Having children is all about soiled diapers, sleepless nights, stress and stretch marks — this is not what I portray as happiness.
An article on KSL.com titled “Are people without kids happier? New studies offer mixed picture” by Kelly Wallace and a video, also by Wallace, on CNN.com titled “Study looks at people with, without kids” claim couples who do not have children may be more satisfied with their lives than those who do have children. I believe this is true.
Having children is an enormous time commitment that puts a lot of stress on a relationship. People say once children are in the picture, life is never the same. I agree with this; I’ve seen couples in my family before and after they have children, and I think they were happier before the children came along. Stress, less personal time and lack of sleep are common characteristics of life as a parent.
Running kids back and forth from school, dance, gymnastics and baseball practice sounds exhausting. Yet, those are everyday activities done by many parents for their children. Doing all of those things on top of working and household chores is a recipe for stress and no personal time.
Money is another factor that affects couples’ happiness, whether they have children or not. Having more money results in a higher rate of satisfaction and vice versa. Couples who have children will be spending more money than those who don’t because they have to pay for their children’s expenses. Having a child isn’t cheap.
An article on CNN.com by Melanie Hicken titled “Average cost to raise a child” said the average cost to raise a child from birth to age 18 was $241,080 in 2012. Additional food, clothing, health care, child care and education all add up and take a chunk out of any couple’s bank account. Right now, as a newlywed college student, I work hard to pay for my expenses. If I had a child, the happiness I have related to my financial security would be diminished.
I’m not saying people who have children are not happy because I know they can be. Children bring a different kind of joy to couples that more sleep and money cannot deliver.
My husband and I look forward to having children of our own in the future but not until we are ready to devote the time and money it takes to raise a child. So, for right now, we are a happy, child-free couple.