Tag Archives: Happiness Is…

Science proves becoming a parent sucks the happiness out of life

Someone recently told me I changed 5 years ago, for the worse. I wondered what could have happened that would have turned me into a horrible person, when it dawned on me- 5 years ago I had a kid!

The reality of parenthood, taken 30 seconds after the first, Thanksgiving 2012

The reality of parenthood, Thanksgiving 2012

That was the end of sleep/sleeping in/getting enough sleep, having nice things, cleaning only your own poo, leisurely meals, peaceful car trips, etc. The lack of sleep alone is enough to make people irritable and irrational, never mind the crying. I think most parents would agree that having a kid was a profound, and possibly irreversible, life change.

Et voila! Science proves it.

It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment — even the death of a partner

Life has its ups and downs, but parenthood is supposed to be among the most joyous. At least that’s what the movies and Target ads tell us.

In reality, it turns out that having a child can have a pretty strong negative impact on a person’s happiness, according to a new study published in the journal Demography. In fact, on average, the effect of a new baby on a person’s life in the first year is devastatingly bad — worse than divorce, worse than unemployment and worse even than the death of a partner.– The Washington Post

Parenthood is, in its way, worse than getting divorced, losing your job, or the death of a partner. Read it and weep (or perhaps I should say keep weeping if you’re already there).

I can’t imagine being a single parent, or not having the choice whether or not to have a child. Even at the lowest points, at least Mac and I could fall back on, “We got ourselves into this mess.”

It may be a choice to procreate, the end result may be positive, and parents may not choose to change anything, but parenting is freakin’ hard. Especially that first one.

So, on behalf of parents everywhere, apologies that we couldn’t be sunshine and roses when sleep-deprived and devoid of free time. Sincere thanks for folks who tolerated us and supported us during that transition.

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Happiness is… dancing!

This is Mabel rocking out to the live band at the fair this past weekend.  It made/makes me so happy to watch her enjoying herself- and watching all the people around us laugh hysterically at her antics.

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Family Vacation: Lewes, DE

Happiness is… old friends and new beginnings.

Facebook is a wonderful thing.  It’s put me back in touch with my best friend from middle school.  As chance would have it, she’s also married with a baby.  There are other similarities- our husbands have the same first name, our babies are both January babies, her husband is a scientist, and a bunch of other things that make their family a great match for ours.

Anyway, she invited us down to their family’s beach house in Lewes, DE for a weekend.  It was a really long drive from NY, but so worth it.

Lewes is gorgeous!  I love the old houses, the architecture, the sidewalks, the little shops, all beautiful.

I wound up taking the day off from work the Friday we were heading down (I wrote about it here) which meant we arrived around 7:30pm.  We rather quickly got the little ones to bed and settled at the huge dining room table for some Wits And Wagers"".  It was a lot of fun.

The next morning we got an early start and headed over to the Historic Lewes Farmers Market for their Tomato Festival.  It was really lovely.  If we didn’t have such a long, unrefrigerated, drive back to NY, I definitely would have stocked up.  Instead we got a pint of cherry tomatoes, the variety I cannot recall, and a gorgeous bunch of flowers that I just could not pass up.

As usual, Mabel was a big hit.  Using her adorable looks and charm to get a free flower and a taste-test of a cherry tomato.

Seeing as we’re now boring parents with a toddler, the afternoon was rather low-key, with some splashing in the yard, followed by naps.

After naps, we had plans to head for the beach.  We’d packed our lawn chairs, umbrella, and other beach paraphernalia; however, the weather wasn’t cooperating.  It was quite overcast and threatening rain.  So, we decided to just walk down to the beach and enjoy what we could.  It was about 1 mile to the beach, and a pleasant walk through the quaint town.  Mabel loved the water, and it was hard to keep her out of it!  We made it back to the house just as the raindrops started to pour down.  Perfect timing!

Dinner that night was had after the littles were put to bed.  We dined on burgers and hot dogs, grilled veggies, and a delicious orzo salad that I should post the recipe for soon.  A meal with adults, and no kids was such a nice change of pace!  If only my friend and her hubby weren’t in DC!

We stayed up late playing more Wits And Wagers as well as Balderdash The Game"" (which is different and more fun than the old Balderdash that was just about bluffing word definitions).  Mac and I really enjoyed both games and put them on our wish lists for future purchase.  We laughed so much that our sides hurt.  If we hadn’t all been imagining waking up at the crack of dawn with our kids, we probably would have been up all night.

The next day was departure day, and we had a long drive.  So we took a quick stroll through town, did some window shopping, and said our goodbyes.  The drive back was hard- even taking the Cape May-Lewes Ferry didn’t feel like much of break.

However, we had so much fun that it was completely worth it.  It was so nice to find a couple that we meshed with and be able to get away for a weekend.  They’ve invited us down again, and I can’t wait to take them up on the offer.  We hope to return the kindness and have my friend and her family up to our cabin in the Catskills.

I’m planning to print up a few of the photos to frame and send as a thank you.  I have to hurry up since it’s been almost a month since we were down there!

