We were driving in my mother's car on the way to the mall when she dropped a bombshell on me.
We were in the midst of one of our typical discussions about my father -- they always vacillated between her railing against him and then proclaiming that she still loved him -- when she said, quite frankly, "You know, I had you so that I could save our marriage. Your father didn't want kids, but I thought it would bring us closer."
I'll never forget that Saturday afternoon drive. I was 11. My parents had separated about two years after I was born; they were granted a divorce (ironically) on the day of my fifth birthday.
The topic has always been a somewhat sensitive subject for me, which is why I almost hit the roof when I read this little nugget about one of the darling Kardashian sisters this morning: According to "someone close" to Kourtney Kardashian, "She is desperate to keep her family intact and thinks having another child together with Scott Disick will make him more responsible, and help him rein in his boozing and out-of-control anger. Kourtney thinks that Scott's problem is lack of focus and structure. He was at his best and most attentive when she was pregnant and right after she gave birth."
I'm not saying that the 31-year-old Kardashian is the brightest celebrity out there, but I have one thing to say: What are you thinking?!
Have we learned nothing from our mothers and our mothers' mothers about how adding to your brood actually increases
your chances of marital problems? Just last week, people were all up in arms -- especially the mommy blogs -- about an article that came out in New York magazine
called "All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting."
Perhaps the most enlightening passage from the piece: "Most people assume that having children will make them happier. Yet a wide variety of academic research shows that parents are not happier than their childless peers, and in many cases are less so.
This finding is surprisingly consistent, showing up across a range of disciplines. Perhaps the most oft-cited datum comes from a 2004 study by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize–winning behavioral economist, who surveyed 909 working Texas women and found that child care ranked 16th in pleasurability out of 19 activities. (Among the endeavors they preferred: preparing food, watching TV, exercising, talking on the phone, napping, shopping, housework
.) This result also shows up regularly in relationship research, with children invariably reducing marital satisfaction.
That's right. Some mothers actually said that they'd rather scrub the toilet.
But the more important point here is that women like Kardashian -- if what's being reported about her is true -- are clearly already aware that their relationships are in trouble. Yet their solution to the problem is to cause even more trouble, not just for themselves but the kids who are conceived with the misguided hope that they will become some sort of miraculous mommy-daddy glue. There may be a few instances in which this maybe, possibly, keeps a marriage intact, at least for a little while, but I have yet to read a ground-breaking stat or report that touts "Having Babies Halves the Divorce Rate."
I mean, really. Next we'll be reading that Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston have reconciled and plan to get married. What's that? Celebrity bible Us Weekly is reporting that the Alaskan love-hate sweethearts are engaged
? I wonder how this is going down with Mama Grizzly, Sarah Palin. Maybe they'll decide to have another kid down the road to save their