Earlier this week, I heard this snippet on NPR that discussed whether having children really makes people happier. It startled me. At first listen, they made the argument that people with children were less happy than those without — and referenced a Nobel Prize-winning economist who did a study about it. In a nutshell, the study showed that parents weren’t really very happy. Many equated the daily grind of parenting to that of doing laundry or vacuuming. Meaning, it’s a chore.
This startled me because there are certainly moments for me when it feels this way — and here was a study validating these feelings that I shouldn’t have or acknowledge.
These moments come, of course, when I’m stressed, like when we’re running late on any given weekday morning. I find myself nagging away at everything: Stop repeating that sound; please just eat your breakfast; don’t stick your finger in the jelly; sit in your chair; please don’t interrupt; first time listening! I get sucked into the negative spiral of “no-stop-don’t.”
I don’t like that version of me.
The NPR piece went on to discuss a more recent study, though, that shows the contrary: Parents are slightly happier than non-parents based on all sorts of things that I probably can’t summarize very well in this post. Basically, parents are going to be unhappy with a lot of specific tasks (laundry, temper tantrums, traffic, whininess), but the bigger, broader picture of parenting may cause us to feel differently, and that’s the focus when it comes to our kids. We parents have highs and lows based on any number of outside factors: the age of your child (hello? I have a 2-year-old!), the age of the parents, financial stability, job security, etc. What it boils down to is that the daily grind of parenting is tough, but the broader fulfillment we get as parents is well worth it.
The next morning was a rough one for me. The 2-year-old wouldn’t listen. My 6-year-old was a little too whiny. I was hormonal and snippy. My husband was the one with that bigger-picture-of-parenting-fulfillment fueling him, thankfully.
It is these moments when I feel we have the perfect balance — co-parenting in its purest form. I’ve certainly been the one with the patience when he’s on his last nerve because someone’s sock feels so wrong they are laid out on the floor tearlessly crying because of said sock injustice.
And while we balance our parenting really well, running is also my little escape from these moments — the stresses I feel as a parent, as a working mom, or as any working professional feels in the daily grind. To run, for me, is to push it all away and come back ready for more, armed with patience and perspective — and maybe a few endorphins. And my girls now see me as a runner – as an active person — and they want to do it, too.
They are great little people. They are sweet and so full of personality. They giggle and hug and have tiffs like any other siblings/sisters/kids. And, like any other parent, some days are pure gold. Other days, I have to dig a little bit more before I strike it rich. Regardless of the type of day I’m having, there is always that one moment when each of them takes my breath away — more so than any run I could attempt.
Speaking of running, I’m following the plan for the week. However, the four miles I said I would do Monday as .5-mile sections of pace and tempo turned into tempo because I was just feeling lightning fast after getting my new running shoes.
Aren’t they pretty?
Running log below.
—————————-KHP art below—————————————-