It’s so funny to remember back to the 5th grade girls we once were- now both moms and wives.  Thanks Facebook!

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Happiness Is… burning off steam after a hurricane

Mac, Mabel and myself are very fortunate to have suffered merely cabin fever with Hurricane Irene.  We never lost power, nothing was damaged, everyone was safe.  Other than a more convoluted commute through Westchester, we’re unaffected.

Our neighbors in the Catskills were not nearly as fortunate.  Our family cabin in Big Indian, NY was spared, but our valley there was nearly destroyed when the Esopus overran its banks and literally changed its course.  Residents and visitors to the Valley spent several days completely isolated by washed out bridges and roads.  Homes were destroyed, cars were washed away.  The Full Moon Resort where Mac and I were wed almost 3 years ago had an entire wedding reception stranded there until yesterday.

The Watershed Post has been extensively covering the destruction in that area, and the scope of it is upsetting.  Seeing my valley ravaged, breaks my heart.

However, in this case, happiness is knowing that we can rebuild, that no lives were lost in our valley, that our neighbors pulled together and took care of themselves (even facilitating their own rescue by hot-wiring some county machinery and repairing the road themselves!).  So, we will labor this Labor Day and do what we can to help our neighbors.

To end on a lighter note, this is Mabel on Sunday, on our hurricane-ready deck cleared of furniture, burning off the all the energy she had left-over from a stormy day locked in the house.

She is happy, and she knows it…

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Happiness is… not missing out.

Last week I took Friday off from work.

I had been on vacation the week before.

I felt really guilty and conflicted about taking the day.

The reason for taking the day off was simple- Mabel had a doctor’s appointment, Mac had a dentist’s appointment, my parents weren’t available to babysit Mabel, and we had planned to leave after work to drive down to Delaware for the weekend.  If I took the day off, I could go with Mabel to her appointment,  take her to the park while Mac was at the dentist, and then we could hit the road early and get to Delaware at 7pm instead of 11pm.

I had plenty of vacation time- even after the previous week’s vacation.  I’ve only met her pediatrician ONCE- because I’m always at work so Mac (who is a stay at home dad) takes her.  I never get to take her to the park, the library, the doctor.  I’m always at work.  There was nothing pressing at work- my technician could always text or call me if something came up.  Why was I feeling guilty about being away from the lab?  Was my guilt about missing work going to outweigh the guilt of missing even more time with my gal?

You always read about how many vacation days go unused every year in America.  I don’t want to be one of those people.

So…

Mabel was a champ at the doctor- some tears for the vaccinations that were quickly forgotten.  We dropped Mac at the dentist.  We hit up the park.  We had fun watching an ant (Mabel kept saying, “Bee!” because all bugs are bees right now), birds, picnicking by the pond.  We had a great time.

Then, we picked up a numb and mumbling Mac and hit the road for Delaware… but that’s another post.

Happiness is… pretending to be a stay at home mom for the morning.  Like I’ve said before, it’s like being on vacation!

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Happiness is… singing Itsy Bitsy Spider

Happiness is… singing Itsy Bitsy Spider, in the rain, in front of an actual water spout, on vacation!

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Alison Krauss and Union Station!

Last night was awesome!  I went with my mother and sister to see Alison Krauss and Union Station at the Ives Concert Park.

I had seen AKUS (Alison Krauss and Union Station for the un-indoctrinated) once before, several years ago in New York at The Beacon and couldn’t wait to see them again.

All the group members sing and play instruments so whether it was a traditional blue grass instrumental, an a cappella spiritual, or a bluesy ballad, all were amazing.

I’m not sure how well known they are outside of bluegrass/country music fans, but some of you may recognize Dan Timmons as the voice of George Clooney’s character in O’ Brother Where Art Thou.  I must say that after being a fan of his for many years, it was bizarre to immediately recognize his voice coming out of George Clooney!

Alison Krauss has performed with James Taylor, Robert Plant, Yo Yo Ma, and so many other talented musicians I couldn’t list them all here.  However, possibly her most popular song is this one- which I think might just be the most perfect wedding song ever written.

The opening act, Dawes was fabulous.  I love their voices, their harmonies, wonderful.  I will definitely be tracking down their music and anticipate hearing them on the radio in the future.  Several of their songs really struck me, perhaps none as much as this one…

The downside for people thinking about attending a concert at The Ives Concert Park-  I wasn’t thrilled with the Ives, the traffic flow was bad (meaning it took my mom and sister about 40min from the entrance of the campus to their seats), the parking was terribly far from the venue, the shuttle mentioned on the website didn’t actually exist, the reserved seating area only had one tiny gate to enter/exit, the sound wasn’t very good, and the only toilets were porta-potties.  Also, perhaps because it was outside, there were lots of rude people.  I’m not really sure why the group behind us paid $75 for reserved seats just to sit and talk loudly all through the concert (despite lots of dirty looks from everyone in the vicinity and being politely asked to stop talking).  I’m not sure I’d see another concert there.

That said, the night was great.  Hearing such wonderful music, and hearing it with my mom and my sister was great.

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