We Need To Stop Telling People Kids Will Make Them Happy
Recently, my youngest son caught a slight bug from his cousins. He was a little congested, but it was nothing to be concerned about. Then, after meticulously feeding him 8oz of formula while doing the whole song and dance of taking breaks, burping, and wriggling, he barfed on me. Everything I had just fed to him came up in a chunky torrent, soaking my shirt. Not only that, but I had to restart the 45 minute ordeal of getting a fresh bottle into him so he didn’t miss out on important liquid or calories. It was a really crappy situation.
This is just one example of how being a parent can be frustrating. It can be draining. It will strain every facet of your life. The highs are high but the lows can be incredibly low. Having kids is a wonderful experience, but it is a full bodied one. It comes with tears and pain along with the cherished memories and great victories.
Raising children is fulfilling in a very real and human way. But they don’t make you happy.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard some iteration of the phrase “If I just had a kid, I would be happy,” or “If we had a baby, our marriage would be better,” or “I wish I had something to love and care for or a kid that will love me unconditionally” I would be alarmingly rich. The truth of the matter is that kids will not make you happy. They won’t fix your marriage. They won’t make you feel cherished and loved. And if you are opening your mouth to utter a hot retort, wait and hear me out.
Kids will add to, heighten, or exasperate your current living situation. If you’re happy, kids can make you happier. But they won’t make you happy. If you’re miserable, kids can make you more miserable. If your marriage is good, kids can make it better. But they can’t make a good marriage.
Kids are life enhancers, but they will only enhance what is already there.
The problem is that our society has this idea that kids are fixers. People believe that kids can make them happy or that kids can fix their life problems. That is not true, but no one seems to have the guts to say that out loud.
It would help if you immediately cautioned someone whenever they say they are pining for a kid…