The role of parents is ever-evolving and today it's more common to see a 50/50 parenting partnership between spouses than ever before (or, well, at least a 40/60). Gone are the days where women are expected to do everything thanks to grocery delivery and Amazon Prime.
Because of this evolution, it turns out that parents today are significantly happier than parents were 20 years ago. Researchers at the University of Zurich teamed up with sociologists to explore how the change in parenting responsibilities and expectations of a woman have impacted overall happiness, and the results are promising!
Between 1984 and 2015, more than 18,000 women and nearly 12,000 men were surveyed on how they feel about parenting. Today, it's common to hear that parents are under immense pressure, particularly after the great recession, and they regret having children because it only adds to the pressure. The researchers' findings tell a very different story, though.
It seems that back in the 1980s, women were significantly less happy with motherhood. One reason the study noted was that, at the time, it was "taboo" to discuss the challenges and hardships of motherhood. Everyone pasted on a smile and pretended that being a mother was nothing but pure bliss (women today know better!). Another reason moms, in particular, were less happy back then is because many of them didn't have much of a choice in the matter. By and large, they were expected to have a family and stay home with the kiddos while their partner went to work. Now, women have a lot more of a choice in whether or not they stay home with their kids and whether or not they want to start a family at all.
For men, the parenting evolution has been helpful in other ways. Back in the '80s they were expected to bring home the bacon and that was the sole purpose of their identity. Now, men are encouraged to create strong emotional bonds with their kids and it's becoming more and more common for businesses to support new dads with time off for paternity leave (some companies even provide paid time off).
The biggest takeaway that the researchers noted is that with the increase in happiness of parents, that will eventually lead to happier, healthier children as well. The evolution of parenthood has the potential to leave everyone happier than ever before.