Sarah Jaffe is an advocate, a mother, and the author of Wanting What’s Best: Parenting, Privilege, and Building a Just World. As an attorney for children in the foster care system, she was tasked with advocating for the most vulnerable children in our nation. But once she became a mother, she was troubled by the stark difference between the lives of the children she met at work and the lives of the children she met in her parenting life. Was her only duty as a parent to get “the best” for her own daughter? Or did she have an obligation to try to make decisions that would help make a more equitable society?
In her new book, Sarah attempts to answer two questions: first, what choices should individual parents make? Second, what collective action can we as a society take to make our systems work better for everyone? As she shares her own challenges in coming to terms with her own privilege, she also learns from those who are most affected by our nation’s systemic inequality and those who are working to change those systems. Whether it’s childcare or college, activism or wealth, Sarah tackles the most uncomfortable issues in order to give parents the perspective and actionable guidelines they need to make more equitable decisions.
Her writing on these and other parenting subjects can be found in Slate, LitHub, The Rumpus, Catapult, and Romper. A graduate of Columbia Law School, she practiced law at the Children’s Law Center and A Better Childhood, both nonprofit law firms. She also currently consults, speaks, and writes on child welfare issues.
Think About Your Parenting Values
Get the Values-Based Parenting Journal (a free printout).
Before you became a parent, you may have dreamed about all the wisdom you were going to impart to your child and all the valuable lessons you were going to teach. Then, you started the all-consuming work of actually being a parent, and all those ideals tend to go on the back burner in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day.
My hope is that this short journal will give parents of any aged kids a chance to reflect on the role that pressure from our peer group, our families of origins, and the culture at large can play in our parenting decisions, and to think about what values are most important to us as parents and as people.