In The Price of Privilege, Marin County psychologist Madeline Levine describes a client: a bright, attractive, well-off and well-liked teenage girl who had carved the word “empty” into her arm. The girl was the epitome of the have-it-all but feel-like-nothing teens Levine, and many of her colleagues throughout the country, see every day.
In The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars professor/author Miriam Peskowitz finds that even her friend who she thought had “it all” could not handle the load of her job and parenting. This woman was like so many women and men Peskowitz interviewed, from all walks of life, in our country who could not find a healthy work/family balance.
What’s the connection?
Young people and adults are feeling unsuccessful in epidemic proportions. They feel they do not do enough, have enough, make enough — and cannot possibly have it all, as they think they “should.”
Is it the media, telling us we need to be richer, smarter, prettier, stronger…to be successful? Is it legislation, like No Child Left Behind or 40-hour workweeks — or lack of legislation, like our country’s notable absense of paid family leave for all workers or universal health care? Does it have to do with being at war, being capitalist, being modern, being American?
I don’t have one answer, but in this blog I attempt to start a conversation about redefining success in our culture in healthier ways. In media, public policy and even playground chatter, materialism and perfectionism often seem to override actual “family values,” community and citizenship. Let’s discuss books and articles, media images, policy issues and our everyday lives.
Together, I truly believe, we can create a healthier vision of “having enough” for ourselves, our children and our collective future.
Parents, please share your thoughts. How do you view “having enough” and success in your life? How do your children? Are there changes you want to see, and, if so, what?