Make up your mind, already!
Less than a year ago, the New York Times reported on a study that said people raising kids were LESS happy than those WITHOUT children. That’s when we proceeded to give Jack, Mary, and Susie the evil eye at the dinner table.
Now, the U.K. Journal of Happiness Studies has released a report that says kids don’t lower their parents level of happiness, they actually RAISE IT. Talk about conflicting data! (Note to Jack, Mary, and Susie: Mommy loves you.)
However, they did have a stipulation. The “children can make you more happy” rule apparently only applies to married couples (and, so far they have only studied British ones.) They also said those families with three children were the happiest.
Newsweek blogger Po Bronson wrote about this study recently, and gave his own take on why married parents are happier. Here’s a look at what he said:
Perhaps what’s driving this data is less about kids and more about expectations. The vast majority of people who get married (not all!) want to have kids in their family. Doing so meets that expectation, and happiness is the result. By contrast, people do not expect to get divorced, and most single parents (with some important exceptions) didn’t plan to end up that way. Happiness might go down, but it’s wrong to suggest that kids caused the drop in happiness. It makes more sense that life not going to plan is causing the drop, and having kids when life doesn’t go according to plan makes getting back on track even more complicated.
It can seem strange that this is studied at all. Do you need a scientist to help you know if you are happy? I don’t, and I am
What do you think? Are you happier with kids than before you had them? What do you think of studies like this?