Friday, July 18, 2008

Solo Parenting & thoughts on children's effects on parents' happiness

Lee flies to Las Vegas this afternoon, and then I'm on my own with Alex and Cori for the weekend, more or less.

I need to buy food, edit board game rules, finish cutting out Atolla Modulis, do some cleaning, etc., in preparation for a party tomorrow. Augh.

All this reminds me of this Kottke post about studies showing that having kids is correlated with being less happy. Also of this Woot-derived picture series of a wolf spider carrying around a bunch of baby wolf spiders.

If I didn't have kids, I wouldn't have had to arrange for a babysitter, and would have just gone to the regular Houston Gamers meeting, rather than trying to host a competing event at my house. Of course, I'd also have another hundred grand in my pocket, between Lee's lost wages and daycare costs not incurred. On the other hand, coming home from work and being greeted by my lovelies Alex Malix, Cori Cori Allegory, and Long Tall Daria is really something.

Also, parenting causes sleep disruption, which can lead to all kinds of mental effects. For that reason, along with the additional financial and emotional stress of children, it's not surprising that depression is higher in adults with children than the child-free adults.

I'll also agree with the original Kottke-linked article that our society doesn't have an adequate support network built in. Both parents work and kids get sick? Burn all your combined sick days and then hope you have a relative around since the daycare won't take them. Our daycare posted a passive-aggressive note recently, reminding everyone that giving your child a fever reducer and bringing them to daycare exposes all the children to illness. As a coda to that, the girls have been sick fewer days in the summer, since fewer kids are in daycare right now. There'll be another upswing once school starts again. That's only one example of how the support network sucks for parents.

I guess I'm lucky we're only going to pay a few thousand dollars for childcare this year, Daria notwithstanding.


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