Parents Who Hate Parenting

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.

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About Dr. J

I am Professor of Humanities at Faulkner University, where I chair the Department of Humanities and direct online M.A. and Ph.D. programs based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy and a member of the faculty at Liberty Classroom.
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3 Responses to Parents Who Hate Parenting

  1. Vickie says:

    One of the numerous thoughts running through my head as I read the article was that these people probably hate parenting so much because they look at it as a part-time job, or as just one small part of their jam-packed lives. If mothers are working outside the home, only seeing their children at supper time, and still trying to act like childless people during all other parts of the days, it is no wonder all they feel is frustration. Children require so much more more attention than it seems a lot of people are willing to give them. Without a sufficient quantity of time devoted to them, the quality of time spent together means very little. A great sadness has come upon our nation now that children have become a burden rather than a joy, and the only remedy is a change of heart on the part of parents. But truly this is not a new problem, as we read from the book of the prophet Malachi: “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

  2. Rachel Wishum says:

    I actually read that same article yesterday. I’m not a parent yet, so I don’t know much, but even I could tell it was a terrible article, and that it encouraged a great deal of selfishness. A lot of the articles I read about relationships of any kind these days (if they are from secular sources) seem to push people to be more selfish. Funny thing, even in just my own experience, when I’m giving in to selfishness, I feel much less happy. Perhaps they have a different definition of happy, one that involves, “getting everything I want” rather than, “having satisfaction and gratitude for the good things I’ve been given.”

  3. Dare Right says:

    Great post!
    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how many parents don’t want to parent their kids. They send their kids off to school to have the school system teach their kids everything they “need” to know about the world. What ever happened to parents teaching their kids the ways of the world? I can’t stand the self-absorption of parents today. Thank goodness for people like you and your wife!

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