All joy and no fun: Jennifer Senior explores the ups and downs of parenthood

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All parents love a good whinge. It’s one of the chief benefits of membership in the world’s least exclusive club. And who can blame us? According to the latest Australian time use data, having a child in the home involves an extra 48.5 hours of work per week, to be shared by mum and dad. For a middle-income family, the average cost of raising two children to adulthood is $812,000 – about 50 per cent more than it was just six years ago.

Jennifer Senior’s new book, All Joy and No Fun, backs up those moans with social science. The hit of the season with New York’s stroller and sippy cup set, it argues that modern American parents are more stressed than their own mothers and fathers were, and less happy than couples with no children.

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