Study Says Having Kids Makes Dads Happy, But For Mothers It’s More Complicated
Not long ago a report found that having kids in the U.S. makes you unhappier than having kids in any other industrialized country, proving these bundles of joy will suck it right out of you. But a new study from Cornell suggests that dads are doing pretty damn good in the happiness department, it’s moms who could use a little help, which you can totally do once you’re done high-fiving yourself.
Researchers analyzed time-use diaries from the American Time Use Surveys from 2010,2012, and 2013, that looked data from 12,000 parents, over 36,000 activities, and how the felt doing them during 3 random times of the day. During these periods, parents rated how happy, sad, stressed, and tired they felt, as well as how meaningful they thought these activities were. The good news is that researchers compared how parents felt doing certain things without their kids, and both moms and dads reported greater well-being with them than without — so Europe can cool it with all the gloating.
Despite the fact that moms reported less happiness, greater stress, and more fatigue than dads during their time with kids, you may want to resist the urge to brag about this win, too. First, these gaps were relatively small a few years ago, and with the crawl towards family leave policies that include fathers, are probably even smaller now. Experts also suspect that the reason kids made dads happier came down to differences in activities they engaged in, and the quality of sleep and leisure. (How often they listened to Pharrell and Bobby McFerrin back-to-back, post drop-off could’ve had something to do with it.)
Dated parenting stereotypes might imply that dads are happier because they’re not doing the work, but you know better. Dads these days are already spending nearly 4 times as much time with their kids than past generations. As Kelly Musick, co-author of the study explained “Couples can try work together to change how they parent, but that’s not really the solution.” Well, certainly not with that attitude Musick! “The solution is that we collectively rethink what we expect of fathers and what we expect of mothers,” she clarified. Fine then — you, your peers, and Japan are all working on it.
[H/T] Eureka Alert