What role do children play in a parent’s happiness? Do we find more joy in raising these youngsters or is there a longing for B.C. days (before children)?
Apparently new research indicates that yes, parents are happier than those who don’t have children. However, those with children that are the least happy are single and young parents. In fact, these groups may even be less happy than childless adults.
Some have argued that the results are skewed because they didn’t differentiate between parents of babies and those with adult children. Clearly the age of a child will make a significant difference.
If you ask me, happiness goes beyond parenting. As a mother, I am so much more than that. I have many other responsibilities that can impact my level of happiness.
Here’s what I find to be true. The same act of caring for a child can bring me the greatest source of joy one moment and the greatest source of irritation the next. One minute I can be happily assembling a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the next asking, “Why can’t you make your own?”
If I really want to consider the impact parenting has on my happiness, I think there are two main factors. The first is the season you are in and the second is the stage.
What I mean by season is that period of time in which you are going through certain events. Right now it’s a good season with raising my children because everyone is behaving.
Last year when I went through several months of tribulation with my daughter, it was a bad season. So needless to say last year I wasn’t as happy as I am now.
Then there are the stages of parenting. When my children were babies, I was usually happy. When they were toddlers, I was less happy. At times throughout elementary school, I was up and down. And I can be honest and say that raising teenagers isn’t always one of the happiest stages to go through.
In the end, I don’t think anyone can give a blanket statement as to whether or not having children makes you happy. It can change from one day to the next, and even one moment to the next.