I love that little song. I sing it every morning to Davey. He’s able to do everything except actually say “hooray”. So, what made me decide to start a blog out this way? I suppose it could be based on this article I read on Parenting.com.
As you all know, I’m constantly perusing Flipboard coming up with new things to write about it. Sometimes I get a twinge of inspiration, other times, I get on a rant. This time I was intrigued by a title that read: Study: Older Parents are Happier Parents. And of course, since I’m only a couple of years away from 40, I feel that I am older than the average parent (especially first time parent).
New research published in Population and Development Review claims that most parents under the age of 30 are less happier than those who are over the age of 40. Hmmm…..interesting and I seem to fall right between the two age sets. Before I go too deep into the survey, let me give you some quick 411 on PDR. It is a journal published by the Population Council that seeks to advance knowledge between population and social, economic, and environmental change and provides a forum for discussion of related issues of public policy (verbatim from their website: www.popcouncil.org/publications/pdr). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the actual survey as apparently I need to make a donation in order to subscribe to them (everyone wants some money these days!).
I trust the abridged version I read on Parenting’s website and it’s gotten me to think about how happy I am now as opposed to how happy I was before. I can’t speculate much on if I’m happier than my friends who became parents in their 20s, but I can say that this is the happiest I’ve been in my life.
I was happy the day I met my husband and the day I married my husband. I was genuinely happy, but this is a different level of happiness, or maybe its a whole new happiness I’m looking at. For the first time in my life, I feel that my life has a purpose and that makes me happy. For the first time in my life, I feel that I’m needed and that makes me happy. I’ve had purposes before and those that needed me, but it wasn’t the same as it is now. Of course, would I have been this happy had I become a mom in my 20s? Too hard to say. There was a different frame of mind and priorities in play at that point and that’s what a lot of this survey is focusing on.
For example, the reason the researchers deduce that older parents are happier is because they’ve “lived” a life before having children. They’ve sown their wild oats, indulged in a career and dreams and travel. A bit shallow if you ask me, but it’s also something I can relate to. Of course this is for “first time” older parents, but let’s take a look at the other side of the spectrum.
Older parents with older children seem to be just as happy as those older first time parents and the reason being is because the older children are lower-maintenance, thus allowing more personal time for the parents. Again, a bit shallow, but it is reality. And it seems to be that every part of the “happiness” wheel revolves on the one thing and that being the frame of mind of the parents. Let’s see if I can make this a bit clearer…our happiness (at least from what I am able to read on this survey) is based upon selfish reasons and those selfish reasons are how having children seems to impact our lives outwardly. And the one common denominator with this survey is that apparently first time parents in their early to mid twenties are less happy. Don’t shoot the messenger, folks!
I’m a happy parent because I get to have this wonderful little gift from God. I’m a happy parent because I get to learn something new everyday. I’m a happy parent because I wake up and go to bed to unconditional love. I’m a happy parent simply because I am a parent and I can’t imagine that really being different at any age.
I’m going to attempt to do a little bit more research to try to get my hands on this survey (free of charge) and post it on this site, but I’m curious as to the rest of you out there. Do you feel that you’re happier than your younger or older peers?