When I imagine my ideal future, I see a wonderful husband who is my best friend, three kids we shower with love and a great career.
Obviously, the odds of having all three are not too high. But the one part of that dream that has always been a non-negotiable for me has been the kids. It's something I've always seen as a necessary key to my own personal happiness.
But, apparently, giving up on that dream wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for me. Turns out, as an American citizen and resident, I might have been wrong about the whole kids making me happy thing.
Scientists from Baylor University, University of Texas in Austin and Wake Forest University came together to look into data on parental happiness from the U.S. along with 22 other industrialized countries.
Their analysis of statistics from the International Social Surveys and the European Social Surveys revealed that not only are U.S. parents more unhappy than non-parents, but the U.S. also has the largest gap in happiness between the two groups.
In their report, set to be published in the September issue of the American Journal of Sociology, the scientists delved into the possible reasons behind the large happiness disparity in the U.S.
Co-researcher Dr. Matthew Anderson, an assistant professor of sociology at Baylor, credits the unhappiness of U.S parents to the lack of standardized workplace policies geared towards helping parents.
In a press release, he explained his belief that the lack of standard paid leave -- or any sort of standard vacation/sick leave in support of raising a dependent child -- leaves the U.S. "strikingly behind" all of the other countries in terms of providing for the happiness and overall wellbeing of a parent.
Kind of a boner kill, I know.
But there's a bright side. In other news, the study found that Americans are generally very happy people. On a scale of one-10, we tended to rate ourselves in the eight to 10 range. This is huge compared to people in France who generally rated themselves in the five to seven range. Wahoo, go us.