Friday, May 7, 2010

Apparently having kids makes you unhappy

Marketplace had a great editorial last night on happiness and parenthood. Apparently, adults with children report being less happy than their peers without children. Regardless of gender, marital status, religion, income or education level. Regardless of whether their kids are young or out of the house. Adults with children are statistically unhappier throughout their lives.

Hmmmm. A little concerning to the six month pregnant woman who has really enjoyed life to date.

The journalist argues that happiness is just one component of a "good life." And perhaps children offer a sense of fulfillment that isn't explicitly captured when a survey asks how happy you are.

Despite being an excited soon-to-be-mother, I know there are tough times ahead. Sleeping in and eating out will soon be things of the past. There will be significantly less money. And I am fully handing myself over to the needs of a small, squirming, helpless person.

So why do it? Why give up quality time with my husband, late nights with my girlfriends, disposable income and a flat stomach?

I guess I don't really know how to answer that. Other than I know in my heart that I want to be a mother. I want to have babies with my kind, funny, handsome, wonderful husband. And I want to give the unconditional love and support that I receive from my mother to my own children.

As parents we may be less happy. But the journalist challenges us to ask a different question. Knowing what you know now, would you still choose to have kids?

For most parents, the answer is still a resounding yes.

Happy Mother's Day.


  1. People that have kids are also statistically the most happy in their 50s when their kids are grown and moved out! (whaddya know, I actually learned something from getting my bachelor's in psych, ha!)

  2. It's all what you make of it! (And I'm sure the poll would show different results if you only asked people who actually planned to have children; leaving out the ones who came upon parenthood when they weren't quite ready.) You will be very happy, I'm sure of it.


Thanks for reading!