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3 Reasons Having Children Will Not Make You Happy

Are you wistful at the sight of a swaddle blanket? Delirious for tiny dresses with delightfully adorable shoes? But will having children make you happy?(Last Updated On: May 3, 2016)

Thinking of having children? Are you wistful at the sight of a swaddle blanket? Hopeful while gazing at bumper guards and high chairs? Delirious for tiny dresses with delightfully adorable matching shoes?

We crave these pieces of parenting, but will having children make you happy?

Oh, the ache for a baby. It can be something that swallows us whole. After my hysterectomy, I sobbed at my sister’s baby shower. Her children were prayerfully conceived after miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies, and several rounds of fertility treatments. I certainly didn’t begrudge her having the twins, but I mourned the children I would never carry.

Fast forward 4 years, and we were preparing to adopt our daughter. Like most people who struggle with building a family, I had so many ideas about what being a mother would look like. And now, I laugh at that poor misguided woman.

Having children WILL NOT make you happy. Are you wistful at the sight of a swaddle blanket? Delirious for tiny dresses with delightfully adorable shoes? But will having children make you happy?

There, I said it. If you’re not a happy person, if you haven’t found joy in your life, which for me means living for Christ, having children is not going to fix you. Parenting is not for the faint of heart.

Why not?

1. Money is cited as the number one issue in struggling marriages. According to the US Dept. of Agriculture, raising a child to 18 will cost an average of $245,000. What the what? A quarter of a million dollars! If you’re not financially secure, having a child whose needs are non-negotiable will make life more complicated.

Wistfully thinking of having children? Read 3 Reasons Having Children Will Not Make You Happy. Click To Tweet

Some experts say that if you wait until you’re completely ready, you’ll never be ready, but having money troubles over a tiny person who needs something new for the rest of forever can tear apart your marriage.

Get some sound financial advice, save up, live frugally. I’m not Dave Ramsey, but Dave Ramsey is, read one of his books.

2. SLEEP! You will never again get the kind of sleep or rest you did before children. I got really lucky and my daughter started sleeping through the night just before she was 3 months old, and other than growth spurts requiring midnight feedings, has pretty much been a good sleeper.

And I’m still tired all the time. Lazy mornings start with a busy routine. My child doesn’t want to wait for me to have my coffee before jumping on my head. If you’re not a morning person, lots of parenting is going to take extra fortitude and perhaps inventing an intro-venous coffee system.

Even when you do get to sleep, a lot of scary parenting things happen at night. The first two years of her life, I listened to the monitor for her breathing. After passing the threshold for SIDS, these little people have coughs, nightmares, and upset tummies at 3 a.m., which is not something you want to sleep through, trust me. Are you wistful at the sight of a swaddle blanket? Delirious for tiny dresses with delightfully adorable shoes? But will having children make you happy?You will sleep lighter and less, pretty much forever, as far as I can tell.

Which leads to my last point.

#3. Self comes last because yourself will come last for the rest of your life. She doesn’t want to give me 30 minutes of quiet time before I feed her. Using the restroom alone, yeah, enjoy that. My child can be outside playing with the neighbor, and the second I head to the bathroom, a bat signal must go off somewhere. If you find time to shower, exercise, read a book, it comes out of the time bank somewhere.

Are you wistful at the sight of a swaddle blanket? Delirious for tiny dresses with delightfully adorable shoes? But will having children make you happy?
When they’re quiet, worry

There are no sick days. Stomach bugs and vomiting or snot and coughing, they need you to get up to take care of them constantly for about the first five years, 5 years. Your life isn’t yours anymore. And the minute they don’t need you for something, you should probably run to find out what they are doing.

Having children won’t make you happy, but it will bring you joy.

Am I playing semantics? splitting hairs over words? Yes, because words flow out of the abundance of our hearts, and they matter. Our attitudes and expectations are shaped in words.

Galatians 5:22-23a ESV “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”

Notice the fruit of the Holy Spirit doesn’t include happiness? But the rest of those fruits will have plenty of chances to develop, I promise!

The difference then is what we mean by joy as Christians. Joy is eternal, not based on external circumstances.  My child who was just screaming that she ‘needs’ to watch TV isn’t currently making me ‘happy’, but being her mother, guiding and raising her, growing closer to God as I do it, fills me with joy.

Ecclesiastes 3:13 ESV  “Also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.”

God wants us to take pleasure in the toil. He calls the toil a gift. A gift? Absolutely. God uses all the hard things to draw us, instruct us, and even love us.

Raising people is hard. They are only tiny and adorable and immobile for a few weeks that go by too quickly. Then the real work starts, training and teaching them to be kind, loving, gentle, obedient, gracious, creative, faithful, Godly.

