Jennifer Senior

February 3, 2014 - Jennifer Senior 02/03/2014 Views: 25,087

"All Joy and No Fun" author Jennifer Senior examines the bittersweet joy of raising children and explores how the dynamics of parenthood have changed over the years. (5:21)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT HAS A NEWBOOK ABOUT MODERN PARENTING

ALSO KNOWN AS THE IPAD.

PLEASE WELCOME JENNIFER SENIOR.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)HEY, JENNIFER.

GOOD SEEING YOU.

THANKS A LOT FOR COMING ON.

YOU'RE CONTRIBUTING EDITOR OFNEW YORK MAGAZINE, REGULAR

CONTRIBUTOR TO THE "NEW YORKTIMES" BOOK REVIEW.

YOU GOT A NEW BOOK MAKING A BITOF A SPLASH CALLED "ALL JOY AND

NO FUN, THE PARADOX OF MODERNPARENTING."

WHAT DO YOU MEAN ALL JOY AND NOFUN?

WHERE'S THE JOY AND WHAT'S THEFUN SUPPOSED TO BE?

>> (LAUGHS)I'M GOING TO FLIP THOSE AROUND.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

>> SO IN TERMS OF SAYING THATTHERE'S NO FUN IT'S BECAUSE

THERE'S A LOT OF DRUDGERY INPARENTING, MAYBE A LITTLE BIT OF

BOREDOM.

>> Stephen: IS THAT SUPPOSED TOBE NEWS?

(LAUGHTER)THE POINT OF PARENTING IS THAT

YOU HAVE -->> IT'S TO BE BORED.

>> Stephen: YOU SACRIFICE FORTHEM UNTIL THEY HAVE THEIR OWN

CHILDREN AND THEN YOU SAY"ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SAY TO

ME?"(LAUGHTER)

"HOW ABOUT AN APOLOGY?">> IT'S TOTALLY TRUE.

AND THEY'RE INGRATES.

YOU'RE RIGHT.

BUT THE JOY, AS WE KNOW, IT'SINCOMPARABLE.

>> Stephen: THE JOY IS THE HARDPART.

>> WELL, I'LL TELL YOU, JOY VERYHARD TO TOLERATE.

>> Stephen: WHAT?

>> YES!

THIS IS ONE OF THE MOSTINTERESTING THINGS I LEARNED IN

MY BOOK.

BECAUSE YOU ARE SO DEEPLY BONDEDTO SOMETHING.

>> Stephen: SOMEONE, HOPEFULLY.

>> YES, EXACTLY.

SO IMAGINE -- HOW MANY TIMESHAVE YOU HEARD A PARENT SAY TO

YOU "I'M LOOKING AT MY KID, HE'SBEAUTIFUL IN HIS CRIB, I LOVE

HIM SO MUCH AND THEN I IMAGINESOMETHING TERRIBLE HAPPENING."

RIGHT?

I MEAN, IT'S THE KIND OF THINGWHERE YOU ASSOCIATE --

(AUDIENCE REACTS)NOT RINGING A BELL?

NEVER HAPPENS TO YOU?

>> Stephen: NO.

I OFTEN THINK WHAT IF SOMETHINGHAPPENS TO ME?

WHAT'S HAPPENED TO MY FACE?

>> WELL, THE OTHER 99% OF US DO.

SO THAT IS A HARDER FEELING TOTOLERATE THAN SADNESS, ALMOST.

>> Stephen: WELL, NO, NO, IT ISTHERE.

'S AN EXQUISITE AGONY IN KNOWINGTHAT THIS BEAUTIFUL THING IS

HERE AND SOMEDAY IT WILL NOT BEHERE.

EVEN IF THINGS GO RIGHT YOURCHILD WILL GROW OLD AND DIE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING.

>> (LAUGHS)PLEASURE.

THANK YOU.

LET ME GIVE YOU THE LINE.

THE PSYCHIATRIST I TALKED TO PUTIT BEAUTIFULLY, JOY IS GRIEF

INSIDE OUT AND THAT'S NOT THESAME IS FUN.

