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Monday, July 7, 2008

This Just In…

posted by on July 7 at 12:02 PM

Children, as I frequently warn my childless friends, do not bring you closer together. They are a wedge you drive into your relationship…

The cliché refers to newborn children as “bundles of joy,” but recent research indicates that bundles of anxiety, or even bundles of depression, might be more accurate.

Sociologists are discovering that children may not make parents happier and that childless adults, contrary to popular stereotypes, may often be more contented than people with kids.

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They needed a study for that? Just go to any Wal-Mart.

Posted by twee | July 7, 2008 12:10 PM

Well duh.

Posted by evilrobot6 | July 7, 2008 12:16 PM

well i'm glad that's settled, now we can get back to debating what color the sky is.

Posted by douglas | July 7, 2008 12:21 PM

Well lucky for me, butt-babies never live.

Posted by The joke's on you, breeders!! | July 7, 2008 12:23 PM

Sadly, it's probably true.

They also really put a damper on your sex life.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 7, 2008 12:28 PM

Yes, they are bundles of joy.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Posted by Mr. Joshua | July 7, 2008 12:34 PM

What a massive surprise.

Posted by Jen | July 7, 2008 12:38 PM

Fucking duh. Having a baby isn't the same thing as taking Paxil, and woe to him-and-her that forget it.

Posted by Greg | July 7, 2008 12:39 PM

Oh, gee, we had kids to make ourselves happier? That is not in any way selfish, especially considering they'll probably grow up to be their own person and disappoint whatever happy little disillusion their parents had concoted for them.

Far be it from me to play the sociologist, but it could also be people with kids are reporting themselves as unhappier because kids suck up 1) money, which our culture has told us we should be spending entirely on ourselves as often as possible 2) time, which our culture pushes should be spent jet-setting or whatever it is glamorous people do nowadays and 3) are in no way romantic. Anybody seen "Parenthood?" Does that make raising children look at all glamarous?

Posted by Marty | July 7, 2008 12:49 PM

Dan Savage, hater of dogs and kids: The W.C. Fields of The Stranger.

And no, I don't feel like letting it go.

Posted by The Incredible Sulk | July 7, 2008 12:52 PM

I would say that for the most part this is pretty accurate. I love the children of our friends, our godchildren, and our nephews. And I love that they can go home at night to their parents!

One couple we know often jokingly has the following back and forth after one of their kids does something (out of hearing range of their kids):

Wife: Why did we have kids?
Husband: Because we are stupid.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | July 7, 2008 1:13 PM

Solution: get a pit bull. That bundle of depression will be gone within hours. Pit bulls are the real bundles of joy.

#9: I can't think of any reason to make kids that isn't "selfish" (not that that's necessarily bad).

Posted by poppy | July 7, 2008 1:36 PM

Hey can we see that flying baby video again?

Posted by Sad Comment | July 7, 2008 1:46 PM

@6 Nice try but the amount of time that a parent spends watching their infant smile pales in comparison to the amount of time spent soothing a crying infant and cleaning up for and after one. Papernting overall provides more stress than joy, the only way we've survived is placing a lot of importance on those few moments of joy.

Posted by clarity | July 7, 2008 1:48 PM

Anecdotal evidence, but nothing makes me happier and more content than my kids. There is some anxiety waiting for their appearance, sex life is shot and exotic travel is limited.

Posted by left coast | July 7, 2008 1:48 PM

# 1 FTW. Or, as I always say when some "study" comes to the same conclusion as any right thinking person on the planet:

Why didn't they just ask me. I definitely could have told them kids suck. Luckily (for me and any would be offspring), I managed to get this far without reproducing.

Posted by Mike in MO | July 7, 2008 1:54 PM

@15 Nothing makes Mohammed in Guantanamo happier and more content than his daily moldy bread.

Posted by Mohammed in Guantanamo | July 7, 2008 2:29 PM

@12 - pit bulls are fine, once you get a dangerous semi-concealed weapons permit and the remote-controlled exploding owner collar your neighbors have the button for.

But they won't make you happier.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 7, 2008 2:54 PM

I've always preferred dogs and cats to children. (Dogs of choice are Shetland Sheepdogs and Belgian Sheepdogs - not pit bulls.)

If they get really bothersome, you put them in their crates for a few hours. No one calls the cops and they adore you when they get out.

