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All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern…
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All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood (original 2014; edition 2014)

by Jennifer Senior

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2701442,050 (3.88)18
Member:madharasan
Title:All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood
Authors:Jennifer Senior
Info:Ecco (2014), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Finished Reading
Rating:***
Tags:Philosophy, Psychology, Research, Kindle

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All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior (2014)

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» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I’m working on a book right now about how those of us without children can relate to our friends with kids. I don’t have kids and I won’t be having kids, so most of what I know about kids comes from watching my friends raising their own.

But I live in the world, and I see so much out there about the best ways to parent. It seems overwhelming, but it also seems to almost always be focused on what the parents do and how that impacts the children. Other than the occasional “are parents happier than non-parents?” studies, nothing (until now) has focused on what parenting does to the parents.

This book is a fascinating treasure trove for those of us without kids. Ms. Senior (a parent herself) spent time with parents, read loads of studies, and consulted with the experts before putting together this long but extremely quick read. She covers autonomy, marriage, the joys and challenges of raising small children, the (new?) trend of scheduling and planning all of a child’s free time, and the special hell that is adolescence.

One thing I appreciated from this book is that (with one tiny, and likely unintentional exception) Ms. Senior doesn’t spend time comparing parents to non-parents in any way that suggests one life choice is better than the other. I also liked that Ms. Senior was also very straightforward about the limitations of this book – it does not address very poor or very rich families; it is focused on studying middle class families.

Another great component of this book is Ms. Senior’s way of weaving the history of parenthood into the narrative. So many things that seem ‘common sense’ or ‘parental intuition’ are pretty new to parenthood! But the best parts are the families she interviews and how she includes their stories. She does this seamlessly without interrupting the flow of the book.

Obviously as someone without kids I can’t speak to whether parents themselves will enjoy this book. They might find it hits way too close to home, they might angrily disagree, or they might find relief in knowing their experiences are not unique. But I’d love to hear a parent’s perspective on this one! ( )
1 vote ASKelmore | Jul 9, 2017 |
Nothing surprising here. Just a lot of stories and interviews. Conclusion: Being a parent is a lot of hard work, A LOT OF HARD WORK, but the reward is being a parent. ( )
  2wonderY | May 15, 2015 |
This book is a nice summary of the effects of having children on modern parents. I had children in the 1980's and found much of what she discusses to be true. The newer information came at the end, regarding the effects of mobile technology on the relationships between parents and children. The book is thoughtful, well written and a good comprehensive look at the pluses and minuses of the presence of children in our lives. ( )
  peggybr | Mar 25, 2015 |
2. All Joy and No Fun : The Paradox of Modern Parenthood (Audio) by Jennifer Senior, read by the author (2014, 8:20, 320 pages in paperback, read Dec 18 - Jan 4)

Senior writes about what parenting does to parents. She starts off by bringing up the research showing that adults without children are happier than parents. Then she looks into why, at every age of the childhood. The introduction was fascinating and I loved every chapter in this book.

Had I not waited so long to review this, I would have gone on in more detail about things, like how there is no set cultural pattern in the US for how Dad's should act as parents today, so their are no expectations, while Mom's are tortured by the guilt of unrealistic expectations. But, I did wait too long and all that stuff has faded from the enthusiastic context I had it in. Too bad, this as a great book.

Anyway, I was entertained that she chose to come to Houston, my home town, specifically to study families with young, preadolescent children... because we Houstonians are so obsessed with after-school activities.

Senior runs (or is part of?) and early childhood group in Minneapolis. She is is a public speaker and a terrific reader.

Highly recommended to parents, and on audio. ( )
1 vote dchaikin | Jan 29, 2015 |
Read from November 12 to 15, 2014

I'm hours away from giving birth to my first child. I'm (naturally) terrified of the "forever-ness" of the decision we made to have a baby. This book did little to help me get over the fear of forever being responsible for another life, but it was reassuring to read about the other parents. I found the glimpses into the lives of the parents fascinating and would've liked to read about more parents being parents.

The data and statistics on what happens to marriages after a child is scary...so I'm trying to just ignore it. Jesse is most likely tired of me asking him for reassurance that we'll still be solid after having a baby. I've also asked more than once how we'll divide household chores (I'll be honest...he does most of them now). But these are good conversations to have!

An interesting read for anyone with kids of any age -- or anyone even considering having them! ( )
  melissarochelle | Dec 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Senior’s book explores the effects of children on parents—particularly, based on the bulk of her interviews and research, mothers. [...] Senior ... turns childrearing literature on its head by writing about the role children play in their parents’ lives. [...] Senior emphasizes that delayed child-bearing and family planning mean that today’s parents can focus on their children in ways they didn’t, and couldn’t, before.
added by elenchus | editslate.com, Aileen Gallagher (Feb 3, 2014)
 
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There's the parenting life of our fantasies, and there's the parenting life of our banal, on-the-ground realities.
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Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. In asking, what are the effects of children on their parents, journalist Jennifer Senior analyzes the many ways in which children reshape their parents' lives, whether it's their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self. She argues that changes in the last half century have radically altered the roles of today's mothers and fathers, making their mandates at once more complex and far less clear. Recruiting from a wide variety of sources, she dissects both the timeless strains of parenting and the ones that are brand new, and then brings her research to life in the homes of ordinary parents around the country. She makes us reconsider some of our culture's most basic beliefs about parenthood, all while illuminating the profound ways children deepen and add purpose to our lives. By focusing on parentHOOD, rather than parentING, the book is original and essential reading for mothers and fathers of today--and tomorrow.--From publisher description. Drawing on a vast array of sources in history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology, a journalist challenges basic beliefs about parenthood, while revealing the profound ways children deepen and add purpose to life.… (more)

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