For this activity I want you to write about your own expectations and experience, or a friend or family member’s expectations and experience, of having kids. (If you are a parent, then you can write this from your own experience. If you are not a parent, then please interview at least one friend or family member.)
Step 1: Answer or ask these questions:
• What has been the biggest surprise about being a parent?
• What expectations did you have about parenthood that did not come true?
• What is the hardest part about being a parent?
• Are you happier now than you were before you had kids?
• What is one thing you would tell a woman considering having a child?
Step 2: Write a learning activity in which you present the response to the questions above and then analyze these responses in the context of Valenti’s arguments in Why Have Kids?
To get a better understanding of the expectations for this assignment, please review the rubric. Be sure that when writing your response (at least 2 pages) that you include at least three specific, cited references to the unit’s readings. This means citing page numbers parenthetically when you make reference to them.
In Why Have Kids? Jessica Valenti explores the twofold societal expectations that 1) all women should have kids and 2) kids will make you happy. She unpacks the assumptions about gender and women’s roles that lead to the first while deftly arguing against the second.
Valenti explores what she argues are the dominant myths of the contemporary world of parenting: women are the “natural” parent; breastfeeding is always best for a child; that children are always better off at home (rather than daycare); that being a mom is “the hardest job in the world”; and that mothers have natural instincts that are always right. She also explores the harsh reality of motherhood in our contemporary world, including the realities of trying to work-while-mothering, the punitive laws that treat pregnant women and mothers as second-class citizens, and the experiences of women who either give up their children or choose to not have children.
Ultimately, Valenti asks us to critically consider much of what we simply take for granted about being a parent and, specifically, a mother in our contemporary world.
• Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness. Jessica Valenti
(you can find this book on google book)