People tell me they love their kids more - but I can't quite comprehend it.

The biggest disadvantage of pets is that they die first. But I worry more about me dying first - and knowing there is no one who will ever love them as much as I do.

Posted by Ayden | July 7, 2008 3:08 PM

Yeah, I know this, but damn my biological clock, which isn't supposed to exist so much in men, but I want a whole back of little bastards.

Posted by Gitai | July 7, 2008 3:28 PM
Posted by Abby | July 7, 2008 3:38 PM

One of the greatest joys of my life is that I never procreated. The reasons are legion.
The satisfaction boundless.

Posted by Vince | July 7, 2008 4:00 PM

That's not surprising; no kids = less stress, to be sure. That said, when my little girl gives me a smile first thing in the morning, I couldn't feel more contented.

Posted by Porkchop Sandwiches | July 7, 2008 4:04 PM

Abby for the win. And it does exist, as she rightly points out @21.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 7, 2008 4:34 PM

People who have kids already get enough barrage of advice and stupid warnings from busybodies about how their lives will fall apart. And what's the point? It's not like you're going to deter idiots from having kids anyway. An article like this is useless. Are the unhappy people with kids a mixture of people who wanted kids and those who didn't? It seems like one's intentions, age, stability, etc, would make a difference. Whereas many people who don't have kids probably are in their state by choice.

Posted by poltroon | July 7, 2008 7:51 PM

@25 Speaking of kids, hope all goes well with the upcoming birth of your little one!

Wow, I hope I remembered right that you are who I think you are and not somebody else who is now scratching their head and going, "damn I didn't even know I was pregnant."

Posted by PopTart | July 7, 2008 8:57 PM

omg 11, that's a direct recording of at least two very brief conversations i had with my husband on the subject. there's some serious buyers remorse that follows the having of spawn, and it's always been that way, i think. it's just a little more ok to ruefully admit it now than it once was. and it doesn't mean it wasn't worth it--it's just that it's too early to tell. i guess we'll know for sure shortly before we die.

Posted by ellarosa | July 7, 2008 9:11 PM

One of my friends is currently 2 weeks overdue with her first child. They started inducing labor yesterday, and as far as I know, she's still in labor. I can't imagine anything that horrendously awful. Girl's gonna be in a world of pain.

Posted by Sylvie | July 7, 2008 9:28 PM

It's obvious that one is happier without kids when you're in your 30s and 40s, and maybe even your 50s. But what happens when you start to really get old, and you realize...that's it, life's over, and the end is here? Having children to "fall back on," I would think, probably makes that bitter pill go down quite a bit easier.

I'm the only one left in my immediate family (me, mom, dad, post-menopausal sister) who can carry on "the line," and even though I know how much happier I am without kids right now, I wonder if I'll still be as happy when I'm retired and relatively lonely, watching my friends die and me and my family go extinct. Does this study take into account these kinds of deathbed regrets? I think not.

Having said all that, I'm still not having kids.

Posted by Matthew | July 7, 2008 9:34 PM

@29 - that was my dad's sales pitch for kids. "Who's gonna look after you when you're old?"

Well, of his six kids and I don't know how many grandkids - I was the only one who spent any time with him. Everybody else was 'too busy with their families.'

Posted by Ayden | July 7, 2008 9:50 PM

And some people like evolution enough that they believe they can create an improvement over themselves. It's almost like the next-gen (well, it literally is) of two mutated families. The offspring are always an amalgam with great room for miraculous as well as malicious mutation. But, often the experiment does, indeed, produce some really fine human beings. I think that's what drives some of us to have kids - we really like humans, wish they were better in a host of areas, but have enough hope that things improve over time to - well - reproduce. My kids are grown human beings now and both of them are - to me and others - well-adapted, savvy and conscious-of-their-environment individuals of great personal strength - along with a few natural and perhaps genetic talents. They're great people. Why not want to create more great people? That's the positive draw in wanting to be a parent. The negatives are what get weighed in the dialog. We'd been discussing kids for about 8 years before everything (the stars, as it were) were right. And we were in that prime late-20/mid-30 range and we both had enough economic cushion to only sacrifice by choice and not by necessity. We weren't exactly accidental tourists.

Posted by chas Redmond | July 7, 2008 10:48 PM

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