Happier without children?


A study from the University of Princeton shows that people without children are happier than parents. This is what I read in a women magazine I am too ashamed to mention.

According to this Libelle/Gaël/MesEnfantsEtMoi (or whatever its name), the university’s researchers performed their pool on a sample of 1,8 million American volonteers who daily reported how they felt. It seems that freedom is a big happiness factor (no, really?) and that you lose some of it when you get those little things (you must be kidding me)*.

That piece of news didn’t strike me at first, but I couldn’t help but thinking about it while jogging this morning (yes, I finally found my way back to sport).
Was I happier before Emma?
I felt ashamed but my first answer was “yes”.
Indeed, we were completely free, my husband and I. We could have drinks, go to the restaurant, the museum, concerts,… when we wanted, sport when we wanted, have sex when and where we wanted…

Then I had to think about Meg Ryan in ‘When Harry met Sally’ : “The thing is, Joe, we never do fly off to Rome on a moment’s notice.” ‘And the kitchen floor?” “Not once. It’s this very cold, hard Mexican ceramic tile.” .

Of course we did (most) (some of) those things (not talking about the kitchen floor…), but my point is that I have the feeling now that motherhood actually made me feel frustrated about not being able to do… even things I didn’t do before, when it was all possible.
To be honnest, I have never been so aware of everything happening in Brussels, for example.

So… YES, I am frustrated, but on the other hand… I enjoy now every moment of freedom. And I try to make the best of it.
The well-known ‘quality above quantity’, you know?
Furthermore, thanks to Emma I am discovering another Brussels, Brussels with kids. It is not always easy, but it really has something to try and find child-friendly places/activities in neigbourhoods I used to negligently frequent.
And when it works, and Emma is having a good time… her laughs make me soooooo damn happy.

I can understand why the pool says people without children feel happier on a daily basis. You certainly are more often depressed when you are a parent, and the stress and lack of time is pretty difficult to cope with.

If you could go backwards? Well, this is a very tricky question. Because now you are in love with this little piece of you. But let’s say you don’t know him/her, you just know the daily feelings, would you go back?

I can imagine some people would say ‘yes’. I would have said ‘yes’, some months ago.

Now, I have the impression that motherhood made me discover so many things about me that have absolutely nothing to do with motherhood, that I would say ‘let’s stick with it’.
With this dreadful experience that is going to wake me up at 7.00 am, while I could sleep until 11.00, and will look at me and say the “Mamaaaaan,” that will make me melt.

*Now that I have read Princeton’s article I must say its conclusions are not that straight, but this actually isn’t that important.

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