This odd business of parenting
The artist Gwen John when in middle age told a friend: "When I was a child I used to cry all the time and they told me 'don't cry now, when you're grown up you'll have something to cry about'. So I was afraid of growing up and I never expected any happiness in life." (p.1)
So much for the grand old days of childrearing.
This reminded me of an article (sorry free registration required) in The New York Times about a study looking at "What Makes People Happy?". Peculiarly the main answer was TV, but "taking care of children - bless their young hearts - is often about as much fun as housework". (Don't you love the way the reporter felt he had to insert that sentimental clause.)
"The study, of 909 women living in Texas, found that in general, the group woke up a little grumpy but soon entered a state of mild pleasure that increased by degrees through the day, punctuated by occasional bouts of anxiety, frustration, and anger. Predictably, they found that commuting, housework, and facing a boss rated as the least pleasant activities, while sex, socializing with friends and relaxing were most enjoyable.
Yet contrary to previous research on daily moods, the study found that the women rated TV-watching high on the list, ahead of shopping and talking on the phone, and ranked taking care of children low, below cooking and not far above housework."
It makes sense really; the people you see in public looking really miserable are almost invariably in charge of children.
(Thanks to Rox Populi for the reference.)