Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Parents?

I’ve heard some interesting truths about happiness lately. Particularly, happiness in relation to parenting.

Parenthood magazine recently reported that 53% of moms are satisfied with the state of their mental and emotional health.

Only 53% are simply “satisfied.”

I had heard of the statistic before that says people with children are NOT more likely to be happy than people without children. But, I had not yet heard about this:

On an Oprah show about happiness, it was shared that parents report the most happiness when their children turn 18. When children turn 18, then happiness finally exceeds those of people who do not have children.

Fifteen years to go for me, people! How many for you?

Of course I’m not waiting fifteen years to be happy – there is MUCH happiness now! It takes a trained eye to notice it though and give it appreciation.

What I find important about these studies is that people should not assume that just having a child will make them happier. It is hard work. HARD.

Yet, even the most stressed, harried, sleep deprived, and I’ve-HAD-IT-up-to-here parent will tell you that at the end of the day, when the monster is finally sleeping, you love the little booger with all your heart and you cannot stop from smiling just thinking of him.

Happy? Sometimes. Tired? Yes. Worth it? Definitely.

34 comments:

Tracy said...

Really when they turn 18? Hmmm, mine turned 18 a few months ago and I didn't notice any change in my happiness.

Fox in the City said...

I loved this post! It is so easy to get caught up in the daily grind of parenting that sometimes we forget to take a moment a realize what awesome little creatures they are.

You are so right, at the end of the day,there is nothing but love and amazement for my two little kidlets!
Jenn

Venassa said...

I feel that way about my nephew (and I know I will with my baby) that he drives me kind of crazy when he's staying with me, but I miss the hell out of him as soon as he's gone.

Glen said...

moments.

moments.

It's all about the moments

Tenille @ Help!Mum said...

Yes, it's funny how you feel the love all the more when they're asleep :-)

You're absolutely right though; raising a child is bloody hard work sometimes, but if you stop for a moment to take stock, you realise just how much of a blessing it is.
x

The BabbyMama said...

Those happiness surveys/studies are lame. Sure, parents are probably more stressed - we have more responsibilities. Keeping another human alive? Pretty stressful sometimes! But the intensity of the joy I feel now as a parent (er, when I am feeling joyful) is unlike anything I experienced before.

Maxabella said...

I totally agree, Kirsty. It's a sad day when people think that tiredness or stress equates to unhappiness. They're just bumps on the road. I'm happy because I want to be happy, I look for happy and I make happy. x

PS - 'Hi!' x

Maxabella said...

Ouch, just realised I wrote Kirsty instead of Kristy! Typo!! x

Jen said...

I loved the last line of this post. I can totally relate.

Suniverse said...

Yeah, I had heard about that study. I'm not surprised. It's hard fucking work to be happy when you're a parent.

Four more years. I can do this.

JD said...

I think those parents who report feeling most happy when their kids turned 18 must not have been paying attention to their own needs during those 18 years. Maybe they focused so heavily on their kids that they needed those kids to leave to finally find their own happiness. And that is sad. It has taken me a few years to figure it out - what the right balance of kids and work and other stuff is for me - but I think I know now. It's important to remember a big part of that happiness equation is paying attention to what makes us, own own selves, happy.

sara said...

Totally worth it! I'm exhausted all the time and always feel like I could be doing better or more but I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Pearl said...

It's important to appreciate what's in front of you every day. Honestly, I've been having trouble with that lately, but this post has me thinking. All we ever have is today -- why not be happy with it?

Thanks, smart chick. :-)

Pearl

Jessica said...

I couldn't imagine waiting until my kids turned 18 to start being happy. Why wait until the future, live your life now and enjoy it. My little one is snoring next to me right now and although we don't always have the best days it is all worth it and I love her and my oldest more than anything. I am happy. And tired.

Hannah said...

"Yet, even the most stressed, harried, sleep deprived, and I’ve-HAD-IT-up-to-here parent will tell you that at the end of the day, when the monster is finally sleeping, you love the little booger with all your heart and you cannot stop from smiling just thinking of him."

That's so sweet. :-)

Eva Gallant said...

My "boys" are 38 and 39 and I'm deleriously happy! I love when they call me just to see how I'm doing; I love playing with my grandkids, and I love when we all get together on holidays!

