April 28, 2010

"Women appear much less happy when spending time with their children and parents than men do."

Now, how are you going to explain that? I mean, the way you have to, so that women are the good ones and it's the men who are bad.

61 comments:

David said...

JAC link alert--but an interesting one.

I think the problem is looking at this study in isolation.

Women are generally more dissatisfied than men. About everything. Period.

Why is this true?

It's the men's fault, of course.

Pogo said...

Answer:

It's true, so...
Smash the family, the root cause of women's unhappiness.

David said...

"mens'"

t-man said...

The game is too easy.

When women spend time with their children and parents, their minds are selflessly focusing on all of help that those groups require, and the fact that they, unlike their lazy do-nothing husbands, will have to shoulder the burden.

t-man said...

Please note that I posted my comment before following the link.

knox said...

Forget their explanations for the causes: I question the results. How can one possibly measure such a thing? There's nothing more complicated than our feelings about our families.

Pogo said...

Women need families like fish bicycles need fenders.

former law student said...

Women appear much less happy when spending time with their children and parents than men do.

For women that's work time; for men it's play time. Further, women are being graded while men are tolderated. If a kid acts up in public, who receives the public's disapproval?

I have tried to forget all the elaborate prepwork we would do for my grandparents' visits. Just want to point out that if your parents were critical control freaks you'd be stressed out too.

Gordon Freece said...

In terms of seriousness, results in the social sciences are one notch below "blog post", and two above "drunk blog post". I saw a (hic) study somewhere that proved that, with a shample shize of at mosht (hic) one.

Seriously, it's so hard to get meaningful quantitative results in the social sciences that we can't even quantify how to decide which papers are legitimate or not, so people just trust the ones that confirm their priors. It's no accident that in word-association tests, 87.34% of research librarians say "basketweaving" when you say "sociology".

Slow Joe said...

I just plain don't believe this study.

I think women love kids and family, for the most part. Like men.

Perhaps the imbeciles who cooperate with studies like this are not so happy. Perhaps the imbeciles who do studies like this are not so good with numbers.

But I've seen a lot of generalization of women lately as spoiled unhappy low tipping jerks. It's a reaction to the lies we're told about how women are from venus and men are terrible. It's also a load of crap. Sure, there are millions of very easy to notice women who are shrill and ugly and rude and unpleasant. But there are millions (more) of them who are not. And it's just stupid to bother trying to create a rule for all women. If you don't know any women, or really, if you don't know hundreds of women who completely prove these molds wrong, you need to move or change your social routine.

I think most of this is just backlash against the sexism in social fields and media. It's rampant and fairly loud. I'm pretty sire the patriarchy doesn't even exist anymore.

Darcy said...

@Gordon Freece: LOL

I don't buy it either, knox. :)

bearing said...

My guess is that this is very easily explained by time bias. I'll bet women spend more of their non-leisure time in the company of their children and parents, and men spend more of their leisure time in that company.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

The 3900+ people telephone-sampled had an average age of 51.4 years.

The study that produced this output is 40+ pages of turgid pdf text. I interpret that extreme length to mean the results require a lot of justification, meaning the results cannot be generalized. Is my cynicism towards social sciences showing?

Maybe it's the happy people who hang up on the poll takers because they've discovered the secret to happiness: Don't talk to pollsters, and don't care about what other people think.

BJM said...

Unhappy women appear to be the NYT's readership of last resort.

jimbino said...

The Chinese are on the right track when they abort the female fetuses, I imagine.

kathleen said...

"happiness" is not the be all end all for mature adults. Other things are more important and more meaningful. In other words, on their death beds, they'll be happy that they weren't happy.

Scott M said...

@FLS

...oh where to start. I suppose by reconfirming from long ago debates that you are not a parent, if memory serves. So, you can only look at your statements from two points of view; as a child of someone else and as an observer of actual parents. Neither give you a decent base to work from here.

