Does parenting impact happiness?

Postpartum Progress shared a really interesting article today about how the first year of having a child can impact your general happiness.

I decided to share it and my response to it here. I’d really like to hear your thoughts and opinions on the topic.

Personally, I think this research says more about our Western culture than it does about parenting in general. I’d be interested to see if these results rang true in other cultures where families are closer, children are raised more collectively and parents are more supported. And also where expectations aren’t so high and potential parents aren’t exposed to so much media.

My first instinct when I read this is “Oh thank God! Proof that other people find this as hard as me!” But what Katherine says is really true. It’s so individual. My son is two and a half and I spend way too much time wondering if I find certain things hard simply because they are or if it’s the residual impact of having suffered PPD. I guess there is no way of knowing and I should let it go but I find that very difficult.

This is made more tricky when people don’t want to always talk about the negative aspects of parenting, sometimes we don’t want to talk about them ourselves even because it can bring you further down. I do feel there is a slight shift recently though. It might just be the kinds of things I read now or the people I surround myself with, or just the fact that I’m more honest which allows others to feel they can be, but I feel parents are a little more inclined to be honest about the less pleasant side of parenting now which is refreshing. Ironically, when I have open and honest conversations about the challenges and emotional impact of parenting I come away feeling a lot happier and better about being a mum!

I think the age of the child makes a big difference too. It will be interesting to see how results change as the child grows. A huge emphasis is put on the happiness you should feel right from the newborn phase but parenting isn’t like that. It’s fluid and constantly changes. In spite of the “terrible twos” I get so much more enjoyment from my son now than when he was a newborn and I think that would still be true even without PPD. The happiest parents I know are ones with kids aged 5-10.

What are your thoughts on the research, guys? Please comment below or Tweet me.

4 comments on “Does parenting impact happiness?

  1. I definitely think age matters. Newborns are hard work and let’s face it they don’t give much back in return. Your point about western culture is some my mother and I have discussed on numerous occasions, as a species we were not designed to bring up our children in nuclear families we are designed to live in packs were all famity members help out. Great post, thanks for sharing hun ­čÖé

  2. Great post, not read the research yet but I will!!!! Totally agree with what you’ve written, the more we talk about the realities of being the parent, the more it will become the norm!! I think alot of pnd and anxiety comes from the expectations that are put upon ourselves. Xxx

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