By Brandie Weikle
In the pretty damn good camp: an evolved societal expectation that dads should do their share. Loads of choice about which careers to pursue or whether to pursue them at all, and a least a faint hope of access to a part-time or flexible work arrangement (thank you, BlackBerry). Universal health care, a year-long parental leave, attractive maternity wear and nary a wringer washing machine in sight.
And from the how-much-more-stressed-can-we-be school? There’s the pressure to be all things to all people — mother, spouse, worker, daughter, fundraising-committee member — and the feeling that we’re doing everything half-assed. The way our newfound work flexibility leaves us free to be at least partly on the job and wired around the clock (damn you, BlackBerry). The angst we feel about making that choice to work or not. (Leaving someone else to raise our kids while we go off to work? Letting down the sisterhood if we don’t?) Laundry at 11 p.m.
In many ways, there has never been a better, more convenient, more attractive era to be a parent — at least if you’re middle class and can procure all manner of Bugaboos and baby-wipe warmers and buffalo mozzarella. But it’s also true that the explosion of available choices and information (Sears versus Weissbluth? Waldorf versus Montessori?) also makes us feel that we must stay on top of so much. That means we may feel compelled to micromanage our child’s emotional development/immune system/omega-3 intake/education, while on some level we know that it’s more than a little ridiculous to try. Or that while we loath the mom who brags that her two-year-old can name all the provinces, we wonder — just for a second — why we didn’t think to put a globe in the nursery.
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