For women that's work time; for men it's play time. Utter bullshit. Let's start with the fact that American men are way way above the curve in regards to housework and child care than most of the rest of the world. Secondly, a two-income family REQUIRES both people pitching in and doing the work. This isn't just about the amount of work I do, it's the amount of work I see just about every other man I'm associated with do. For every slob, couch-potatoe male, I can point to an equal number of completely irresponsible females. Bad parenting and shitty housekeeping knows no gender bounds.

Further, women are being graded while men are tolderated. First, I have no idea what being tolderated is, but let's assume you mean tolerated. Please expand on this statement (assuming my correction) because it...doesn't...make...sense. The screaming kid in the restaurant gains scorn for BOTH parents. Surprise company to a house that's trashed because the parents are too lazy or too busy to have kept up housecleaning during the workweek gains embarrassment for BOTH parents.

Just want to point out that if your parents were critical control freaks you'd be stressed out too. Agreed, but most parents aren't. In fact, most parents just good people that take good care of their kids.

Trying to run down men as some sort of absentee participant in child-rearing is dishonest at best. Make sure you check the decade we're in.

former law student said...

Scott M writes in to say that the patriarchy has been crushed, and societal expectations for women are identical to those of men.

NOW will now become the "National Organization for Persons," and Ms. Magazine will be henceforth known as Ms/r.

HKatz said...

I looked at the graph at the NYTimes blog link.

Please look at the numbers

For time spent with children, for men 10.2% of that time was characterized as unpleasant; for women it was 17.7% of the time.

I don't see how we leap from that to a broad headline regarding women being much less happy around kids. The majority of the time for both sexes, spent with kids, is characterized as pleasant.

HKatz said...

Given the blog titles, I guess I just expected more dramatic percentages.

Slow Joe said...

fls has daddy issues.

Retriever said...

Although this replicates some of the comments in the post you linked to, reasons for this may include:
--women tend to answer such questions more frankly than men
--since women tend to outlive men, visiting family more often means tending to an elderly mother, who is more likely to gripe at a daughter than at a son.

Even when the son is the primary caregiver (as my spouse was), the moms tend to cut them more slack. Because in most of the families I know, the older generation valued their sons more and tended to expect less of them in the way of domestic chores, and make more of a fuss of them when they did any.

I am just as much of a jerk as the next person, not at all selfless, and have no use for feminist twaddle about women being "better" than men. But I belong to a traditional, religious family, where the gender roles have historically been very different, and one can't play Canute with the tides of those differences...

Whether it is self-imposed or not, I am never relaxed when around my family as I am always "on duty". I do all the cooking, gardening, and emotional caregiving, organizing stuff, and tho I usually enjoy it, it can be tiring. It's more or less a job I believe in and am glad to fulfill, but am not always especially gruntled doing...

Of course, I was largely nurtured as a child by a Puritan grandmother who reminded us daily that the point of life is not happiness but to know and serve God, to love others,to do one's duty, keep promises and earn one's keep. She wasn't as grim as that sounds...

I believe that loving one's family is more about service than always being happy. Happiness is something we are sometimes graced with along the way, but should not be the goal.

I spent many years caring for my elderly grandmothers, mother in-law and visiting elderly relatives whom I loved. I was treated very well by all of them and enjoyed their company, chiefly (I think) because I was not their daughter but granddaughter or other less close relative.

In my extended family, those of us daughters who have helped with elderly mothers know that we will be snarked at by them as we are not by other elderly relatives in need of our care, treated less well than our brothers are. Nothing personal, usually.

In general, the men in the family visit very occasionally and are treated like returning conquerors whereas the women change the diapers of their parents and the bandages on sores, and clean up the barf. And get snapped at.

Now I am sure that I will grouse at and be obnoxious to people who see me at my worst when I am old (we would dress up my mother to look pretty for my brother, so he hadn't a clue what it was like the rest of the time, as he was squeamish and wouldn't have been able to bear seeing her in a mess). But that is simply because of sinful human nature: we take for granted those we rely on. Not a good thing, but most of us do it at least occasionally.

Scott M said...

Average-ability snark. Personal attack instead of debating the challenges. Standard stuff, although I thought you were better than that.

