether or not its actually a good thing. Well written, evokes reflection and identification that you are not alone.

May 17, 2013

I enjoyed this book. Though it wasn't as in-depth as I thought (or was hoping) it would be, I think that Jessica Valenti does ask some questions about modern parenting that would likely provoke and raise the ire of many parents today.

As one commenter pointed out, it does sound like a bit of a blog post. However, I don't think it's entirely a bad thing, either. The book does draw fair examples about the absurdity of parenting today. I wasn't surprised by anything here (I'm already in the no-kids boat), but I have certainly experienced a lot of the attitudes alluded to here as a result of my choices.

I feel that maybe if the book hadn't been named Why Have Kids?, it may have instilled a different tone in the reader. All in all, however it's a great read for non-parents - and parents - alike.

ksoles Jan 10, 2013

In "Why Have Kids?," feminist Jessica Valenti explores why people choose parenthood, how society portrays the parenting experience and what happens when the reality doesn't mesh with the fairy tale. She addresses her topic from cultural, personal and historical perspectives and wades into the moral and logistical problems facing mothers today.

Valenti states early on that she wants her book to incite anger and discussion. In this venture she succeeds, mostly by offering her own opinions on controversial issues such as breastfeeding, maternity leave and gender roles. Unfortunately, however, this book ultimately reads as a summary of ground that others have already covered exhaustively. Brief and shallow with a timid thesis and half-hearted anecdotes, "Why have kids" feels like an extensive blog post. Valenti reaches most of her conclusions through contested or unsupported "facts" and she seems neither informed nor passionate about her subject. Perhaps she wrote it more out of material opportunity than parental love.

Nov 05, 2012

I can’t say it any better than these reviewers did – a must read.

“This timely volume, which should generate much controversy, is a call for much-needed change and may unite a new generation of moms.” –Publishers Weekly

“Timely…[Valenti] states early on that her book is meant to anger people and incite discussions…She wades deeply into the moral and logistical problems facing mothers, with interviews, research and her own anecdotal experiences.” –Kirkus Reviews

“For mothers like Valenti, who felt guilty admitting impatience at the drudgery and boredom that constitutes much of parenting, this book may be a revelation. And a comfort.” – People Magazine


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