Themes and message

Parenting and personal needs

In the short story “We Can’t Be Good at Everything” by Emma Sloley, the theme of balancing parenthood with your personal needs is central. 

Miles feels like he could have benefitted from his mother’s presence during his childhood. While Fenella apologizes for her faults, she also points out that this is the case with all the families, where one parent is “a primary caregiver” (l. 122) and the other one is “at the sidelines” (l. 122). This appears to suggest that Miles would have felt just as resentful if Fenella had stayed at home, and Miles’s father had gone to work. On the other hand, Fenella’s words suggest that Miles’s and society’s double standards would probably mean that Miles would not have resented his father in the sam...

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