This patriarchy that you speak of doesn't exist in my house or an the house of any of the people in successful marriages that I've known in my entire life. In fact, it doesn't really exist at all out here among the proles. Again, check your decade, Mrs. Cleaver. Whatever the segregation of responsibility in a household, it's still a team effort. Give me a household where both aren't pulling their weight (whatever that may be for their marriage) and I'll show you a household that's got a lot bigger problems than just housework and child care.

Stick to the issues at hand.

Lem said...

We are two brothers and four sisters.. it is two of these sisters who are most likely the source of an inevitable sometimes major discord when we all get together.

Pogo said...

Kids are barbarians.
Civilizing them is hard work.
There are laughs, to be sure, and the fealty is treasured.
But for many parents, life ain't been no crystal stair.

It is far easier never to have been so engaged. It's why the Japanese, Italians, and other Europeans are not reproducing.
Let others do the heavy lifting, those dwindling few.

Whatever gave anyone the idea that family interactions were meant to engender personal happiness?

Slow Joe said...

pogo,

I'm sorry raising kids has been challenging for you, but I think it's really not as bad as you make it out to be. I think most of the folks having kids are disproportionately less equipped to do a good job of it. It's just so expensive that smart people wait on that. Maybe that's why it seems so miserable. Raising a kid badly is much more difficult than raising one well. All you need to raise a kid is love. It all comes naturally. You don't really need the help of 'experts' to raise a balanced, kind person.

I think it's so much fun that I feel deep pity for those who never have children, especially those who want to and can't.

I don't know why it's meant to be pleasant, but it is pleasant.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DADvocate said...

For women that's work time; for men it's play time. Utter bullshit.

Amen.

I realize my situation isn't normal because my ex isn't normal and I have the results of the MMPI and other psychological tests to back that up. My youngest son, now 17, has stayed with me 90% of the time for the past 12 years. My 13 year old daughter has made the decision recently to do likewise.

Could that be because I enjoy having my children around while my ex is a complete griping nag? Being a single parent, I do the cooking, dishwashing (by hand, I don't have a dishwaser), laundry, lawnmowing, etc.

Watching people at my kids' schools, sports, etc, I see as many men as women involved in their kids lives. Talking with them, men seem more likely to view it as a joy while women more likely to view it as a task.

But, to liberals, men have no use other than the occasional sperm donation so they have to come up with some twisted logic to make them look bad and women look good.

blogging cockroach said...

yay
we re survivors
one reason is that raising
kids is not a concern
bad evolutionary move those
big heads people

former law student said...

fls has daddy issues.

The vast majority of the time he spent with us was fun and/or interesting, I must admit.

This patriarchy that you speak of doesn't exist in my house or an the house of any of the people in successful marriages that I've known in my entire life.

Let's hear from Mrs. M. Unless she's too busy.

Shanna said...

Forget their explanations for the causes: I question the results. How can one possibly measure such a thing? There's nothing more complicated than our feelings about our families.
Yeah, what is a “u” index anyway? They need to start showing the little pain score thing, with smiley face through frowny face!

It actually sounded like it was more about “stress” than unhappiness, which are different things. I get stressed sometimes when I watch my 3 nephews (all boys, 3 and under!) but that doesn't mean I'm not HAPPY or that I don't enjoy spending time with them. It's just that crying babies are loud. As are 2 year olds. Sheesh.

Scott M said...

So...women are marginally less "happy" about time with family than men and this is somehow news? How about the constant assault on men in general, fathers and husband in particular, that happens every single day in front of millions and millions of people, impressionable young children not the least among them.

Let's hear from Mrs. M. Unless she's too busy.

Oh, I see. It doesn't fit your meme so I must be lying. In point of fact, she IS too busy. She gets them off to school and daycare in the morning. I pick them up and do dinner each evening. We both play with them and get them ready for bed, including bed time stories...which both of us do. I usually do the midnight bottle for the baby and she does the 3 or 4am bottle. While the entire house is our job, keeping the kitchen clean is my job while hers is laundry.

