parent opinion

Glennon Doyle thinks our kids suck. And it’s all our fault.


New York Times bestselling author Glennon Doyle is unequivocal in her opinion on modern parenting.

In her new book Untamed, she describes how parents receive a ‘terrible memo’ from society as soon as our kids are born.

This memo says that our kids are our saviours and parenting them is akin to a religion. We must give them every opportunity possible and most importantly, we must never allow anything difficult to happen to them.

The Mamamia team confess times we were a bad mum. Post continues below.

Video by MMC

According to Glennon, not only does this disastrous memo make us parents feel exhausted, neurotic and guilty; but it is also the reason why our kids suck.


The reason our kids suck, she says, is because we no longer allow our children to learn how to lose, or to struggle, or to be rejected.

We wrap them up tight to shield them from harm but all we are actually doing, she says, is overparenting and under-protecting them from the real world.

According to Glennon and the memo, parent is no longer just a noun but a verb and something we have to do ceaselessly.

“Think of the verb parent as synonymous with protect, shield, hover, deflect, fix, plan and obsess,” she says.

“Parenting will require all of you: please parent with your mind, body, and soul.”


I actually shouted ‘YESSSSS!” when I read this chapter in the bath as I relate wholeheartedly.

Not because I parent in this exhausting way all of the time, but because of the hideous guilt I feel for not parenting this way, all of the time.

As soon as my first sweet little baby boy arrived into the world, I felt the weight of what it meant to parent him, as if it was a religion.

I hid my fear and ineptitude at being a new mum and instead felt this weird pressure to constantly feel #blessed a lot of the time.

That damn terrible memo about the sort of perfect parent I needed to be, became the stick with which I beat myself when I couldn’t live up to it.

I wanted to cook all the nutritious things, play all the games, and be the constant supportive, engaged and interested cheerleader-mum I was supposed to be, but like Glennon says I just ended up feeling neurotic, exhausted and then guilty.

I felt the enormous weight of societal expectation and yet this idea of full mind, body and soul parenting that Glennon writes about never sat easily with me.

I tried to reject the terrible modern parenting memo many times but with rejection, comes guilt.

Mia Freedman chats to Glennon Doyle about her new book Untamed on the No Filter podcast. Post continues below. 

Way back before I had kids of my own, I learnt a little about the slightly more hands-off mum I wanted to be by watching my own mum.

I was loved, clothed, fed and wanted for nothing, but my mum who married at 19, always worked outside the home and had hobbies that did not involve my sister or me.

Our house was filled with books and while she never loved her various part-time jobs during our childhood, mum always loved to read, travel and learn.


When I was 11, she decided to fulfil her dream of studying for an arts degree with the UK’s first distance learning university.

After about seven years of part-time study around paid work, household duties and parenting us, she graduated. While I did not necessarily understand it at the time, seeing my mum work hard to achieve a long-held dream made me want to do the same.

I have tried to remain true to those beliefs and be an imperfect model for my children rather than a miserable martyr, but it is easier said than done.

It’s genuinely hard to watch my boys struggle with tasks that are beyond them, hard to watch them fail at a sport they love and strive to be good at, and it’s even harder to watch them hurting when they feel rejected.

But like Glennon says – I can do hard things.

I know that unless I want my boys to truly suck, I must hold hands with them through life’s many fires, rather than send them around it.

I must also try to reject all the parenting demands according to that bloody memo – without the accompanying guilt.

In fact, I’m going to try hard to embrace Glennon’s new parenting memo, which she describes in the book. She says:

“Here is your baby.
Love her at home, at the polls, in the streets.
Let everything happen to her.
Be near.”

Do you agree with Glennon? Are we overparenting and under-protecting our kids? We’d love you to comment below.

Feature Image: Getty.

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