Does Being a Mom Make You Miserable?

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parenting doesn't make people happy

photo by Keiths1Love

Most people think that being a mom makes you happy. I'm one of those people. This has probably been the best 15 months of my life and I owe it all to my daughter. She makes me laugh—or at least smile—every day. Apparently, I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Recent research shows that having kids doesn't make us happier. In fact, scientists say there is almost zero association between being a mom and happiness. And other studies show that people who don't have kids are much happier than people who do.

Nattavudh Powdthavee, Ph.D., an expert on the economics of happiness, says, "We're likely to focus more on the good things about being a parent than the bad things. This is mainly because we believe that the rare but meaningful experiences like a child's first smile or seeing them get married will give us massive and long-lasting increases in happiness. But in reality, we rarely think about these big experiences on a daily basis Instead, parents spend much of their time attending to the very core processes of child care—problems at school, cooking, and laundry—which are much more frequent but a lot less salient events. And it is these small but negative experiences that are more likely to impact on our day-to-day levels of happiness and life satisfaction."

Okay, I'm definitely poorer, less independent, and more exhausted than I ever was before I had a baby. And I've already had my heart broken a few times, like say, when another baby in the grocery store didn't smile back at my beaming daughter. And I'm no expert on happiness like Dr. Powdthavee, but I still think I'm a lot happier being a parent. After all, isn't that why they call babies bundles of joy?

How about you? Are you more or less happy since becoming a mom?

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