I am a solitary sort, I like to read, I like order, I like quiet. I have very close friends… but I would not consider myself particularly social. I also have projects that so consume and delight me that I never find myself sitting around wishing for “a more fulfilling life and sense of purpose.” I feel like I am bursting at the seams with sense of purpose, and this does make me very happy. The “flow” that you so often hear about. And most importantly, I crave time alone. I LOVE it. I really rarely feel bored or lonely… and when I do a cuddle from my husband, a run with my dog, a phone call from a friend seems to sort that right out. And to bring me into touch with empathy, compassion and self sacrifice any number of charities I am impassioned about will gladly accept as much time from me as I can give. And that is immensely fulfilling to me too.
So where would a child fit into that? The answer is…
My core being, my not so secret self would hate the chaos, the mess, the tempers, tears and need. I appreciate why people have children…trust me, I get it.
But the people around me who are finding parenthood a source of happiness are also the ones very different from me. People who are extroverts love noise and excitement and chaos are people who wander the house in tears when it is empty because they love people so much. People who seem to suffer loneliness more than I do, people who sometimes don’t already (before children) have a deep passion that gives them a sense of achievement. Not always… but often enough.
Are you like me? Do you like long monk-like silences? Find being touched constantly irritating and invasive? Feel comforted around order and tidiness? Then think about that, you might really hate the full on invasion of a little being into your life. Or do you crave touch and sensation and feel the need to be busy all of the time? Like being in a noisy chaotic situation? Then kids might make you happy beyond your wildest dreams.
The point I am making is that “happy” is not a one size fits all word. “Happy” means very different things to people, as well as “purpose, achievement, satisfaction.”
A breakdown of what those things mean to you, and how you would bring them into your own life might make the “Kid issue” a moot one. It depends on what brings you joy in the first place.
Comment by amylecomte, “All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting”.
Bravo to this commenter. I, too, prefer order, peace and a sense of purpose that does not have to involve bringing another life into the world. To those who do, and are good at it, kudos.