Book Review: All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior

Author: Jennifer Senior
TitleAll Joy and No Fun
Narrator: Jennifer Senior
Publication Info:
ISBN: 9781482991376

This book explores the issues of modern parenting (at least for white, middle class Americans) where the expectations of what a parent can and should do seem to be out of line with the past and with reality.  One illustration of the shift in recent generations is the change of term from “housewife” (someone who manages the house) to “stay at home mom” (someone who manages the children).  And over that same time mothers are spending more hours working and more hours with their children.  The challenge of balancing so many responsibilities contributes to grave stresses, yet paradoxically there is much joy in experiencing the children’s development.  The book is illustrated with interviews and observations with a variety of parents

Favorite Passages:

“Our experiencing selves tell researchers that we prefer doing the dishes — or napping, or shopping, or answering emails — to spending time with our kids. . . . But our remembering selves tell researchers that no one — and nothing — provides us with so much joy as our children. It may not be the happiness we live day to day, but it’s the happiness we think about, the happiness we summon and remember, the stuff that makes up our life-tales.”

Recommended books: Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy
Rating: ***

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