Of course, this doesn't factor in the fact that six months out of the year, those responsibilities remain, but I also have to take care of large, sloping yard we have. My wife simply doesn't have the physical strength to mow our lawn. How does that fit into your narrative? Oh, and try not to just copy/past that last question with a snarky answer and consider it a rebuttal for the entire line of argument...as you are wont to do.

Slow Joe said...

Even if I presume the study is accurate, which would be insane to do, it's a great case where statistics can be used to twist reality.

I bet women who raise kids instead of work a job, usually are much happier people over the course of their lives, even though they also deal with situations of greater stress. Since their job and their work and their chores are closely related to their family, their family is somewhat more stressful even though they derive far more pleasure from it.

A car nut who restores his old Chevelle has more stress when dealing with cars than I do, a person who drives a Honda and has never had to fix a car in his 20 years of driving. But that guy gets MORE pleasure from cars than I do, even though it's possible to twist reality around.

There's a lot of folks who don't want mommy to stay home and raise kids and daddy to bring home the needed wealth. I don't really know why anyone would care that much in today's world, but those folks are out there. I think losing the $35,000 most folks lose if only one person works is more than made up each year if mommy stays home.

For a lot of people that means living in a smaller house, having less stuff, seeing fewer islands, maybe even having a single car. And most of the mother's stress is related to the kids, even though she sees much more happiness and most of her happiness is also related to the kids.

Universities employ armies of people to engineer us away from that, so that we actually need this village they keep talking about. Biden calls government that village, so it's a Godless soulless village that can't actually do anything very well.

Obernai said...

I agree with Dadvocate. I have four kids, and my wife and I share just about everything equally - as our time permits. Including discipline, manners, behavior, etc.
All of our friends are about the same in child-care and household activities.

However, the differences in our family visits with in-laws is really amazing. My wife has an extremely difficult time when her folks are visiting. It is the 'judgemental' parent syndrome to the max. My Dad, on the other hand, just loves to hang out and play with the kids, catch up, etc.

traditionalguy said...

I have read every theory but for the most obviously true one, which is that, Two women living together in one family group breeds trouble fast

Shanna said...

Bad parenting and shitty housekeeping knows no gender bounds.

Sadly, word. But don’t get me started on my SIL. That said, there are still families where the women does more of the childcare work (more women stay home with the kids than men, probably) and I could see that resulting in 17% “unhappiness” (or possibly rather stress) vs. 10%. So, survey says? This is a stupid survey :)

Because in most of the families I know, the older generation valued their sons more and tended to expect less of them in the way of domestic chores

This is my grandmother to a t! At least the last part. Family meals it was always the girls cleaning up and the guys watching football and sitting around! It's not that way in the younger generations though.

edutcher said...

Keep in mind, the is the gray Lady saying this. how much of what she says do we really trust?

HKatz said...

I looked at the graph at the NYTimes blog link.

Please look at the numbers

For time spent with children, for men 10.2% of that time was characterized as unpleasant; for women it was 17.7% of the time.


Figures don't lie, but liars lie with figures.

traditionalguy said...

I have read every theory but for the most obviously true one, which is that, Two women living together in one family group breeds trouble fast

Never forget, the Chinese character for trouble is two women under the same roof.

Pogo said...

Ditto on the experts.

But 'love is all you need,?
I disagree.
It's far more complicated than that.

"Raising a kid badly is much more difficult than raising one well."
WTF??
Any fool can raise a kid badly.
Do you really have kids?
Did you steer them between Scylla and Charybdis?
Easy? Gimme what yer smokin'!!


And screw happiness. Hell, I'm Irish and German. We have celiac disease, a work ethic, rules, and drunkenness.
We didn't get no happiness gene.

Eric said...

The game is too easy.

When women spend time with their children and parents, their minds are selflessly focusing on all of help that those groups require, and the fact that they, unlike their lazy do-nothing husbands, will have to shoulder the burden.


I'm the farthest thing from a feminist, but I have to admit it's easy because there's an element of truth to it.

It's not the whole truth, though. Men spend more time at work, so any family time is bound to be more precious.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What a stupid survey.

