How To Live Happily Ever After … After You Have Kids

lynchpin

Google “happiness and having children” and you’ll find a lot of depressing studies that seem to conclude that we have a national epidemic of miserable parents on our hands. The three of us have to admit that, in some respects, a good response to our own “what happened to my body/career/marriage since I had kids?” questions would have been a fairly swift kick in the ass.

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Does Being a Parent Make You Happy?

welcome to the jungle

USA Today ran an article yesterday titled "Years of Research Point to Strain Kids Put on Relationship." Not exactly breaking news for those of us raising young children. The article refers to the more than 25 separate studies in the past two decades that find that marital quality takes a dive with a baby's birth: babies raise stress, reduce happiness and otherwise upset the household. There seems to be a never-ending series of academic reports that find that those of us who are married with kids are less happy than our childless married friends. But are all of these studies focusing on the right emotion? Should we really be asking ourselves how happy having kids has made us?

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Dads Are From Mars, Moms Are From Venus: Men and Women Respond Differently to Parenthood

men-women-mars-venus

For many of us, it takes having kids to realize that men and women are completely different animals. It comes as a surprise when, post-baby, men and women respond to parenthood in drastically different ways and start to assume different and not always complementary roles. Hardwired instincts nudge women into the role of nurturers and men into the role of providers. Given that we stepped out of the caves about 8,000 years ago, just a nanosecond in terms of evolutionary psychology, it shouldn’t be surprising that when we become parents our most basic instincts rise to the surface. We find ourselves back in the prehistoric suburbs, where women wonder if baby might be allergic to mammoth and if there are enough wild berries in his diet, and where men stalk buffalo and question whether their hunting abilities will be good enough to get the family through the winter.

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Chore Wars, Why Women Keep Score with Their Husbands over Housework

What's the Score?

“Despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, I have not been able to answer . . . the great question that has never been answered: what does a woman want?” —Sigmund Freud All Dr. Freud really needed to do was spend a day with a mother of two preschoolers and he would have had his answer: we want a partner, not a helper on the domestic front. We want the gender equality we were raised to expect in our marriages and our parenting. And we’d also like some validation from our husbands to go along with it. “We had our first kid and almost overnight I felt like I went from being an equal to being the lesser partner in my marriage.” —Becky, married 8 years, 3 kids. “Why am I the only one in the house who knows where the pacifier, diaper wipes, and sippy cups are? Where the hell has he been living for the last three years?” —Rachel, married 6 years, 2 kids. In the course of writing about this topic, we realized women tend to keep score more than their husbands. There are two very good reasons for this:

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In-law Problems: Do You Need to Cut the Cord?

cut the cord

Becoming a parent often propels us back to our own families as we seek out their guidance and emotional support in dealing with this new chapter in our lives. Parenthood also demands, though, that we step into adulthood once and for all and make our new family our first priority. And for many of us it’s a difficult step to take.

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A Love Song for Couples with Kids

aspergers-love

There is a beautiful Irish ballad called "The Voyage" that is almost always played at wedding anniversary parties in Ireland. When I was young, free and single I never understood why the forty-somethings would get teary-eyed when this song was played. Now that I'm rapidly approaching that age myself, with kids and husband in tow, I get it. This song celebrates the journey that two people who have "coupled their fate" make together and the steadfast determination that it takes to continue when times get tough. To me, this song tells the life-story of those of us married-with-kids.

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Don’t Think About Divorce, Work On Your Marriage

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These wise words were spoken yesterday by a senior family law judge in the UK, who has presided over hundreds of divorces. UK divorce statistics are similar to those in the US and Sir Paul Coleridge's comments merit repeating over here.

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