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Recent research, like the kind summed up in a 2010 New York piece called "Why Parents Hate Parenting," has suggested that having kids is a pretty straight path to misery. In fact, one study concluded that marital satisfaction and happiness in general plummeted after birthing a baby and didn't buoy until the kiddo moved out.
Now, however, new research suggests that those earlier negative findings were not quite on-the-mark, according to USA Today. (Cue the Friends With Kids trailer.) An analysis of almost 130,000 adults around the world found that parents are more content than non-parents and that while marital happiness levels do dip, they don't dive below the levels they were before kids. And another study found that parents have become relatively happier than non-parents over the past few decades.
I have two kids. My husband and I are chronically tired. Our last child-free vacation was our honeymoon. My career has been mommy-tracked. But while my life is markedly different than it was pre-kids, it's actually astonishingly good.
Yes, my 3 and 5-year-olds can drive me batty with nonsensical tantrums and my husband and I desperately need a date, but I adore the chaos we've created. My life is full of momentum, sloppy kisses, bear hugs and big questions.
That said, I will surely be passing on this one new bit of research to my husband, who has been bugging me about having another baby: One of the new studies found that the first child increases happiness quite a bit, the second kid a little and the third -- not at all.