The happiness factor is based on your personality: not your gender.

Some women might feel put upon, pressured by family obligations and others revel in the situations. Same thing for men.

I hate this generalizing of people by sex, race, ethnicity, size, .
hair color ...you name it

What is it with people that they want to force us all into neat little boxes?

Skyler said...

It's easy to explain these findings. Any man knows the reason. It's just not polite to say it out loud.

On the other hand, I've yet to find an engineer to measure "happiness" as a repeatable value. Claims that one can measure "happiness" should be met with great suspicion, if not scorn.

Shanna said...

It's easy to explain these findings. Any man knows the reason. It's just not polite to say it out loud.

I don't know that this is terribly polite either. Just spit it out, if you are going to say something like that!

On the other hand, I've yet to find an engineer to measure "happiness" as a repeatable value. Claims that one can measure "happiness" should be met with great suspicion, if not scorn.

So it's easy to explain the results, but the results are probably bunk? I agree with the second part at any rate.

Randy said...

The obvious explanation is that everyone knows that women are twice as likely as men to provide an honest response to such lifestyle questions. Therefore, the 17.7% and 10.2% figures should have been adjusted to 17.7% for women vs. 20.4% for men. IOW, women are significantly more likely to be happy when spending time with their children and parents than men.

Thus, it follows that it is the men who are bad, because they lie more than women and they hate spending time with their children and parents. This means that everything is right once again in the militant feminist world.

[/removing tongue from cheek]

Slow Joe said...

"But 'love is all you need,?
I disagree.
It's far more complicated than that.

"Raising a kid badly is much more difficult than raising one well."
WTF?? "

Well not raising them at all is obviously easier. You just abandon them, but otherwise, yeah, it's a tremendous pain in the ass to raise a child poorly. They become major headaches, from what I've seen. Raising them well, with core values, is incredibly convenient when they are old enough to apply those values. They usually wind up taking care of you, too.

That's what I meant. I realize it's a little bit of a riddle.

Love is all you need, since all the other things, such as food and shelter and time spent teaching is all branching from love.

If you do not raise a child well, and there isn't a seriously great medical explanation, you didn't love them enough. Sometimes love means taking a harder path at the onset, but over the long term, it's simply a drastically easier path.

Some things are just simple. Jane Goodall noticed that good chimp mamas relentlessly dote on their young, and followed that pattern because it's just simple and works well. This isn't the equivalent of spoiling, which is not all that loving and usually just laziness.

Over the long term, most laziness actually is hard damn work.

Randy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randy said...

@edutcher:

Not to be pedantic, but that legendary Chinese word story isn't quite right:

One woman under a roof does = peace, tranquility (安)

Two women together do = verbal quarrel (奻)
[Note: they are NOT under a roof]

Three women together does = adultery (姦)

Slow Joe said...

I know it seems complicated. It's the real world with infinite possibilities and risks, so obviously it's complicated. But if you're loving, just go with that when your kid brings home a biker dude, or wants to eat donuts all day, or cries too much. Or when they don't want to read or can't figure out how to build their lego castle.

If this advice seems unclear, I am very, very sorry. It's crystal clear. Loving a child by believing in them and pushing them and relentlessly showing them affection is hardly work at all compared with trying to apply some psychologist's book and dealing with the disaster.

Pogo said...

I'm with ya, Slow Joe, and know what you mean. I call it prophylactic laziness: do the work now in order to avoid doing twice as much later.

Slow Joe said...

I think the problem is that what I said sounds a lot like the hippies who actually don't love very much at all.

'love is all you need, so don't save Vietnam from communist monsters' is where a lot of people got this love talk. Or the idea that 'tough love' is some kind of breakthrough that isn't normal love. Or that loving a child a lot means just sitting there and feeling good.

Those people who go on and on about love, like the Subaru commercial love, don't really love anyone. They are the litterers and the wasters and people who turn their nose up at charitable causes while asking for forced charity as though Jesus was a socialist.

They are compensating.

Methadras said...

Misandry says what?

former law student said...

Raising them well, with core values, is incredibly convenient when they are old enough to apply those values.

