"Non-parents are happier than parents."

posted 1 year ago in Family
Post # 16
9041 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

DoubleD :  I know plenty of miserable parents who have regretted having children (not just babies because I think most new parents get to a point where they question their decision due to how tough a crying baby is) and I know plenty of miserable childfree by circumstance people who desire a child but are unable to (especially in places where adoption is restrictive and expensive). So using those examples then there are definitely people on both sides that are happy/unhappy.

But I have never personally met a childfree by choice person who is unhappy with their choice never to have children. But just because they are happy with their choice does not automatically make them “happier” than someone else. I am sure many super rich women who have nannies to look after their children are happier than a single parent left holding the baby. Circumstances have a big affect on things like happiness.

I know there was a study that stated this but I haven’t read it and I would be interested in what factors the researchers decided measures happiness? Because my cousins are hippie vegans who live off the grid and only work (for money through selling homemade items) as much as they need to and them and their tribe of kids are probably the most “happy” people I know. Most people would be unhappy living like they do, especially with kids, since they have one old mobile between them and no other electronics so there were definitely no el3ctronic babysitters in their house. They are also the most engaged and well behaved kids I onow when out at places like restaurants. 

So yeah if the researchers used finances as a measure of happiness then can we really say it is a true measure if kids do or don’t make you happy?

Post # 17
3532 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

People who make well thought out decisions about parenthood and base their choice off of what they truly want in life as opposed to outside pressures one way or the other are happier. 

My fiance and I are choosing not to have children and we are happy with that choice. We have friends who have always wanted children and are happier since having them. It is all about knowing yourself and making the right choice for you. If you have always wanted kids but they were not in the cards, then obviously that is going to affect how happy you are with your life. Just like if you had kids you didn’t really want, either by accident or out of social pressure, or as a last ditch effort to save your marriage. 

Everyone just needs to really think these things through. I am happily childfree but I don’t think that as a whole childfree people are necessarily happier than people with kids… We are just significantly happier than the ones who had them for the wrong reasons. 

Post # 18
974 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

DoubleD :  

Exactly! Not having to spread yourself and all your resources thin across all kids. I also think I can only hand 1 kid emotionally. 

I was an only kid till 8.5 years old it was awesome. Then my parent had 2 kids back to back, the 2nd one was totally unplanned,then when the youngest was 4 proceeded to split up. We have been in financial hardship our entire lives. 

Post # 19
4244 posts
Honey bee

Despite the daily grind being sometimes tiring, frustrating, restricting…I’ve never been happier than I am now with my husband and baby. Sure, things have changed, but I don’t mind not being able to go out or travel at the drop of the hat. I’ll be able to again, someday. Right now, spending the day with my family going to the pool, or for a walk around the neighbourhood, or to the park is all the happiness I need.


Post # 20
6628 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

DoubleD :  I would say that while I don’t – at all – regret having a child and he makes me happy, yes I was happier without. Really only for more selfish reasons though – we could go on vacation wherever we wanted (which was still pretty local), camp or rockhound without worrying about him getting to hot/hungry/fussy, etc., didn’t have to work out logistics of holidays or visits, the house was less of a disaster, we squabbled less often, I got more sleep.  The baby doesn’t make me unhappy, per se, just less happy in a ‘getting whatever I want’ type of way. 

I also stress a bit about what his life might turn out like and hope I can do my best for him – lots of kids in our area take the wrong path and I hope we can steer him clear of that.  I think it may be because they don’t have any life experiences, they really don’t see any future but still being here, which is sad (it’s a pretty area, but a dump at the same time).  So if I can be sure he does experience a lot of choices and opportunities, he may avoid some of the messes the kids here tend to get in (young babies, drugs, dropouts, etc). 

At the same time, I get great joy out of seeing him reach milestones, thinking about what we’ll do when he’s older and experiences we will give him, stuff like that.  

Maybe it’s just a different kind of happy.

Post # 21
693 posts
Busy bee

I was absolutely happier before becoming a mom. I still feel fulfilled and satisfied with life, but it’s not like it was before I had such a major responsibility. I was carefree and spontaneous before. I had tons of friends and was always out doing stuff, whether that was sports like skiing or hiking, going out to eat, parties, vacations, etc. I would laugh until I cried laughing on a very regular basis. I had a career, but I didn’t really care about it. I quit jobs when I got bored or so I could travel and still had lots of savings. I could have real, adventurous FUN. I haven’t had any of that since becoming a parent six years ago. 

But, I don’t regret having a child. I love him more than I knew it was possible to love someone, and he brings me joy every day. I still socialize and do most of the same activities as before, but the carefree and spontaneous elements are gone. Which is ok. 

Side note, we are also one-and-done. 

Post # 22
1257 posts
Bumble bee

Funny OP you said you don’t know many couples with one child. I know at least 2 couples with one child that are totally done having kids, 2 other couples possibly too. Seems like they’re really enjoying the one child life, lots of going out and travelling still (based on Facebook haha). My plan is one child only as well. 

