My husband was at work the other day sitting with several other co-workers when one of them said,
"I read in an article that the number one indicator of miserable people is that they have children."
I have no idea what study he is getting this information from nor do I know of the article. When my husband came home and told me what this gentleman said, what was my first reaction?
I laughed. My husband laughed. Then we looked at the cheerios all over the floor and heard some fighting words from upstairs, and we laughed some more. In fact this comment had me laughing at my life all through the weekend.
The gentleman in question has chosen not to have children, but has dogs. We all know how I feel about dogs, so had I been there, I may have told him the macing story and laughed heartily right in his face. (And btw, how rude is it to mention this study to people with kids, although according to my husband, he was rather serious and not trying to be rude.)
I'm not going to sit here and pretend that kids are happy, lovely, perfect little bundles of joy all the time...at least mine aren't. I mean, does this gentleman's life (minus the dogs) seem better than mine a lot of the time. Yes, it does. He goes where he wants to go, he vacations with ease, his laundry is probably 1/8 of the size of mine, he eats at restaurants that don't have cheese pizza, he probably sleeps in at least on the weekends, he doesn't wipe noses, change diapers, or clean up daily spills. Nor does he smell like spoiled milk after being spit up on multiple times. I could go on.
But here's the thing, I could also go on about the lessons I've learned being a parent and I'm only on year 6. Is there value in having to sacrifice? I believe there is. Not only that, but there's also a tremendous amount of joy that comes from sacrifice. Are there better days in this life than seeing your child graduate, finish a mission, go to the temple, or achieve their goals? Getting kids there takes work and time and effort, but the rewards can't be bought with anything else. I have to believe that there are goals to what I am doing and that they are important. Life isn't just about me and that means something.
Not only that, but dogs don't give you grandkids, which is the only reason any of us became parents to begin with, right? Nor do they wrap their chubby arms around you and tell you they love you unprovoked. (Those hugs are my daily fuel.)
And lest you think that dogs don't put a dent in the ol' pocket book, guess how much this guy pays someone to walk his dogs daily for an hour each day? $7000/year!! I think I'm in the wrong business.
That is, until I remember that I hate dogs and I love my kids.