Despite What You May Think, Your Husband Is Happier Because You Made Him a Dad
by Michele Zipp
Having kids is hard. And I don't mean birth, though that presents its own challenges. I mean actually having kids and living each day with them and your husband and trying to make everyone happy and surviving in harmonious chaos. There may be some days when there isn't a clean sock in the house and the floor is so dirty you could eat a meal off of it because there are bits of bread, pasta, and cheese among the Matchbox cars and missing dirty socks.
There may be days when you think your husband wants out. Maybe that's why he works late or has taken up a hobby like rock climbing that is far too dangerous for the kids to tag along so he could find some solace away from the constant 'surprise' of poop underwear when you thought you've successfully potty trained. Maybe he just doesn't care if he falls off that cliff because he already feels dead. If any of these thoughts have crossed your mind, you're wrong. Your husband would be more depressed if you hadn't made him a father.
A really small British survey has given us some hope that our husbands -- the father of our children -- aren't miserable beings. Which makes the survey's author Robin Hadley, of the United Kingdom's Keele University, a bit of a hero. She polled 27 men and 81 women between the ages of 20 and 66 who didn't have any kids and found that half of the men were lonely and sad because they never had children. Yep, most men who don't have kids are lonely and sad. (Awww.) Just over a quarter of the women felt the same. (Interesting.) Of those in the study, 59 percent of men and 63 percent of women said they wanted kids. So it seems, generally, that if a man wants kids, he really, really does want them and it makes him depressed if he doesn't end up having them. The perception by these childless men is that children bring happiness and love and comfort. Which is adorably sweet. And true.
These men also felt jealous of those who had kids. So that means some of your childless male friends whose life you may so admire because of the freedom to wait patiently for 20 minutes for a seat at the hottest brunch spot and then sit and leisurely enjoy two cups of coffee and actually eat like a human being and not a starving animal because they aren't on a child's time limit are actually jealous of you, the person who thinks 9 p.m. is late. They are jealous of the dads playing with their kids at the park and even the diaper changing part and the spit-up part and the tantrum parts. Parenthood is hard -- I mentioned that, right? But it's all worth it.
Men want to be fathers. Maybe not all of them show it all the time in the ways we think they should, but they do. I know when I see my husband or any dad playing with their kids and laughing and really enjoying the moment, it's one of the best things to see ever. And it helps me realize that he really doesn't want to fall off that cliff. It's the kids that make him feel more alive.
Do you ever worry that your husband doesn't want to be a dad? What do you think of this study?
Image via catorze14/Flickr