Comments: Time to Ratchet Down the Expectations

If mothers think they have it bad because "society doesn't help them," they ought to try being a single father in the late '70s, the way my dad was forced to be when my mom decided she wasn't up to the whole parenting thing. No one did a damn thing to help him. He managed. My sister and I turned out okay (well, I did, anyway--jury may still be out on my sister).

Now, though, things are quite different. Parents get all kinds of breaks at work -- time off for school-related issues, sick time for caring for sick kids, etc. Nobody thinks anything of a parent taking off early for a soccer game, or to pick a kid up from school, or whatever. After all, there's all kinds of childless, single people upon which to heap the work that the parents choose not to do. Parents get extra tax credits, deductions for all kinds of things, and so on. I think that part of the problem is that a lot of the shallow, whiny people of our generation are becoming whiny, shallow parents for whom children are accessories or status symbols. They have a few seconds of unprotected sex, and then expect the universe to revolve around them and the products of their union.

Posted by Geoff Brown at February 18, 2005 11:07 AM

Hi Geoff --

Well, for those parents' sakes, I hope the act lasted longer than a few seconds!

But you make a lot of good points and that's why this article is so downright odd. I don't mind giving parents a break, because it IS a good thing to encourage reproduction of the species, etc. But when you're single and childless and don't itemize, and as such pay taxes up the wazoo so Middle-Class Working Families can get an extra grand per kid each year, it's rather aggravating to hear this whining about lack of support -- especially because the charge is so ludicrous.

But I don't think this article is representative of our generation (who grew up in the Eighties) either. We are, after all, angry and cynical and embittered young people; and as such, we do a pretty good job of shouldering our own burdens. And given the general reaction from folks who grew up in the Sixties and Seventies, it doesn't seem representative of them either.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at February 18, 2005 11:33 AM

Well, with six billion people in the world, I don't think the human race is in any danger if some of us decided to lay off on the reproduction for a while. But that's far off my point, anyway, and you and I seem to be on the same page with the "stop the damn whining you ungrateful bastards!" thing.

I also disagree with you on your characterization of our generation. Certainly, you and I, and several people we know, are angry, cynical, embittered people who work hard and shoulder our own burdens, but I have a very hard time accepting that that is typical of our generation.

Posted by Geoff Brown at February 18, 2005 01:48 PM