Does Being a Mom Make You Miserable?



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?



To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

risas... risas11722

I agree with you. I can say that I do worry a little more and am a lot more tired and have less patience than I used to.  BUT, whenever I look into my son's face and see that huge smile and hear that wonderful laugh, how can I not be happy.  I really dont remember ever feeling as much joy in my heart before I had him.  Damn doctors and their research don't know what they are talking about.

litls... litlsuzzy

I never thought that being a mom would make me happy. in fact I felt the opposite. I never wanted kids for that reason among others. now that I have kids, I can say that no I am not happier but I am not more misreable either.

ricki... rickijean

i have enjoyed being a mom my kids are the most wonderful things that i have in my life they put a smile on my face everyday even when they get me mad

alli286 alli286

Im not miserable, but there was a time during my momhood that i would say yes i am completely totally miserable. of course that was because of untreated PPD. But at the same time being a mom doesnt make me "happy" but i do feel fulfilled. Only i can make me "happy" by making the right choices for me

pamka... pamkay414

I can't say that being a mom makes me miserable but the situations that sometimes happen are miserable.  I am much happier being a mom even when things are really overwhelming and not always fun.  But I wouldn't go back to being childless for anything no matter what. 

Nice post and good question. 

wally... wallylicious

I'm not miserable, but I am more stressed and less "happy" than I would be if I were without children.

but, I think happiness is just what you make of what you've got.

RoseWall RoseWall

i am happy. to be a mom. its all i wanted since i was a young adult. but i know happiness is a choice. and it comes from within. its also something i have with being a mom. even though its a tough career being a mom. still. i love it! even if it doesnt pay. its the best choice i ever made and i satisfied with my momness.

quirk... quirkymama

For months and months after I had my son I was miserable and sure I had made a huge mistake by having him - but I was suffering severe postpartum depression. Nowadays, mostly recovered, I still feel miserable from time to time. But most of the time I feel good about being a mom and about my son. It gives me some joy in my boring, meaningless life to interact with him.

stara... starandseen

My boys make me laugh but I wouldn't say my overall self is happier or sadder since they were born. 

HUmama HUmama

I'm happy but its a different kind of happy. All the pride and joy I once took in myself I now spend on my son. Not a bad thing, because it gives me a lot of joy knowing he's growing up well and I'm a good mom, but I do miss my independence and sleep at times. So yeah, its a different kind of happiness but I'm happy nonetheless.

1-10 of 44 comments 12345 Last