Yes and no. From my neighbors and co-workers I have learned that the best parenting, and the most conscientious walking of the talk, in the world won't prevent you from turning out thugs and slugs. And I am sure some good people are survivors of bad and negligent upbringings.

holdfast said...

In my own experience, women get more nervous and wound up about having their parenting skills judged - far more than is justified. I know that my wife is convinced that my folks are judging her and her childcare skills when we visit, when in reality my folks' brains just turn to mush and they only want to play with their grandson.

Slow Joe said...

"
Yes and no. From my neighbors and co-workers I have learned that the best parenting, and the most conscientious walking of the talk, in the world won't prevent you from turning out thugs and slugs. And I am sure some good people are survivors of bad and negligent upbringings."

Yeah, you need to learn how to read a little more carefully. I know that a lot of great people, and really, a lot of great parents, had shitty parenting. That's a related but different issue. Those people often had a lot of problems before they understood love, and generally, they understand the value of love because they know what it is to not have much.

As to your thugs raised well, you're wrong on being raised well is. I hear that a lot from liberals... but I've seen lots of families that raise their kids well, and they don't have this problem. I see a lot of thugs whose parents swear they raised their kids well, and while I don't know for sure with all of the, the ones for whom I do know, did not actually do a very good job at all... they just think they did.

No, you didn't raise your kid well if he became a drug dealer. Maybe you tell yourself it's not your fault, but while it's the adult offspring's ultimate responsibility to overcome (And some do), it is the parent's fault.

Slow Joe said...

Yeah, there are exceptions. They are exceptional. As I initially said, medically explainable, too.

former law student said...

I see a lot of thugs whose parents swear they raised their kids well

But in one case, I watched these two kids grow up, a couple doors down from me, in a three-generation home. One became a model citizen, thoughtful, hardworking, and kind, just like his folks. The other became a tweeker and a burglar -- just like no one else in the whole fucking family.

Oligonicella said...

I'm with fls. No more than terrible parents ensure a terrible offspring do wonderful parents ensure a wonderful offspring.

All you're doing, Slow Joe, is insisting "yeah, well there's stuff you don't know" and frankly, neither do you. Expressing your opinion as if it were fact doesn't render it so. In the case of humanity, the sheer volume of examples makes any blanket statement at best a generalization with many exceptions.

Slow Joe said...

Sorry you feel that way.

I don't mean to imply there's some mystical secret to what I'm saying, or that I'm some kind of family expert. I'm actually claiming the exact opposite.

While bad parents can lead to good kids, because people are smart enough to overcome sometimes, good parents do not lead to bad kids unless some exceptional thing happened (And as I said, that can happen, but some kind of explanation exists). Perhaps the kid has a serious material problem, or was abused outside their home, or had some strange calamity (but good parenting usually is way more than enough to handle these problems).

FLS is a colossal idiot, so don't take too much comfort in what he claims. If your kids are screwed up, even if you think you did everything right... you probably didn't. I've seem so many people who do a terrible job raising their kids and think they are amazing parents. Maybe I'm crazy, but my ideas have worked very well and would work well for you.

It's probably too late to fix your mistakes, so I guess you might as well pretend kids just randomly become thugs so you can sleep better... I guess that goes along with the kind of person who doesn't automatically understand what I'm saying.

Slow Joe said...

One failed counter example: But these parents raised these good kids and also that thug drug dealer. they must have been good parents who had a bad seed.

No, they weren't good parents. The good kids overcame. Often good people with bad parents rely on eachother and grow to become good people with some issues they deal with.

But I've seem so many examples of 'they had good parents and were bad seeds', and it's always bad parents that appear good.

Freeman Hunt said...

Seems like drugs are almost always involved when good parents turn out bad kids. Young people who get on certain drugs, meth for example, turn into different people.

Whatever happened to the 'Just Say No' campaign? That was great.

former law student said...

But I've seem so many examples of 'they had good parents and were bad seeds', and it's always bad parents that appear good.

Let me know when your book, Parenting, the Slow Joe Way comes out.