Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I am Happier Since Becoming a Mom - So there New York Magazine

Last week, New York magazine ran an article, "All Joy and No Fun - Why Parents Hate Parenting", which has been tearing up the blogosphere and getting lots of buzz on CNN and NPR, etc. The article makes the case that having children doesn't make people happier.

Here some quotes from the article.
"Most people assume that having children will make them happier. Yet a wide variety of academic research shows that parents are not happier than their childless peers. I don't agree no matter what the data says. 
"Mothers are less happy than fathers and single parents are less happy still." I don't agree.
"Children bring unrivaled moments of joy but also unrivaled moments of frustration, tedium anxiety, heartbreak." I agree. 
"Studies have found that parent's dissatisfaction only grew the more money they had, even though they could buy more child care." So don't agree. 

So here is my response to Jennifer Senior's article:

Am I happy that I adopted my daughter? Yes, of course I am.

Am I happy all the time? No, but I wouldn't I say I was unhappy. What I would say is that, sometimes I am tired,  worried about on my financial future, worried about my daughter's education, wonder if she is overscheduled and the big question, am I good parent.

Of course, if I had a personal assistant to help with all the chores, make appointments, pick her up from school, watch my daughter when I am sick or when I needed a break, I might be a little less everything so the notion that if I had more money is bulls**t.

I will admit, over the last few years, I have had a good cry because I am so overwhelmed. I think it's more from the lack of support from my family not my friends. I know they don't do it intentionally because they have their own issues but...

Luckily I have friends who offer to take my daughter to church, or the park when I need some mommy time.

The Upside to having a child - New Friends - I don't know about you but after a certain point, you stop meeting new people especially in New York.  It's just get exhausting and tedious trying to make friends.

Because of my daughter, I met people who I would have never crossed paths with if I did not have her.  Sure, our initial and continuing bond are our children but true friendships has definitely evolved.

Am I jealous of my single friends? Occasionally. Sure, I would like to go to dinner on the spur of the moment and not be disappointed when I can't find a babysitter (damn, those girls with lives and plans.) Sure, I would like to go on trips. Sure, I miss opening weekend of a movie or being able to get a mani/pedi when I want but it usually passes.

Even if I was still single and carefree, my life would not be perfect, either. I think we all learned ago, life is not perfect. You can choose to be happy or sad or complain or blame your parents, they system or whatever.  Life is about choices. I maybe naive, but I choose to be happy and positive with a litte anger and a good cry thrown in for good measure every so often

I love my daughter and when she makes me laugh with her nutty skits or her role playing being "in the business" or learns to ride a bike on her own or boldly introduces herself to kid on the playground or has full scale conversation with one of her aunts, I am so happy and proud. Those moments happen more often than the frustrating ones.

Of course, check back in a few years during the tween/teen years, I am pretty sure, then I will unhappy.

Are you happy that you became a mother or father?


gaynycdad said...

You put it all beautifully! I am also an adoptive parent, and it is the best thing I ever did. I squeeze in some me time so I can be a better parent, my son brings me more happiness then I could have imagined! And I might get to be a grandpa some day - that will be the ultimate reward!

Deb said...

I think if it were spun in a less sensational way, that the NY Mag article would have been a lot better received by moms, since it sheds light on lots of the work we do that nonparents can't really understand.

I also think happiness is a very relative term, and that we're all better off looking at it on a minute-to-minute basis, rather than trying to judge it in an overall sense.

I'm happy for you that you are so proud and happy and that you have good friends and support. While I don't disagree with a lot of the points raised in the NYM article, it has made me reflect on my own happiness as a mom and realize I should probably reach out for more help when I'm struggling.

I, too, am proud and profoundly in love with my life, but fully admit that I'm often disillusioned by how my life has changed. The important point, however, is that I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Nikki @ Mommy Factor said...

While the original idea of parenting and family didn't go as planned, I'm very happy I became a mom. Great post!

SweetAl said...

Good post!

I am quite happy with my son. Was it a planned pregnancy? No. But I've gotten over that. Am I happy 100% of the time? No. But none of my single friends are happy 100% of the time either. But the unconditional love that I've experienced since having my son surpasses all of the feelings of frustration. And I wouldn't trade my life now for anything in the world.

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