THAT'S DIFFERENT.

>> Stephen: JOY IS GRIEF INSIDEOUT?

THIS GUY NEEDS TO GO TO BETTER BARS.

(LAUGHTER)>> YOU'RE RIGHT!

>> Stephen: ALL JOY AND NO FUN-- IS HAPPINESS ONE OF THESE

TWO?

>> HERE'S THE THING YOU HAVE TOKNOW.

SO IN STUDY AFTER STUDY PARENTSARE MORE HAPPY THAN NON-PARENTS.

>> Stephen: THAT A GOOD THING ORA BAD THING?

SERIOUS QUESTION.

IS THAT A GOOD THING A BADTHING?

IS HAPPINESS A GOAL?

>> I WOULD ARGUE NO.

I THINK IT'S OVERRATED.

>> Stephen: I TOTALLY AGREE THATHAPPINESS IS OVERRATED.

(LAUGHTER)I DO.

HAPPINESS IS FOR THE WEAK.

WE ARE NOT HERE TO BE HAPPY, WEARE HERE TO PROCREATE, TO MAKE

MORE CHILDREN AND INFECT THEMWITH OUR WORLD VIEW WHICH MIGHT

NOT -- THEY MIGHT ALSO NOT BEHAPPY.

(LAUGHTER)>> THE LET ME TELL YOU WHAT KIDS

WERE FOR.

THEY WERE OUR STAFF.

THEY USED TO WORK FOR US.

>> Stephen: THEY STILL ARE, THEYSTILL ARE.

>> IN THE COLBERT HOUSE.

>> Stephen: SUNDAY NIGHT,GARBAGE.

IT'S SNOWING, GO OUTSIDE.

>> BUT THE PROBLEM IS RIGHT NOW,YOU KNOW, I THINK EVER SINCE THE

PROGRESSIVE ERA WE DON'TACTUALLY -- WE NOW WORK FOR

THEM.

WE TAKE THEM SOCCER PRACTICE ANDBABY GYMBOREE, VIOLIN LESSONS.

ALL WITHOUT ANY IDEA THAT WE ARENECESSARILY -- WE DON'T KNOW IF

THIS IS HELPING THEM OR US.

>> Stephen: SHOULD WE NEGLECTTHEM?

(LAUGHTER)I'M CURIOUS, I'M CURIOUS BECAUSE

WHEN I WAS A KID I GREW UP ON ADIRT ROAD, MOM PUSHED ME OUT IN

THE MORNING AND SAID "I'LLRING THE BELL FOR

LUNCH, TRY NOT TO HURTYOURSELF."

>> EXACTLY.

THAT WAS OKAY.

BUT HERE'S THE THING.

THE BETTY DRAPER STYLE OFNEGLECT I WOULDN'T ADVOCATE.

THE SMOKING AND DRINKING LIKE IN"MAD MEN."

BUT THERE'S SOMETHING TO BE SAIDFOR MAYBE NOT HOVERING QUITE SO

MUCH AND I THINK WE'D ALL FEELBETTER.

>> Stephen: DO YOU HAVE A CHILD?

>> I DO.

>> Stephen: HOW OLD IS YOURCHILD?

>> HE'S SIX.

>> Stephen: SO ARE YOU HERE TOGET AWAY FROM HIM?

(LAUGHTER)AH!

AH!

ANYTHING.

>> THAT WOULD BE A REALLYELABORATE RUSE.

I WROTE A BOOK JUST TO COME ONHERE AND GET AWAY FROM MY KIDS.

>> Stephen: WHEN YOU GET OLDER-- -- WHEN HE GETS OLDER ARE YOU

GOING TO USE THE PROCEEDS OFTHIS BOOK TO PAY FOR HIS

THERAPY?

>> I'M TERRIFIED ABOUT THAT.

>> Stephen: PLEASE COME BACK IN20 YEARS AND TELL US HOW HE'S

DOING.

>> I WILL!

>> Stephen: JENNIFER SENIOR.

THE BOOK IS "ALL JOY AND NOFUN."

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.