Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Having Kids Makes You Happy...True or False?

This is an interesting article in Newsweek about whether people with kids are happier than people without kids. (Hint: the answer is not what you might think...)

After reading this article, I can't help but wonder do kids make me "happier?" I think they definitely do... I think I'm much happier sharing my life with them, seeing the world through their eyes and most importantly, I don't have time to think about myself and be all angsty (as is my tendency) because I'm too busy cleaning up after their potty training messes, their arts and crafts messes, their food messes, too fried from playing judge and jury as they both debate about who had the Bob the Builder computer first. This morning Charlie woke me up at 5:40 a.m. because he wanted to cuddle. Did that make me happy? I'm too tired to know or care. It's not that cleaning up messes all day and feeling sleep deprived make me happy, but they are a small price to pay for a life filled with the deep and abiding love I feel for my family. So, in the end, I think it's safe to say, I'm happy.

I might be a lot happier after a nap though...


Anonymous said...

It seems like strange business, comparing anyone's "happiness", don't you think? It's a relative concept. I think I'm pretty "happy"/ satisfied by having the large family that I wanted. But I definitely go through a whole range of emotions on a daily (even hourly) basis while navagating life with my children in their various states of maturity. Sometimes when the children are arguing with me or each other, or both, I wish I could just be left alone. I don't think I would be happier without children,though, because I always wanted them and would constantly be thinking I had missed out.

I don't feel sorry for "child-free" couples or think they're wrong, either. I respect the introspection it takes for a couple to decide that having children isn't something they can or want to tackle. It makes me sad when I see friends who never really wanted children, but suddenly look around and think that they're supposed to because everyone around them has. Or worse, are the couples who never discussed it before marrying, and one wants children and the other doesn't -- particularly the husband wanting and the wife, not. She usually complies and then inevitably feels overwhelmed, lost, and sad.

I would advocate more couples talk realistically and bluntly in their dating before getting anywhere near talking about marriage. It's not sexy, but knowing what you're getting into with a potential partner for life before you're actually in love (and willing to justify any discrepancies in compatibilty)could increase the possiblity of everyone being happier, with or without children.

Question: To Bear or not to bear (children)?
Answer: "To thine own self be true."

Interesting topic! Thanks,

Raegan Brown said...

I was googling around doing some reading for a post I'm working on and I came upon this interesting article which really made me think of the question raised by your post...