We’ve come a long way, as a species. And we’re better at many things than we ever were before – not just slightly better, but unimaginably, ridiculously better. We’re better at transporting people and objects, we’re better a killing, we’re better at preventing infectious diseases, we’re better at industrial production, agricultural and economic output, we’re better at communications and sharing of information.
But in some areas, we haven’t made such dramatic improvements. And one of those areas is parenting. We’re certainly better parents than our own great-great-grandparents, if we measure by outcomes, but the difference is of degree, not kind. Why is that?
The post includes a couple theories as to why the labor productivity of parenting has not increased.
If you accept the premise that parenting is difficult to do well no matter how hard you try, it's worth reading the arguments put forth by Bryan Caplan in his book Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think, namely that you should chill out a bit and burn yourself out less trying to be a super-parent. You'll be happier and more stress-free, and your child will probably turn out the same.
(h/t to Tyler Cowen)