In a British study of over 2,000 parents, families with two daughters rated themselves happier than those with any other combination of kids. It’s possible to get too much of a good thing, though. Families with four daughters were the least happy.
I have two daughters, so of course I was delighted to see the headlines this study produced. Yay! My family is (statistically speaking) as happy as they come! Let’s party.
I had to crack up when I saw the reasons why two daughters are the recipe for familial joy, though.
According to the Telegraph, daughters are just easier to care for, and that makes everyone happier. They write:
…two girls make for the most harmonious family life as they are unlikely to fight, will play nicely and are generally a pleasure to be around.
It also emerged two girls rarely annoy their parents, make limited noise, often confide in their parents and are unlikely to wind each other up or ignore each other.
Excuse me while I dissolve in laughter again. Clearly these researchers have never met my daughters.
They stampede around the house like a hoard of elephants from the moment they roll out of bed until they jump up and down on the mattresses at bedtime. They play crazy made-up songs on the piano, get paint in their hair and on the walls, redecorate my study with hand-drawn polar bears and practice singing in the shower. At their less charming moments, they beat each other with toys when they don’t get their way, whine about every little thing the other one does, and generally behave like feral little monsters. Like all children I have ever known.
I find them annoying. Not always, but more than “rarely”.
They have their sweet sides, too, of course. They do play nicely, for whole minutes at a time. They are a pleasure to be around if you like children. It’s true that they often confide in me. I know their wishes, dreams and favorite foods. I know in painful detail why one pink princess gown is better than another, and what they think the moon does when we are all sleeping. They are the lights of my life.
But they’re not easy. And my joy in raising them doesn’t come from their good behavior or how easy it is to parent them. It comes from seeing them grow into two independent, messy, creative, joyful, sometimes difficult people. I get it from listening to their piano “concerts” and sitting patiently through polar-bear-drawing lessons. From watching them enthusiastically “clean” the house and then immediately spread their toys all over it again. From living side by side with them in all their noisy glory.
Photo: All-seeing Angler