Being Happy with Children

A study just came out regarding how although dads are doing more to help with housework and children, moms still report feeling more stressed then dads do.  It is an interesting study which I’ll put a link at the bottom, but what I found the most interesting was not the topic (no new news to me), but something else mentioned.  It stated that research shows that people with no children reported feeling happier then those with children.  Mental well-being was higher among the childless and  those whose children have left the nest.  Reading this article made me realize that there needs to be a change to how we view raising children and what should be expected of us.  I love my children and I know those with children like me would do anything for them, couldn’t imagine our lives without them, and wouldn’t want to be in this world without their kids, but let’s be honest, do you feel happy more than stress?  Do you feel stress more than happy?  I am taking a stress management class and I have been more aware of just how much stress I actually feel everyday, and it is most of the time.  I always knew that I felt the symptoms of stress:  anxiety, uneasiness, trying to do 100 things when I only have time for 10, and tension in my body, but what I didn’t realize was to the extent that it affects my whole day.  In the class we have to write down times we feel stress, what caused it, how we reacted, and what we did about it and in this whole process, it has really made me aware of the damage it is doing.  In the class, I have learned that not all stress is bad, there is actually good kinds of stress(eustress).  That is the kind of stress that forces me to get up at 5 in the morning to study for my classes so I can graduate, the kind that makes me go to the doctor to check out a suspicious mole, the kind that helps me get the house in order to get ready for hosting a party, and the kind that has me sacrifice to save money for things I want for my children.  Without this kind of stress, we would just lay there and do nothing, just a lump on the couch taking up space.  Unfortunately, most of the time I feel the bad stress and it is because I try, like many moms, to do it all.  When I think about it, it makes sense that having children doesn’t really make you happier and that childless people are on average more content in their lives.  With children come interrupted sleep, more worries, more tasks, more vulnerability, more responsibility, and less time for yourself and your spouse, and many other things that take a toll on you.  I get so stressed throughout the day that towards the end, ok let’s be real, after a few hour(sometimes by noon), I bark at my kids for something that is a normal kid thing:  spilling water on the floor, making noise, running around the house, climbing on the counters, marking on the walls, fighting with each other, and washing their toys in the toilet…among other things.  So one little thing happens, and BAM, here comes CRAZY MOMMY!  Yes I feel better after I have yelled at them, but just for that moment, then I feel like crap as they look at me with their big brown eyes and as their little bottom lip sticks out, then I give lots of hugs and I’m sorries.  I want to change the outlook on having children, I want to Be Happy With Children, if not happier then if I didn’t have kids.  They enrich my life so much, it is just hard to see it through all the chaos.  Why do we put so much on ourselves?  I feel so overwhelmed with school, laundry, cooking, cleaning, laundry, running errands, taking care of the kids, laundry, paying bills, grocery shopping, laundry, oh yeah, did I mention LAUNDRY??!!? It never ends!  Ok, so then I ask myself, why, why, why, WHY?  We can’t do it all and we shouldn’t.  What we should be doing is spending more time with our family, and less time doing chores.  Our kids will be grown in a blink of an eye and I’m sure we won’t be saying, “If only I cleaned more,” no we will be saying, “I wish I played, read, laughed, made messes, tickled, kissed, wrestled more with my kids.”  I always tell  my son that mommy will play with him after I do this…. and after I do that…and put him off.  I should be putting off whatever chore I’m doing and spend an extra 10 or 20 minutes with him, “F” the laundry(it is my enemy). 

So if you want to read more about the article that started my rant (even though I just touched a small portion of it), the link is below…

   http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-he-multitasking-parents-20111201,0,4356544.story

Now, I have to get back to doing the laundry….

Let me know what you think, what are some ways you try to be happy with your kids?  Are you childless and have some tips for us Moms and Dads to maintain or recoup our sanity?

Thanks for reading!  Follow my blog and follow me on twitter:  @lifeintoylane

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