So I'm at a friend's house last night and she brings up out of the blue a bit she heard on the radio that studies say people with kids are less happy than people without. To which I'm thinking, "Well yeah. Our lives and schedules aren't chained to those of our wards. I'm not up at night wondering what trouble my teen is getting into and how much it will cost me. I only have to cook for my own self, clean for my own self, financially support my own self, wipe only my own ass and if I want to run away and join the circus I can."

But I don't say this out loud. Because the next thing my friend brings up is how ridiculous a notion it is because her kids are {insert cliche here regarding bundles of joy, god's gift, greatest accomplishment, etc}. 

I Google the subject today and along the Newsweek article on the issue that most seem to be citing, there are mostly a whole lot of "Yes, but" uber-defensive articles, including one predictable but amusing one from a religious rag that reminds us the kind of happiness that makes you unhappy because you're sacrificing your happiness is the bestest darn kind of Jesus-happy there is. 

I'm sure that for many, having a child gives one a sense of pride, of passing on your genes, of having a mini-me, of having that many more loved ones to be, well, loved ones. Perhaps one finds babies just so cute that they must have one of their own. Then there are the social pressures we all feel that one must have children to be complete. 

The study isn't saying that people don't love their children or that it isn't great joy to play with them or hug them or watch them win the talent show. 

What it does underscore is that our lives are pressurized enough as it is. Job, money, home, car trouble, crime, global warming, OMG-is-that-mole-getting-bigger. Being a parent naturally multiplies those worries by however many offspring you have for whom you now worry about their involvement with these issues as well. Offspring for which you are no longer free to do many of the things you could before you had kids.

No great mystery then to me that we who only have our own asses to wipe reach for the Prozac less often than those who have several little asses to wipe. 

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Replies to This Discussion

Gotta love those "Yes...BUT" articles. Just leave it at that, people without kids are on average just happier than those with, quit being defensive about it and just accept it. Kids are not a miracle, nor are they bundles of joy..they're pains in the ass that just happen to be very very cute (for the most part).
I couldn't agree more, Asia. I could never understand why some people want to become parents and devote the next 18-25 years of life in economic servitude. I decided when I was only a teenager that kids are a waste of time and energy. I'm now 62 and have never regretted for even a moment never becoming a parent.
Personally, I don't think babies are cute -- in fact, I've never seen one that isn't ugly. BUT, for the sake of argument, I will accept unreality and say they are cute, kinda like the way puppies are cute (and puppies are in contrast, totally adorable). The problem is, they grow out of the puppy/infant stage. Then what is one to do -- have more and more? Drop them off at the kiddie-pound when they turn 3?
Babies are cute until they start screaming and shitting (and aren't newborns...those things freak me out..) meaning they're rarely cute... How about..after they move past being cute...we take them out to pasture? I'd like to do that to a lot of people...
It just seems much harder (financially) right now to have kids. For instance, a long time ago it wasn't that hard to get a house. Now (for me), it's very hard to do it as a single person. I really could not imagine being responsible for a child right now. I've just always known that i wasn't ready for the domestic game. I like hobby time, etc. Some people use kids as an excuse to quit what they are really passionate about. My experience with some musicians with kids hasn't been great. I've played with people before they had kids, and then after. It's usually not a good situation after the kids. I can appreciate that they have different priorities in life, but don't show up at rehearsal not knowing the songs, and then tell everyone that they have to be home at 9. It's frustrating. They want the best of both worlds. We need good parents in the world, but they should be happy about being good parents.
It just seems much harder (financially) right now to have kids.

One of the articles I skimmed brought up a good point: That not so long ago, having kids was practical in that they work the farm and take it over when you get too old. Literally, you weren't just producing offspring, you were producing a labor force.

Today, not so much. Same friend; the kid that lives with her is 10. He is almost incapable of heating up a pot of soup on his own and not expected to pick up after himself or even put his own dirty dishes in the sink.

I'm pretty sure I was taught how to clear the table the day I was tall enough to reach the sink.
Wow.....that is sad..I was a carefree latch-key type kid by age 10, fully capable of washing dishes, operating a vacuum, etc.
I was spoiled.
Back when I was a kid it was also OK if kids were home without their parents at the age of I have a friend who sometimes does some work at night and parenting agencies are getting on her case about leaving her 12 year old home alone when he's supposed to be asleep anyway. I've also seen parents using car seats for their 10 year olds.
Damn. We used to ride in the back of pick-ups without any car seats.
Yeah, I was a latchkey kid by 10. I know by 12 Mom and Dad were comfortable going away for long weekends and leaving me on my own. By 10 I know I was at least good for nights-alone.

By 10 I could definitely cook my own breakfast, lunch or dinner and didn't dare think of doing so without cleaning up after myself.
Jo Jerome said: "One of the articles I skimmed brought up a good point: That not so long ago, having kids was practical in that they work the farm and take it over when you get too old. Literally, you weren't just producing offspring, you were producing a labor force."

>I agree. My father was from that old school of thinking. He had my brother and I working in his woodworking shop the moment we were big enough to handle brooms. We had to sweep up sawdust and carry out trash cans full of wood scraps almost on a daily basis without pay. When we were big enough to work machinery (9 years old) he had us making parts for wooden toys on a piece work basis. My job was to drill a hole in the end of a wooden block which was part of a toy car. I had to fill burlap bags with 500 pieces and was paid 25¢ for each bag I filled. It would take about two hours to fill a bag. He started paying me an hourly wage when I was 14, but it was only 1/5 the legal minimum wage. My dad believed that child laborers were a bargain and firmly disapproved of minimum wage laws.




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