Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Being Happier December 4, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

Another childfree friend just sent me this link to a brief article titled “Sex and Alcohol Make You Happier Than Kids and Religion, Study Says.” According to researchers in New Zealand, “caring for kids” came in at #5 on the happiness-making scale.

I’d like to think there’s some truth to this, since it certainly offers more promise for my life. And it got me thinking about things that I do (in addition to having sex and drinking) that make me happy. Things such as losing myself in a great book, playing with my dog, laughing my head off at a silly movie, and lingering over a meal with friends.

What do you think? Would they get the same rankings in your corner of the world? And, most important, what makes you happy?

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.

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11 Responses to “It Got Me Thinking…About Being Happier”

  1. Spontaneity and freedom. Making play dates with friends. Looking down the road and imagining the new possibilities awaiting us, untethered to the daily routine that limits others.

  2. IrisD Says:

    Also reading a good book!! Learning new things. Watching travel and nature shows and planning future trips. Gardening. Spending time with loved ones. 🙂

  3. Maria Says:

    Booze made me happy for a very long time. Combined with sex, it really is the best. But after many years of my love affair with booze, I found it brought me down more than up. I don’t think I was an alcoholic but I do think I was definately going down that path, especially when I was drinking a lot to deal with the pain of infertility. So I gave it up entirely just to see how I felt. That was 5 years ago and now I live my life thinking very clearly which feels very different but in a good way, in a way I wish I had done all my life. So now, what makes me happy is going for a run on a cool Autumn day, sweating my butt off in hot yoga, loving my sweet pet rabbits, volunteering at the animal shelter as a dog walker, spending time with my husband at an art show, browsing in an antique store, on a hike, or at a car show, watching a cool independent film at the theater, and going out for breakfast to the diner on a Saturday without a hangover.

    • Maria Says:

      Oops, I forgot to say that it does make me happy to go to church. I know it was low on the list of the article on MSN but I always feel happy when I leave and am glad that I went.

      • IrisD Says:

        I’m reading Harvard University Psychologist’s book, Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness… where taking care of kids ranks behind housework, and marriage and religion are seen as contributing most to overall happiness.

  4. Mali Says:

    I wondered if anyone would pick up on the article. We heard it here, and of course it was discussed on public radio, and all the parents were scoffing at it, complaining that child-minding was so low on the list (it was in the top 5!) and justifying again why their lives were so much better than those without children.

    I can’t remember if it was an NZ-based study. If so, I’m kind of surprised religion is so high on the list! (Religion doesn’t play a large part in our society).

  5. gaylene Says:

    Things that make me happy and my life busy and full enough not to have children now even if I could: My TOYS and activities! Showing my 1st car – a ’68 Barracuda fastback and also a ’73 Challenger, motorcycle riding with diverse groups (Harley Davidson AND Ducati groups), snowboarding, camping, two-day and longer footbag net events (Hacky Sack) such as the US Footbag Net Open and the “for-fun” four-day Beaver Open tournament over Labor Day weekend, playing drums (I have a regular Wednesday night gig) and generally just being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. I think as I got older without even realizing that I was passing my child-bearing years, I had collected the toys and hobbies as compensation. I can’t say I’m upset about it, and I think many people are actually jealous of me. It’s a good trade-off for me.

  6. Elena Says:

    It’s helpful to remind ourselves that kids are not the No1 make-you-happy-factor, far from it, there’s many studies showing that.
    Playing music together with other people is what makes me most happy.
    Of course, I would have wanted to have it all:The kids and the music and the sex and the career etc.


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