Last week, New York magazine ran an article, “All Joy and No Fun – Why Parents Hate Parenting”, which has been tearing up the blogosphere and getting lots of buzz on CNN and NPR, etc. The article makes the case that having children doesn’t make people happier.
Here some quotes from the article.
“Most people assume that having children will make them happier. Yet a wide variety of academic research shows that parents are not happier than their childless peers. I don’t agree no matter what the data says.
“Mothers are less happy than fathers and single parents are less happy still.” I don’t agree.
“Children bring unrivaled moments of joy but also unrivaled moments of frustration, tedium anxiety, heartbreak.” I agree.
“Studies have found that parent’s dissatisfaction only grew the more money they had, even though they could buy more child care.” So don’t agree.
So here is my response to Jennifer Senior’s article:
Am I happy that I adopted my daughter? Yes, of course I am.
Am I happy all the time? No, but I wouldn’t I say I was unhappy. What I would say is that, sometimes I am tired, worried about on my financial future, worried about my daughter’s education, wonder if she is overscheduled and the big question, am I good parent.
Of course, if I had a personal assistant to help with all the chores, make appointments, pick her up from school, watch my daughter when I am sick or when I needed a break, I might be a little less everything so the notion that if I had more money is bulls**t.
I will admit, over the last few years, I have had a good cry because I am so overwhelmed. I think it’s more from the lack of support from my family not my friends. I know they don’t do it intentionally because they have their own issues but…
Luckily I have friends who offer to take my daughter to church, or the park when I need some mommy time.
The Upside to having a child – New Friends – I don’t know about you but after a certain point, you stop meeting new people especially in New York. It’s just get exhausting and tedious trying to make friends.
Because of my daughter, I met people who I would have never crossed paths with if I did not have her. Sure, our initial and continuing bond are our children but true friendships has definitely evolved.
Am I jealous of my single friends? Occasionally. Sure, I would like to go to dinner on the spur of the moment and not be disappointed when I can’t find a babysitter (damn, those girls with lives and plans.) Sure, I would like to go on trips. Sure, I miss opening weekend of a movie or being able to get a mani/pedi when I want but it usually passes.
Even if I was still single and carefree, my life would not be perfect, either. I think we all learned ago, life is not perfect. You can choose to be happy or sad or complain or blame your parents, they system or whatever. Life is about choices. I maybe naive, but I choose to be happy and positive with a litte anger and a good cry thrown in for good measure every so often
I love my daughter and when she makes me laugh with her nutty skits or her role playing being “in the business” or learns to ride a bike on her own or boldly introduces herself to kid on the playground or has full scale conversation with one of her aunts, I am so happy and proud. Those moments happen more often than the frustrating ones.
Of course, check back in a few years during the tween/teen years, I am pretty sure, then I will unhappy.
Are you happy that you became a mother or father?