Podcast: The Culture of Parenting, Marriage & the Mamasphere with Anne Helen Petersen

Podcast Anne Helen Petersen

The hardest part of being a homeschooling parent in this era is the pressure of being caught smack dab in the middle of idealism and the Mamasphere.

Anne Helen Petersen writes the substack newsletter Culture Study, which I’ve followed for quite some time. She’s a cultural commentator and journalist, and is the author of four books, most recently Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home, which comes out in December 2021.

We discuss the influence of the Mamasphere and why mothers trust the advice of other moms over experts or professionals. We also delve into the topic of divorce and the concept of Red and Blue Marriage, sharing examples from my life as well as Anne’s.

Show Notes

The Influence of the Mamasphere

Interestingly enough, Momfluencers – or mom influencers – are garnering more attention and, well, influence, than political pundits or even scientists. The idea of what good parenting looks like is constantly evolving, and so much of that is swayed by Instagram and other social media platforms. 

Part of that is due to an interesting dichotomy: Moms value the knowledge and expertise of other moms, but that knowledge is culturally devalued. That makes it hard to legitimize that information, and makes mothers more willing to trust other mothers instead of experts or professionals. We explore this phenomenon, why it exists, and what we can do about it culturally.

Red and Blue Marriage and the Disruption of the Nuclear Family

Instagram has become the PR firm for the nuclear family. The extra sheen of gloss makes the traditional family model seem far more perfect than it actually is. Many people in my generation grew up under that idea as well – that the nuclear family model was the way to raise a family. Anne wrote an article about the concept of Red and Blue Marriage, terminology coined by legal scholars June Carbone and Naomi Cahn.

What began to happen when the children of parents married or divorced in the 70s or 80s is a divide between the views of marriage. Children of divorced parents tend to wait longer and get married with intention. And this begins to diverge when you look at income rates, where the middle class is getting married later and staying married longer, while lower income families see the divorce rate go up – or they don’t get married at all.

Anne and Julie discuss the way these views impact today’s home educators, and in fact, women everywhere.

For more deep thoughts like this on parenting, marriage, education, and more, be sure to subscribe to Anne’s Substack, Culture Study.


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