Stephanie Coontz, whose work I admire, has an op-ed in the NYT about why parents need to get babysitters more. As has been reported previously, Coontz stresses that our (my) generation parents in a more intensive way than previous generations, has less personal time, and less couple time. But she leaves it in such a pat way -- get a babysitter, more self-care. Juxtaposed against the USA today story reporting actual unemployment (that is, including underemployment and people timed out of collecting Unemployment Insurance)at almost 14%, which is certainly still going to be an underreported #, it is hard to understand how Coontz could leave the issue in the realm of the personal. What economic support do families need to make it possible to "get out more"? What happens when the stress of poverty intersects with the culture of intensive parenting? What do we do about the loss of quality childcare in our communities?
Coontz offers a good pre-valentines's day piece for reflecting on how to stay married during the hard years of no-sleep and someone-always-touching-you, but we need bigger visioning for how to keep families intact and ok when the issues are so much more political.