By Tom Z
12:51 PM EST, February 19, 2013
NY Magazine has a new article titled, “All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting.” The headline caught my attention because A) it’s incredibly sensationalistic, and B) I was unaware that so many parents had such contempt for their children. According to a survey of my Facebook feed, kids are the greatest thing ever and AWW LOOK HOW CUTE THEY ARE WHEN THEY DO THIS PEDESTRIAN ACTIVITY!!!!!!!!!! But according to NY Mag, children, no matter how cute, destroy your entire life. More on that:
A wide variety of academic research shows that parents are not happier than their childless peers, and in many cases are less so. This finding is surprisingly consistent… Perhaps the most oft-cited datum comes from a 2004 study by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist, who… found that child care ranked sixteenth in pleasurability out of nineteen activities. (Among the endeavors they preferred: preparing food, watching TV, exercising, talking on the phone, napping, shopping, housework.) This result also shows up regularly in relationship research, with children invariably reducing marital satisfaction. The economist Andrew Oswald… is at least inclined to view his data in a more positive light: “The broad message is not that children make you less happy; it’s just that children don’t make you more happy.” That is, he tells me, unless you have more than one. “Then the studies show a more negative impact.” As a rule… mothers are less happy than fathers… single parents are less happy still… babies and toddlers are the hardest… each successive child produces diminishing returns. Robin Simon, a sociologist at Wake Forest University, says parents are more depressed than nonparents no matter what their circumstances - whether they’re single or married, whether they have one child or four.
I don’t have kids, but I know they’re a pain in the ass because all my new parent friends are way too enthusiastic with their sales pitch. “You NEED to have kids, they’re WONDERFUL, they’ll CHANGE YOUR LIFE, I was NOTHING before I had MY BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN!!!!” It’s the same as when you go to Carmax and they act like their 2007 Honda Civic is better than any Italian sports car ever engineered. If you just said, “look, this car doesn’t have the most horsepower, but it gets decent mileage and it will give you plenty of great experiences,” then cool, I’m in. But when you say it gets 400 miles to the gallon, shoots cash out of the tailpipe and has the ability to sprout unicorn wings with the push of a button, you’re obviously hiding something.
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