Maureen Dowd asks why women seem unhappier today than ever in her New York Times column over the weekend. Are they unhappier? Women today seem way happier than the defeated and bitter Betty Draper on Mad Men. But the General Social Survey, which has tracked Americans’ moods since 1972, along with five other major studies, show women have become more dissatisfied while men are becoming happier. (Black women, interestingly, are a little happier since 1972, but still not as happy as black men.)
The number of distractions we have today correlated with women's rising unhappiness. The biggest distraction? Children. “Across the happiness data, the one thing in life that will make you less happy is having children,” Betsey Stevenson, professor and coauthor of a paper called “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness" told Dowd. “It’s true whether you’re wealthy or poor, if you have kids late or kids early."
Stevenson concedes she doesn't know one mother who said she wished she never had kids, but knowing kids aren't all bundles of joy could make you feel more confident should you decide to opt out. How do you feel about having children?
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