If I didn't know better, I'd say Powers stole my idea. After reading about the development of "parenting" in Late Bloomers (Kaarlgard) and Normal Sucks (Mooney), I started to realize that part of the reason raising children is so hard these days is because parents place extraordinary expectations on themselves to be perfect. There are largely social reasons for this: parents want to give their kids the best possible opportunities for success given the various racial, economic, social and other constraints they may operate within. Parents want their children to rise to the top and try to navigate the onslaught of conflicting information to do so.
Powers takes a look at several hot topics, including breastfeeding, daycare and prenatal nutrition and examines the scientific literature. She essentially comes to the conclusion that if you're doing your best to be a loving, supportive parent, you're doing enough. She makes it clear that abuse, neglect and other traumas DO have the potential to "f*ck up your kid," but she also reminds readers that it's still possible for children to thrive despite their difficult childhoods (this is not an excuse to mistreat children, though!). Her writing style is clear and somewhat conversational.
I appreciate the way Powers looks not only at what the studies say, but also the cultural and historical context in which they were written. She argues that what may be "the right thing to do" for one set of parents may be (at best) unattainable or (at worst) damaging for another set of parents. If you (or someone you know) is an anxious parent, this book may help.