My wife is a stay-at-home mom who is always on the lookout for interesting articles on parenting and the like. Yesterday she forwarded this humdinger to me with the comment: “This has got to be the absolute worst article on parenting I’ve ever read.”
After looking it over, I understand what she means. The article discusses why parents are–and allegedly should be–miserable, and implies that if you think parenting is worth it, you are a Pollyanna out of touch with reality. Then there’s a halfhearted defense of the choice to become a parent: part of being human is making choices that aren’t completely rational.
With friends like these . . .
This article tells me much more about the self-absorption of the postmodern West than it does about parenting. In a culture where everyone thinks he has the right to be happy–a concept C.S. Lewis likens to the “right” to be six feet tall–and where happiness is seen as stemming from self-indulgence, “following your heart,” “self-actualizing,” and the like, then of course parenting will inevitably come to be seen as a drag. It involves getting outside yourself and making numerous sacrifices. Why, you can’t eat out nearly as much or go to as many movies. And you may not be able to live in the trendiest ZIP codes.
What this culture needs is a lot less “me” and a lot more Thomas Aquinas. Happiness is the result of fulfilling our purpose, and to fulfill our purpose we must first discern it. The 21st-century West has largely forgotten both of these things.