Recently, I came across an article which asked the age old question, does having children make you happier?
Now, as many of you may know, I do have two of my own children. Two boys, ages seven and two. And as luck would have it, on the very day I came across this article, my two year old decided he was going to wake up on the wrong side of the bed and share it with the entire family before any of us have had our caffeine. Oh wait.. that makes it sound as though I allow the seven year old to have caffeine.. well, I don’t because adding any more craziness to my household would be… well.. just crazy. Anyways, moving forward.
At the very moment my eyes were scanning through this article, the two year old was screaming about nothing in particular and I began to wonder, does having children truly make one happier? At this moment, no I was not happy. (Just being honest here!) I would like to go back to the leisure mornings of waking up to the sound of my alarm where I have carefully picked out the appropriate song to start my morning with and not the sounds of a screaming tantrum coming down the hall towards me. Or a weekend where both my husband and I can sleep in, go to breakfast without our pockets and purse being loaded down with trains, snacks, diapers, extra blankies, and milk cups. Back to a place where we order a bloody mary just because we like the taste and not feel a little guilty drinking it.
And then I thought of all the fun things we have done with our children. It’s not just the little moments, the few times they were being adorable (as the article suggested) which made us want to have children. It was the idea that there is a whole world out there I wanted to share with them and teach them about. I wanted to share my enthusiasm for things like the Golden Gate Bridge, museums, the plethora of state parks, or even Disneyland with a soul who would genuinely in awe over the greatness.
Yes, I could have done all of these things with my husband and I’m certain we would’ve had a great time traveling. But the smile on my husband’s face is, to be quite honest, nothing like the joy on my children’s faces as they discover the world.
So, I guess I would say that it’s all a different kind of happiness. People who don’t have children can’t quite compare what it’s like to get snuggles from children on a lazy sunday morning while watching cartoons. And people who have the children can’t quite remember what it felt like to wake up and not have a million things to do (none of them which are for you personally) before you even get out of bed. You just have to learn to find joy in whatever life you lead and stop worrying about whether one is better (or happier) than the other. It’s up to us individually how happy we are in our own lives.