It's a question that many ponder and often debate. Does having children make you happier? Depending on which side of the coin you're on - childless or with your own little crew of munchkins - the answer may vary. Well, there are studies out there that transform this opinion into cold hard facts...
According to a recent study, having children does make one happier, but the answer isn't so black and white. Indeed, there are a slew of "Yes, but," and "Only if," within this study, but I will cut to the chase and point out some of the more interesting conclusions:
- Happiness within parents increased the year before and the year after the child was born
- The level of happiness quickly decreased to the same level of happiness the parents had before the euphoric state of baby preparation and baby celebration
- Women experienced more happiness than men, BUT women had much stronger drop-offs in happiness after the child was born than men did
So, what are we to take away from all of this scientific stuff? In my humble opinion, the bottom line is this:
No one should rely on other people to make them happy, not even your children! Yes, I went there! Don't get me wrong. I am one of those women who came out of the womb with maternal instincts and the desire to become a mother! I battled infertility along the journey, which made my longing even more profound than I could have ever imagined. However, I have quickly learned over the years that while my children are a huge source of both my happiness and purpose, they are human, like everyone else. They will let me down. They will hurt my feelings. That's all inevitable. As human beings, we carry our flaws and imperfections along with our love and best efforts to bring joys to people's lives.
My task as a mother, is to work within myself to constantly better myself and find peace. I must pray, meditate and live life with the joy and gusto that I witnessed from my mother and grandmother from an early age. Did they have their own share of issues? You bet! But they made the most of the life that God had to offer them and learned to trust in God, not man. You know what? I think that's why the three of us got along so well. We didn't rely on each other for happiness. Instead we sought God for joy, peace and solace and in turn, made it our mission to pass those qualities along to each other.
So, while studies like this are interesting and cause us to reflect on our own lives, let's remember that in order to be happy and bring a smile on our children's faces, we must have joy within ourselves. That is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Now, I'm off to sing and dance with my girls to Pharrell's song, "Happy!" ;)