Post # 23
712 posts
Busy bee

As someone who is fortunate enough not to have any of the major financial stressors, I feel much happier with my kid. This has been true since she was about 2 months old. My husband feels this way too. I just asked him and here’s what he said: ‘I’m unquestionably happier, it’s not even a comparison. Sure, there are days when I miss our single life. But I also miss my childhood and other phases of my life I accept are never coming back.’

I waited well into my thirties for this and feel like we certainly lived it up when we could, before she was born. We truly were good and ready. And we expected it to be a lot harder honestly, but it’s been great! And we haven’t changed our travel habits much. Our relationships with our single friends are largely unaffected- granted, we skip the late night bar scene- and we’ve formed some great relationships with other parents. 



Post # 24
6231 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

I think the articles I’ve read that resonated with me were the ones that looked at quality of life before and after having kids. This is especially true of parenting (mothering) in the US where there’s no paid parental leave and a lot of people are parenting without extended family or community support. Mothering under those circumstances can be a shit show and a terrible suckfest of fuckery.

As PP have said, the lack of sleep, financial stress and other things can make it really hard for the first few years. 

However, I will also personally say that I discovered new capacities to love by becoming a mother. My growth in patience, courage, determination and commitment to others increased quite a lot and my son didn’t demand any of those things. He was a supremely easy baby- I just was really committed to doing my very best by him and sometimes I made choices that were good for him to my own detriment. And then I had to learn to find a balance. I realized that he’s going to consider whatever I do to be “normal” and I didn’t want to teach him that mothers should be depleted over givers who do not take care of themselves.

Personally, I’m happier since becoming a mother. I’m stronger since becoming a mother. I am more financially successful and stable since becoming a mother. I am more empowered and confident since becoming a mother. I’m sure it helps that I really (really really) wanted a child at the time he came along. But it is also absolutely the truth that my quality of life took a significant hit in those first couple years.

Something else I learned more about since becoming a parent is how frequently two opposing or contradictory things can be true! There are days when mothering and co-parenting sucks ass and my heart still overflows with love and gratitude for this family I’ve been blessed with. 

Post # 25
6502 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

Having children was a prerequisite of being with my D H. I knew that before I married him, and we had three planned and wanted children. For the first few years I was so tired that I hardly remember what happened. I adored the babies, but hardly remember their younger years. Now that they are older? Wow. I am so, so, so glad we had children. They are amazing people that I love to spend time with. Aside from being disappointed that not even one out of three looks like me, I am delighted with our children. 

When they were wee ones, times could be miserable. Sleep deprivation isn’t good for anyone, and we had all three in four years. But I wouldn’t trade the world for the people they have become. They are my greatest joy.

All that said? I have no doubt that many people would be happier without children. Children aren’t for everyone, and I really wish that there weren’t the societal pressures on women to have children. Not all women are cut our for it, and while no one bats an eye at a man not wanting children, it is somehow WRONG for women not to want them. Bullshit. Women should have the same rights of self determination than men do, including whether to have children or not. 

Post # 26
2658 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

DoubleD :  well I can garuntee you couples that get breaks and tone alone together are happier than those that don’t. I never had any kids but my husband had 5 from 3 previous relationships, 4 are currently living in our home and only the youngest 2 ever leave to visit thier mother and grandmother, there are 2 others constantly in our house making and mess stomping back and forth outside our bedroom door, we never get a single day where we have privacy in our home, so based on my experience I say people without kids are much happier, get dogs they actually love you back and never say things to try to make you want to kill yourself

Post # 27
1556 posts
Bumble bee

It’s all relative. I’ve never been happier and I’m recently married, have a lovely home and dog, both have stable jobs and are not wanting for anything. I definitely want kids and would hope I am just as happy with kids, but i can see how the stress of kids + living off reduced income, increased bills, could definitely lead to more stress and less happiness?

Post # 28
974 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

DoubleD :  I think people who follow the life path that they want are happier than those that don’t .  If someone truly wants children and plans for them then I think they’ll most likely have a happier life than if they never had children.   The same goes if you don’t want children and plan never to have them.  Then they’ll have a happier life without rather than with.  I’ve met a few regretful parents in my life and it was always a case of that they didn’t really want kids/never really put any thought into it and had them because that’s  “just what you’re supposed to do” 

Post # 29
751 posts
Busy bee

saratiara2 :  you’ve just said exactly what I wanted to say in exactly for way I would have put it!

Post # 30
8099 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

DoubleD :  I’m a different type of happy, but I wouldn’t say I was happier pre baby vs. now or vice versa. For me it’s just different seasons of life and so yes, my life has changed drastically I still love it as much as I did before. For example I don’t go out to dinner and drinks as often as I used to, but I’m not sitting at home all “ugh – I could be at a bar but I have this baby”. I WANT to be home with my baby and that’s what makes me happiest at this moment. I not only love my kid, I like her. She’s a hoot and half! I find it fascinating to watch her discover the world. I always wanted kids and we struggled with infertility so that colors my perspective, but, for me, raising a child makes life more interesting and less monotonous and that constant change in turn makes me happier.

*caveat: this doesn’t apply to the newborn stage. I spent those days wondering WTF did I do to my life lol. 

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