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"Children don't add to happiness"

(75 Posts)
emkana Mon 03-Jan-05 22:37:12

So says a professor who has done extensive research into what makes people happy. He also said in an interview in the Independent today:

"The presence of children detracts from the quality of marriage, at least to the quality of the modern, romantic, equal marriage. The situation becomes even more unhappy in modern marriages where the mother is working and looking after children."
But what of those who say that having children was the best thing they ever did? "These people might think so, but they don't know how life would have been if they hadn't had children." But the trend reverses at the age of 85, when those with children are happier than those without.

I think that's a load of rubbish, really! I am far far happier than any of my still childless friends. And what of the unhappiness that the yearning for a child can bring?
I can accept that children don't necessarily bring happiness for everybody, but to suggest that I only think I'm happy because I don't know how good my life would have been without children is just rubbish.
Anybody agree with this man?
The full article is here

Twiglett Mon 03-Jan-05 22:39:59

Bollocks .. my children totally added to my happiness .. they brought a whole new dimension .. and yes they changed the status quo .. but FGS who wants things to stay the same

CountessDingDongDrac Mon 03-Jan-05 22:41:57

I think that they add to and take away from it myself. On balance I don't suppose you are any happier if you have kids unless you really wanted them and can't have them IYKWIM.

lockets Mon 03-Jan-05 22:43:09

Message withdrawn

CountessDingDongDrac Mon 03-Jan-05 22:45:16

No neither would I. I wouldn't say that I am actively happier though. Just happy in different ways about different things.

Jimjams Mon 03-Jan-05 22:46:13

He's probably right- on a day to day basis you can no longer please yourself etc- and they bring a lot of worry and a lot of stress. Overall I'm happy having children, and they bring me a contentment-and yes happiness- but I'm having to deal with a lot more stress, pressure on my time, commitments, sleepless nights than I ever had before kids. I doon't even have the benefit of thinking it will get easier as they get older (won't for ds1). And children must be a factor in a lot of divorces (the change in realationships I mean-- some people can't deal with it).

Personally for me the goood outweighs the bad - and as a long term view I'm sure that's true of most people- but I'm not suure that's what this bloke was measuring.

scaltygirl Mon 03-Jan-05 22:46:32

Message withdrawn

iota Mon 03-Jan-05 22:47:08

so how many kids are we talking about Jimjams - 2 or 3?

Twiglett Mon 03-Jan-05 22:47:11

Bloody hell Jimjams .. you still here

scaltygirl Mon 03-Jan-05 22:47:35

Message withdrawn

emkana Mon 03-Jan-05 22:48:10

I would say I am happier. Because of the love I feel for them and they feel for me. Because I love being a family. Because being with them as a SAHM fulfills me far more than my job ever did (which is terrifying, because I will have to do a very big think when SAHMdom ends one day.)

lavenderr Mon 03-Jan-05 22:49:59

tosh it really is

Tinker Mon 03-Jan-05 22:50:10

Interesting article but perhaps his comment about children not making you happy stems from the bit further on:

"In general, is it not true that you get less happy as you age. But there is a fairly U-shaped dip for those in their thirties and forties. "The reason is that, at that time of life, people have less choice because they tend to have children, a mortgage and a demanding job, and if that way of life doesn't really suit them, it's less easy for them to escape," he says. Some aspects of happiness are completely out of our control."

I agree with you though that it's difficult to test. If you want children and never have them I assume you'd always believe you would have been happier with them. And it would take a very brave person to admit that they regretted having them and that they would have been happier if they hadn't. You'd never really know either way because your life would have been different not the same just plus or minus children.

Jimjams Mon 03-Jan-05 22:50:53

In a foul mood twiglett. Contractions started at 5am this morning- 20 mins apart- are now 10 mins apart- uncomfortable but not wild. Fed up fed up fed up fed up. I am going for the mumsnet longest labour award.

Actually I'm off to bed- ds2 keeps waking up coughing.

Ah gfood point scalty-- children (especially ds1 tbh, but alsoo ds2) have changed me beyond recognition.

emkana Mon 03-Jan-05 22:51:46

I also love how having children has made me calmer and more self-confident. And in a way it has also improved my relationship with dh - there seems to be less arguing about stupid little things, and it has bound as together in a way that childless people wouldn't be.

am i too soppy?

JanH Mon 03-Jan-05 22:52:11

good luck good luck good luck jimjams.

Twiglett Mon 03-Jan-05 22:52:40

keeping everything crossed for you Jimjams ... you'll no doubt have a very easy 2nd and 3rd stage

emkana Mon 03-Jan-05 22:53:19

Good luck from me, too

colinsmommy Mon 03-Jan-05 22:54:21

Crossing my fingers and toes for you Jimjams.

scaltygirl Mon 03-Jan-05 22:54:33

Message withdrawn

CountessDingDongDrac Mon 03-Jan-05 22:54:48

Oooh jimjams how exciting! Take your laptop into the labour ward!

WideWebWitch Mon 03-Jan-05 22:58:35

Thinking of you jimjams, hope there's a babe by morning!

Jimjams Mon 03-Jan-05 22:59:32

Yeah this time next week twiglett

I just know I am going to be giving birth as ds1 starts his new school- it is totally stressing me out. Maybe I should laundry mark his t-shirts etc tonight? (great school - if the kids get dirty they wash and dry their clothes for you!- does mean everything needs to be marked if you want it back though- also means there are lots of washing machines around the school for ds1 to obsess over).

Tinker Mon 03-Jan-05 22:59:35

Good luck jimjams. Remember to tell all of us first

JanH Mon 03-Jan-05 23:00:59

Will that (washing machines) make him happy or not, jimjams? Never quite clear what his obsessions mean to him!

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