I’d tell you what parenting is really like, but I’m too busy rocking in the corner.
I’d show you some really cute pictures of my kids. But I can’t, because I’ve lost the will to move my limbs.
I would recall an adorable anecdote about that hilarious thing they said this to me this morning, but all I can summon up is a bleak void where my life used to be.
You see, I am a parent of little children, and apparently, I am miserable beyond belief.
It’s not just me. It’s official.
In Germany, more than 2000 people were interviewed over a period of several years as part of a social survey – before they became parents and in the first few years of parenthood, and were asked to rate their own happiness during that time.
On average, researchers Rachel Margolis and Mikko Myrskylä found that in the first year of life, parents’ levels of happiness were “devastatingly bad — worse than divorce, worse than unemployment and worse even than the death of a partner.”
The researchers found that the couples started out rating themselves as pretty happy with their lives, and in the year of pregnancy, they became happier still. SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO.
And then… the crash. As soon as that little blanket bundle was handed to them, the couples’ happiness levels plummeted. Well, for 70 per cent of them, anyway. The couples’ results varied, with the “worst-hit” being parents over the age of 30 with a higher education.
This is exactly the sort of finding that parents-to-be hate. We are in an age where it is no longer taboo to talk about the negative, difficult elements of parenting. That’s a bloody good thing, because for decades parents – mothers in particular – who dared to speak ill of the glorious role she was apparently born for was a pariah. An ungrateful, un-natural freak.
No more. We less-than-picture-book parents have plenty of avenues for venting our frustrations and daily fails (you’re reading one of them right now) and it’s no longer completely taboo to suggest that there’s plenty about having kids that is way, way more challenging than it looked in the manual (that we didn’t get).
But we may have gone too far. A pregnant woman of my acquaintance says there is no way motherhood could be as awful as everyone says, because really, why would anyone ever do it?