This New York cover story is worth a read if you didn't catch it earlier this month. Jennifer Senior sets out to explore the various reasons why, in study after study, young American parents have been shown to be unhappy with their lives. As a new (happy) parent, I was puzzled by this idea, but I also found myself resonating with many of the concerns raised by young parents. Yes, raising a kid is hard, especially when both parents work. If you have children at a later age, like many couples do, you will inevitably miss the creature comforts you enjoyed in your 20s. And can't we do a better job as a nation providing for quality affordable child care?
But I think the article neglects one key aspect of family life that provides great joy to many parents: growing old with your children. Bringing up a child is physically and emotionally exhausting, but in time the rewards can be great. Watching your children mature into adulthood, seeing them have children of their own, enjoying the comfort of their company as you grow frail--these fruits of parenthood are discernible only if you take the long view. Of course, healthy relationships with adult children are, sadly, not always the norm. But parenthood is a far more rich and varied experience than potty training and rides to soccer practice.