On Sunday, I eagerly started reading Brigid Schulte’s opinion piece in the Washington Post because of its headline “What’s so bad about American Parents?” Finally, I thought, finally, someone has come to their senses and realizes that our cultural habit of trashing all things parenting is ineffective and doesn’t help anyone. Beginning with the tired parents who could use a little pick-me-up beyond their morning coffee. Instead, what did Schulte do? She trashed American parents. Why I allowed myself to be surprised by this might be what frustrates me the most. It has now become sport between the media and the latest parenting guru/author to dismantle anything good that American parents might do and instead over-analyze it all. My other favorite tactic, willfully deployed by Pamela Druckerman and now it seems the Post Outlook section, is to make wide-sweeping claims about the bad habits of American parents in our child-centric culture.
So – for my brutally honest reaction to Schulte’s piece and my questions on if these parents who are so bad at parenting – and really do so many things wrong – really exist – please read my latest on HuffPost DC. I don’t know about you, but I really think we do a lot right. And I’m growing so tired of hearing about everything we do wrong. Also – Schulte had a platform to explore critically important issues facing working parents – the increasing reality that fathers, not just mothers, struggle with work life choices and a chance to question whether our business culture is ready to tolerate workplace flexibility – and she didn’t do it. I truly believe that until we frame work-life choices as a societal issue, not just a woman’s issue or a mother’s issue, then it won’t be taken seriously. Wash Post Sunday Outlook section is a grand place to start that discussion. Talk about a missed opportunity.
Also – spoiler alert – I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t like to play but I still think I’m a good parent. In other words – I do set boundaries with my kids, I do say no to them, and I am know I am not alone in this….and I don’t feel guilty about it.