That I do take great pleasure in. Even, when she eats my share of lunch. Even, when I spend an hour with her at midnight due to a bad dream. Even, when our house is loud, messy, full of fun and plenty of chances to practice conflict resolution. And I am filled with happiness sometimes, but joy all the time.

This verse from Romans sums up parenting rather perfectly.

Romans 12:12 ESV  “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Children are hope, give us plenty of opportunities for patience, and parenting needs constant prayer in our hearts. Having children won’t make life easier or less hectic, but joyful? Always.

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23 thoughts on “3 Reasons Having Children Will Not Make You Happy

  1. I’m one of those women who never wanted, and never had children. I can certainly see the truths in your post from watching my friends with their kids. Thanks so much for linking up with us at #theloft.

    1. For me, it is all worth it. It looks and sometimes feels hard but the absolute joy and love are immeasurable.

  2. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry with this one, LOL! For eight years of marriage we were unable to have children. I was really bummed. Then when kids came along (3 in less than years), I was overwhelmed. Each season has it’s own hurts and its own blessings, and each one is sacred. Thanks for sharing this at TheLoft!

    1. I am so glad you have your family!! And we’ll all sleep when we’re dead, right?

  3. Sleep…I had to chuckle at that one. All 3 of our kids have been very-early morning people. I have been okay with that, but my husband isn’t a morning person. Not at all! It’s been hard for us to become early-morning people with our kids. Lots of coffee…! But you’re right, parenting doesn’t really make you happy, but it does fill you with joy – especially with Jesus leading the way! Thanks for sharing at The Loft – you successfully linked up!! 🙂

  4. Jennifer,
    This is a great post! Being a mom is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. On the contrary, I never could anticipated the joy that she has brought into our life.
    I am so happy that I waited until I completely dedicated my life to Christ and was truly happy to get married and have my little girl. The joy of Christ is my life really is what makes me happy. That joy makes those long nights worth it.
    Ok, I need a nap now:-)
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Raising kids is definitely a joy, but definitely not easy. I don’t think that kids are that expensive though.. I believe it depends a lot on how you choose to spend money. We have three kids and I joke that all subsequent kids will be pretty much free because they have so many hand-me-downs!

    1. That is the average, I am sure financially savvy can do it for less, alhtough the figure counts utilities, mortgage or rent for larger houses, groceries, and as they grow into teenagers, the groceries alone are killing us in the summer when we have two teenaged boys! But God has provided so well for us every step of the way.

  6. As the mama of five, I can vouch that this is absolute truth. You are the one who will choose whether you are happy or not. Having a husband or children will not change who you are.

    By the way – though finances can take their toll – Dave Ramsey ALWAYS counsels to not let financial worries to get in the way of having children.

    As a really neat side note, our son and daughter-in-love who have been childless after 4+ years of marriage finally have two sweet little boys whom they are fostering AND she recently discovered that they are expecting a baby in early June.

    1. In my mind, when I advised people to save up, I was picturing a woman on food stamps and assistance for her last five children and another couple of couples I know on the verge of homelessness because they can’t afford their own bills and have added children to that before getting any financial stability and the parents are in deep depression over it. Some children are a surprise and should be welcomed as God’s gift, but if you’re planning your family, knowing the costs and be prepared for that is really important.

  7. So true! My children do make me happy at times, but they are not the WAY to be happy. I need to choose Joy and love, rather than selfishness. Sharing! 🙂

    1. Yes. Children give us moments of happiness, but they are hard work to raise and people have them to be happy end up being really shocked or not prepared to parent well.

  8. Yep. Kids DEFINITELY make life harder. But they are so stinkin cute–they’re hard to resist 🙂

    1. I know it!! If we could have more, i would.

  9. Parenting is the hardest job, but also is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Wonderful post! I like that Romans verse. Not your typical parenting verse, but so fitting nonetheless.

    1. Ai, I agree with you. The Romans verse is very applicable, especially patience! My child frustrates me so much but oh my goodness, it’s crazy how much I enjoy watching him learn and grow.

      1. God made them cute for a reason!

  11. So many of us think if we had this or had that, we’d be happier. We must be happy (content, grateful, etc.) in order to pass it on to our children.

    1. Joyful no matter the circumstance. Exactly.

  12. Shared in such a candid, lovely way! You are so right. Children are individuals, and they will change your life in so many unexpected ways. If you are selfish, can’t handle money and are unable to function without sleep….bless your heart, because you’re in for a REALLY rude awakening. 🙂

    1. Yep. Had kicked my coffee habit until
      Lil Bit came along.

  13. Love this! Needed it after this week…oh, wait, it’s only Tuesday! 🙂

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