Parenting is no joke. But now a new study shows that in the U.S., people who have children are actually
less happy than those who chose to forego having kids.
Researchers from the Council on Contemporary Families analyzed data on reports of happiness and
parenting from 22 European and English-speaking countries.
While parents reported being happier than non-parents in some countries (we’re looking at you,
Norway and Hungary), that just wasn’t the case in the U.S. In fact, Americans had the largest happiness
gap between non-parents and parents of any of the countries studied—with parents getting the short
end of the stick.
The biggest explanation was that our society’s support for moms and dads, well, pretty much sucks.
“The negative effects of parenthood on happiness were entirely explained by the presence or absence
of social policies allowing parents to better combine paid work with family obligations,” write the
researchers. “And this was true for both mothers and fathers. Countries with better family policy
‘packages’ had no happiness gap between parents and non-parents.”
It makes total sense. Being a parent can be stressful AF at times—you’re responsible not only for
keeping another human being alive but for helping them thrive. Plus, your time is no longer you own.
While child-free people can sleep in ‘til noon if they want, you’re up at the crack of dawn because your
kid doesn't care if mommy had too many cocktails with her friends the night before.
Throw a demanding job into the mix, and it’s amazing anyone is able to work and be a parent without
losing his or her damn mind.