Parenting Inc.: How the Billion-Dollar Baby Business Has Changed the Way We Raise Our Children – A Book Review

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Categories Book Review Theme Week, Parenting, Shopping, Theme Week

A week of parenting book reviews and giveaways at Feb 10-14 2014

It’s snowing outside and my husband and our twin boys are playing in the front yard, while I sit inside our warm, small house and drink tea. We’ve owned this home for 7 years. When we bought it, before we had children, we heard from our family, friends and strangers that it was a great starter home, but we were definitely going to have to move to a bigger house when we had kids. But that was never our plan. We wanted to live in this house with our children and make it work. This is a small house, yes, but it is beautiful, charming, renovated by our own hands, affordable and in a great location for our lifestyle.

When our boys were infants, though, if felt extremely small, as did our bank account. We had two babies and all the stuff & expense that comes along with them. We didn’t want to move; we didn’t want to go into debt; we didn’t want to keep accumulating more stuff and spending so much money, but that seemed to be the only way to raise twin babies. I am so grateful that I found the book, Parenting, Inc., by Pamela Paul, at our library. I wouldn’t normally read a nonfiction, journalistic, expose’ type book, but I had extra time to read during the hours I spent tandem feeding and I grabbed this book along with my usual chick lit out of curiosity (and it has an adorable cover). It turned out to be well-written, interesting and most important – it confirmed my suspicion that spending more money on our children is not the way to raise happy, healthy kids. It also made me see more clearly the (disgusting, dishonest, unethical) marketing behind the billion dollar baby/child industry. According to the New York Times Book Review, “An entire industry preys on parental anxiety . . . Paul tries to lead us out of the catastrophization of childhood.”
Parenting Inc Book Cover

This is not a parenting book, per se, and I wasn’t even sure it fit with the Book Review Week. But it occurred to me that this book is one of the most influential books in regards to our parenting philosophy (less is more; children need adventure, fun, books and love – not more stuff, high priced lessons and expensive preschool), so I’m including it here this week. I think all new parents should read it. Actually, I think all parents should read it, even if your babies are already in elementary school. This book will open your eyes and help you make smarter decisions about your family and your money.

Janna lives in a small house in Portland, Oregon with her husband, identical twin boys and the world’s laziest border collie.

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Janna lives in Portland, Oregon with a lazy border collie named Cru, her husband and 5 year-old, identical twin boys born at 38 weeks, each weighing over 7 pounds. She works from home as a writer and editor and loves outdoor adventures, holidays, simple living and old historic buildings. She counts list making as a favorite hobby and fully believes the Lochness Monster is real.

5 thoughts on “Parenting Inc.: How the Billion-Dollar Baby Business Has Changed the Way We Raise Our Children – A Book Review”

  1. This sounds like something I would love to read. Just by your review, it leads me to believe that my suspicions were true. With twins due soon, I have felt more pressure to “invest” in an expensive stroller, buy two of everything, and have another baby shower even though these are #6 & 7 for us! Ridiculous.

  2. April,

    I think you are exactly who should read this book! It’s just a great reminder/encouragement for those of us who already think that the child/baby spending in our culture is getting out of control. It was great for me to see that I wasn’t alone and it was okay to way more mindful about our purchases.

    And CONGRATULATIONS on #6 & #7. You are much blessed!!!

  3. I find myself constantly getting rid of stuff and saying no to more stuff coming in. So much of the boys’ baby stuff has been passed on because even if we do have more children, we don’t need it. Like the baby bathtub. Why? When you can just shower with your baby, wrapped in a towel for extra grippage if need be? So often, the gear just adds steps to the process, which is the last thing we need!

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