The economist Andrew Oswald, who's compared tens of thousands of Britons with children to those without, is at least inclined to view his data in a more positive light: "The broad message is not that children make you less happy; it's just that children don't make you more happy." That is, he tells me, unless you have more than one. "Then the studies show a more negative impact." As a rule, most studies show that mothers are less happy than fathers, that single parents are less happy still, that babies and toddlers are the hardest, and that each successive child produces diminishing returns. But some of the studies are grimmer than others. Robin Simon, a sociologist at Wake Forest University, says parents are more depressed than nonparents no matter what their circumstances--whether they're single or married, whether they have one child or four.
I mean, you have to think about the scale they are using here. How can you gauge happiness anyways? Isn't that pretty subjective? What does this researcher mean by "happy" in this study? Is that in reference to having pleasure or to having a more lasting joy and contentment? Does it mean you value you life? Does being "happy" mean you are just generally cheerful from day to day or that your life is "hassle-free"? Is that what brings happiness? Just a lack of distress?
I guarantee the life of a parent is FULL of distress -- but it's distress FOR A PURPOSE and that kind of distress is different. Plus I think most parents would agree that the joys of motherhood/fatherhood outweigh the trials. Good parents would anyways. That's another consideration -- how many of these parents are actually GOOD parents? How many of these families are GOOD families? And how many of these parents are selfish? How many of these families are broken? How many simple "stumbled" into parenthood? This "data" is TOTALLY subjective. (Just like most data.)
Family units as they are MEANT to be and parents as the SHOULD be were designed to bring us the greatest challenge and the greatest joy of mortality (read the Proclamation to the World on family).
What matters most is what last the longest. Nothing on this earth can last longer than the bonds of family. Plus the work of parenthood is a Godly work -- the Lord's "work and glory" is after all us, His family.