Parenting & Happiness: Do They Really Go hand in Hand?

I recently received an email from a good friend who is single and sans children. She read this very intriguing article about parenting and if having kids actual makes people unhappy. Thank you CNN for sparking some debate!

Check out the article and decide for yourself!

 

What I found most interesting wasn’t the article but the response that came from my single friend compared to the response my friend and I (who have kids) gave. We were a mix of “babies complete us” to “I could take it or leave it”. I loved that my friend sans kids thought that I was making motherhood “look good”. Thank goodness I am fooling someone! Kidding but seriously, I guess because I am in the thick of it daily I don’t realize how it must look to an outsider. It is certainly not for the faint of heart.

 

For me, my response after reading the article focused more on the fact that while children can be a blessing and enrich our lives they can also really cause a person to forget who they were before and stop nurturing ourselves as people – not just parents. This alone could make a person unhappy vs. the very happy they COULD be if they allowed themselves to think outside the box and try to strive for both.

 

So here was my response:

“In my opinion, the bottom line with parenting and why I think so many parents sort of lose their way is that many think you have to give up being a “person” to be a parent. I think it is quite the opposite. I think becoming a parent actually allows a person to put life into perspective and the saying “becoming a parent made me a better person” doesn’t mean that parents are better people. It just means that parents have been allowed to experience something profound that helped them understand their wants and needs better.” 

Then came the response after reading the article from my friend with children:

“As a fairly “new” parent I would say I disagree with the happiness factor, as it pertains to kids.  The happiness I have experienced is unbelievable.  Yes, the “romance” has gone by the wayside (granted I’m pregnant and my energy level is zapped and zero interest in adult activities if you catch my drift) but I would also say this happens in any long-term relationship without kids too. Sure, I don’t enjoy the fact my house is a mess and my living room has toys everywhere but I also know it’s so very temporary.  Life goes by so fast and I think people sometimes get stuck on the negative and then can’t see past it.  I’ve done it, try not to but it happens.” 

My thoughts became more clear after hearing what she had to say and I retorted with:
“I think this is a really good point and sort of solidifies what I was saying as well. Just because you have children doesn’t mean happiness goes out the window. BUT the point I am trying to make is that children are also NOT the sole point of happiness once you have them either. Being a parent doesn’t mean only your child can make you happy.
 
As far as messes go….well that is life. It is messy. I have many a single or child free friends that are messy and have no one to put that on. It is certainly not a reason to NOT have kids that is for sure. 
 
Now the lack of “excitement” in the bedroom…well that one is definitely an area that gets sacrificed for a million reasons but it isn’t permanent. So many relationships go through this at some point even if it doesn’t include kids. I think that kids and a relationship are two things and each brings its own challenges. Having kids certainly ups the difficulty factor for relationship bliss but it also teaches you to try harder (when the time is right) and get more creative.” 

So now is when you interject.

What do you think about having kids?

Do you think that not having them makes you smarter than the rest of us or do you feel having kids is what completes the “big picture” in life?

Either way I am grateful for my friends that have AND don’t have kids because they each bring a different element to life. How boring would it be if we were a bunch of soccer mom’s that refused to acknowledge there is a whole other world out there?! My single friend actually encountered these exact women recently when trying to have a conversation in the workplace. It ended when the “soccer mom’s” (I really don’t have an issue with soccer mom’s but in this case it is the best descriptor) asking the age-old questions of “Do you have kids?” and when she said “no” the conversation ended too. Truly sad what those women are missing because this chica is totally worth knowing kids or no kids!

 

Cheers to diversity in life and friendships!

Oh and to kids too…

they have made me the person I am today and for that I love them even more!

 


2 Comments

  1. I 100% agree with you. Cheers to the person we are and try to maintain to be.

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