• Fri, Feb 21 - 1:30 pm ET

Parents Will Never Be Happy, According To Super Obvious Research

shutterstock_147539951Aren’t you HAPPY that another study has come out exploring what it takes for parents to be HAPPY? This kind of study always hooks me because it makes me wonder, Do I have what it takes to be happy as a parent? Am I already happy as a parent? Will I EVER be happy as a parent?

Sure, we all joke about being miserable and grumpy as parents after scrubbing poop smears off the wall with an old toothbrush, but deep down, we all want to be happy—at least one day a week. I, personally, would rather for that happiness to occur while I am in the presence of my kids, instead of when I book the babysitter.

But not to worry. A study published in the journal Psychological Bulletin has the answer for you. Ready? Parents, here’s what it really takes to be happy:

The results, presented in Austin and published online Feb. 3 in the journal Psychological Bulletin, revealed that a happy marriage, secure bank account and good sleep make for happy moms and dads. Being young, single, having a child with behavioral or developmental problems or being the non-custodial parent are all linked to less parenting happiness though all parents, even young, single parents, reported more meaning and purpose in their lives compared with people without kids.

To this study I say, HAHAHAH. No disrespect, but it’s simply not going to happen. I appreciate you researchers taking your precious time to try to figure out how the rest of us can be happy parents, but you might as well have told us that we should spend our next Saturday afternoon trying to catch a golden unicorn with a net in the park. Come to think of it, my kids would probably think that was pretty fun…

I’m not saying that it is impossible to be happy as a parent. I consider myself happy the majority of the time, excluding the poop smear days. Waiting for all of your ducks to line up in a happy marriage, fat bank account, and eight hours of sleep means that you’ll probably be waiting a long, long time.

I am no scientist, but here’s my two cents: If you were happy before kids, you’ll probably be happy after kids. Being a parent isn’t going to make you deliriously happy.

(Image: artiindustry/Shutterstock)

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  • Kay_Sue

    I’m going to wax philosophical for a moment, but…

    The happiest people I know are those that have accepted that *nothing* makes you happy and/or you cannot attain every single outside source of happiness. They’re the ones that have accepted their lives, prioritized what’s important to them personally, and live based on that. I’ve met folks that are more well off that are miserable, some that are happy, and some that are dirt poor and either miserable or happy. I always kind of wonder if we’re just feeding into our “want want want” culture with things like this. “You can be happy! But only if you achieve this and with five easy payments of just $123.65,” is how these kinds of studies always read to me.

    • Crusty Socks

      The processing and shipping kills the deal for me.

      ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) Why’s it cost you $4.95 to “handle” something???

    • Bunny Lucia

      Because that’s my charging rate.

      $4.95 to be “handled,” but it might take 3-5 days for it to happen.

    • Kay_Sue

      I charge much more than that to be handled. Just ask my husband.

    • Kay_Sue

      When I first started in retail we did not have site to store, but we did process phone orders, and I always had to add a handling fee to the orders. It was five dollars for every order up to $100, then $10 after that. At the time, I was making minimum wage and I never processed an order that took more than 15 minutes…so it was a nice little margin boost on the orders. On orders over $100, it was typically just moving them from one bay in the back to another with a pallet jack, verifying the card with a quick phone call, and then running it through the register…and the customer paid more than I would have made in an entire hour for the process. *snorts*

    • Natasha B

      I absolutely agree! It’s taken me awhile, but I really really believe-as cheesy as it sounds-you have to find happiness for yourself, inside yourself. Do others add to your joy? Of course. But it has to start within.

  • SA

    I am so very happy. It is just a different kind of happy. It is like an ever-present state of happiness that will also be forever clouded by the responsibility of nurturing another being and the anxiety/worry of messing it up.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Perfectly said.

  • EX

    Every new phase of my life (college, post-college, grad school, marriage, first kid, second kid) I’ve thought “this is my favorite time of my life and I’ve never been happier.” I look back at previous stages and think “that was fun, but I have no desire to go back.” Every once in a while I worry that my happiness will eventually peak and it’ll be downhill from there, but it hasn’t happened yet.

    • Bethany Ramos

      That is such a great perspective — love it!

    • Kitsune

      I have a really similar view. I always hated when people tried to tell me that high school or college would be the best four years of my life. It just seemed so sad to me that your life would peak at 22. Those years were fun but I’m actually happier now. I always feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be.

    • EX

      That (your last line) is a really nice way to put it.

  • Crusty Socks

    Upvotes make me happy.

  • Justme

    I learned a long time ago to forget about happiness and focus on contentment. Happiness is a new pair of shoes or a delicious meal. Contentment means looking at your life and being secure in the choices you’ve made and the path you’re on.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Yes! Great point.