I came across an article from the New York Observer about a woman who wrote a very popular-but-controversial article titled “Why parents hate parenting”. The article received such a large amount of responses that she is now in the process of publishing a book about the very same topic. Now this isn’t the first time that I’ve read articles about the “misery” of parenting. I read an article last year about how kids make you unhappy, in which the author of the article stated that couples without children are happier than those with children. I remember that when I finished reading the article and scrolled down the page–I saw a ton of defensive responses (from parents) that challenged the article. There were few parents who actually agreed, but most did not agree. I’m not sure if it is because most parents won’t admit that being parent isn’t a completely pleasurable experience, or if it’s because these parents truly enjoyed being parents. But what I took from that article was that parenting was obviously a lot more complex, and varied than what I’d ever imagined. I didn’t know if the article was accurate(judging by the hundreds of comments that stated that they were happy being parents), but it did paint parenting in a realistic light.
This brings me to today. I read the article “Why parents hate parenting” (published in July) and found myself once again exploring the idea that there may be some amount of accuracy to the assertion “children make you unhappy”. The article is pretty long but it’s a very interesting read–written by a mother who is happy she had children but unhappy at the same time. And again, once I finished the article, I scrolled down to read the comments, lo and behold 637 comments from parents, child-free adults, twenty somethings on the fence, and so on. I had no idea that this topic was that popular amongst Americans. But it makes sense. The premise of many of these “Children make you unhappy” articles, challenges the very idea of parenting in ways that we don’t like.
“Parenthood” is something we can look forward to, an idea that is often portrayed as something meaningful, pleasurable, and “cute” but dirty. Never do we ever really talk about the quality of life after having children nor do we admit that having children isn’t a happy experience. We definitely don’t talk about the every-now-and then regret we express to ourselves when we consider how our life would be different if we never had children. This article–though long–discusses the topic honestly and I think that it’s definitely a good discussion.
Please, read the article, and let me know what your opinions are.
The article can be found here.