Susie said...

I think that it depends when you ask a parent. I don't think you can be happy 100% of the time. But overall, if you end up in the "yes" category, you are doing well:-)

Amy said...

Wow! That report is shocking.

And a little absurd.

Like you said, those who just think, "I'll have a child, that will make me happy," are naive and should have their head examined.

It's not just the constant care and sleep deprivation that are maddening. It's the interrupted conversations with your spouse, the lack of 'me' time, and the sacrifices you have to make on behalf of a little one. It is HARD!

But, to simply endure all of this for 18 years before one can be happy again is just insanity. I've had my challenges with my son, God knows I have. But again, like you, he has enriched my life beyond anything I could have comprehended. I find it sad that some parents don't feel the same way.

Anonymous said...

Please note: Those little cheetos fingers are attached to my grandson and he's on my sofa! YIKES! Sweet reminders remain after he visits! Love it! Mom

Kara said...

My youngest is 18, so I can say it definately gets easier - but not better. All those firsts, all those amazing and proud moments when children say or do something that fills your heart - that's real happiness. You're a smart mom to appreciate it!

jazzygal said...

So agree with you. No matter how hard a day I have with my guy to see him asleep in bed simply makes my heart melt and I forgive and forget everything...

Until the next morning... or until he's 18!!

(PS: thatnks for the post-it info!)

xx Jazzy

jess said...

16 years to go for me...but if I get much happier than this, I might explode. <3

Glowless @ Where's My Glow said...

17 years til I'm happy and that's only if I don't have another one? Screw that! Your last sentence says it all, really. Would I prefer more sleep? Yes. Would I prefer to shower in peace? Yes. Would I change it though and go back and not have him if I knew just how hard it was going to be? No, not for a second.

Becky said...

Oh my! 18 years seems a long time to wait. But, for my three gorgeous Munchkins I will happily not be as happy as people without children for the next 17 and a half years...

Annie said...

Oh! I absolutely love this post. It's so true for me. There are days when I think I may not survive the day with 4 children (ages 10, 6, 5, & 4) until they make it to bedtime. However, I never doubt how WORTH IT the journey is. And it's so important to have "a trained eye and appreciate" the small moments of blessedness!

May said...

OK, the thing about studies is that the people who respond are the extremes. So, the unhappy took their opportunity to rant, who cares? Their loss.
I remember the kicking in my belly, first tooth/lost tooth, sleeping like angels, dance recitals, proms, graduations, someone calling me mama and looking to me to fix what is wrong with the world. Who wouldn't be crazy happy with all that?!

Shell said...

Wow, that low? Sure there are some really hard and sucky things about parenting... but the good definitely outweighs the stresful!

RockStarMomlv said...

Aw...love that. Thanks for opening our eyes up to this. You are so right. I couldn't imagine waiting 18 years to be happy. My children bring happiness to my life, and you are so right...stress, tears, anxiety and all. But I also bring happiness to my life too. It's about living in the moment...we may not have 18 years...who knows life is short! Live it now and make it a good one!

Style Maniac said...

So ... the grass is always greener, right? I think as with anything in life -- work, marriage, friendships, family -- there are always ups and downs, tough moments and truly wonderful ones. Choosing one path over another doesn't guarantee instant happiness. Either way you just have to live your life in all its messy splendor.

Selena said...

I think hte name of my blog tells you where I stand on this! I am working on a similar post based on an article in the New Yorker. Kids are a mixed bag.

Jessica said...

This is so true. Our days are nonstop and crazy and there are so many times I wish we could slow down for a few minutes and I didn't have to be chasing them every minute but then I think forward to my kids being too big to sit on my lap or carry around and that makes me sad. Such a balance to enjoy what we have when we have it.

Michelle said...

I am happier now that I am a mommy but I am also a lot MORE other things too! It is the most riveting, trying, confusing, rewarding, overwhelming experience, but I would trade 1, 000 non mommy days for just one mommy day. it works for me!

Cam - Bibs and Baubles said...

TOTALLY worth it! My little man is the best thing my husband and I have ever done and I still feel like that on his most challenging days. I had no idea that life actually got BETTER after baby!

Natalie said...

So true! It is hard work...but like you said at the end of the day...it's all worth it and you can't imagine your life without those little monsters.