Monday, July 19, 2010

Are we happier or more miserable as a parent?

This post was motivated by a recent article that one of my twitter friends posted asking the community for their input. It's a question that really got me thinking today.

First of all, here is a bit of background on us before I talk about what we think. We were married for 7 years before we had Tristan. We traveled, worked, went to school and had lots of fun just being married. In fact, we enjoyed our lives so much that there was one point where we even considered doing this forever and not even having children. Then we had one.

When I first heard the question "does having kids make you happier -- or more miserable," I instantly thought about Jean-Louis. His simple answer would be miserable. In fact, I asked him tonight and he said that he is more miserable as a parent compared to the time we had together, just the two of us. But of course, he also admitted that there are happy times in parenting too but in his eyes they are few compared to all the tough, miserable times. I knew it!

For myself, I think I'm happier. No, I know I'm happier. However, I admit I do sometimes question why I even had a child. But if we are talking about misery, I'm probably not anymore miserable now than I was before I had Tristan. Wow, that sounds bad, eh? It's probably a hard thing for parents to admit but in the beginning few months when it was super hard, I didn't enjoy it much. I guess you can go as far as saying that I was more miserable than happy then. This was partly because we were so sleep deprived and there was barely any time to eat or take a shower and we were all alone. What made it worst was knowing that Jean-Louis was far from the happiest father out there. I mean, he is a great father and he loves Tristan dearly but even now when parenting becomes tough, he sort of turns to the "dark side" and I can't help but think he some times regrets becoming a parent. Let's face it, parenting is hard most of the time and if we are miserable when things get hard and we can't fix it, then we are miserable a lot! How can anyone be happy or like parenting during those times, right? My advice to Jean-Louis most of the time is to not dwell on the negative stuff and be grateful for the good stuff. He is a pessimist so he can't help it :)

I am happier as a mom. Every time Tristan calls for me because he wants to show me something or when he comes and gives me a hug and kiss or when he grabs for my hand, I feel like nothing else matters. When I watch him dance to music or when Jean-Louis chases him around the dinner table and he laughs hysterically, nothing else matters. In my opinion, we may feel miserable a lot but when we experience those moments that makes us happy as parents, those moments and those feelings are much greater than all the terrible feelings we have when things go wrong. To love your child and to have them return your love is priceless. It's during those special moments when I could hold him tight and never let him go. Really nothing else matters.

Let's ask a different question. For all those who think they may be more miserable as a parent, if you could erase those years and go back to being childless, would you jump at the chance? Not a chance! If we were to remove Tristan and all memories of him, I would be devastated. Actually, if you put it in these terms, I'm sure Jean-Louis would be devastated too. Actually we wouldn't be devastated because we would have no memory of it ever happening. Now, I must say the thought of this makes me miserable :(


Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

I'm not a fan of the term 'miserable'. I don't think I would use that to describe my state of being either before or after the kids.

I will say that life was easier before kids. Much easier. If you needed time alone, or time as a couple, or time with friends, or there was some awesome deal on airfare you just went for it. Before I had kids I read that NOT having kids was the act of a selfish person. I didn't get what the writer meant but I do now.

Having kids is so all consuming for so many years that it can make you tired. So tired. It's no longer easy to do all the things that you used to enjoy. All the me time things. Now it's kid time all the time and that's the difference between being me-me-me or them-them-them.

I wouldn't say I'm happy all the time. But neither am I miserable. Life is different. My husband - like many men - has not fallen into fatherhood easily and resents his loss of me-me-me time quite a bit. As the kids get older he can see that time returning a little and he becomes happier.

Jennifer said...

I thought that was an interesting article too. Parenting is definitely tough and isn't for everyone. Times can get really tough, but when your little ones do something to melt your heart, you know all the "miserable" times are worth it.

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting!

Related Posts with Thumbnails