Dads Are Happier Than Moms and Singles, Says Psychological Science

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

As I sat across from you and Mommy last Sunday morning for breakfast at The Perch in Nashville, I had an epiphany for the first time since you were born:

“I am happy about my life.”

Since you arrived, Mommy and I have overcome dual unemployment; two moves; one of our cars breaking down in the middle of the 2nd move; buying a new car; the ceiling of our living room caving in; you having a febrile seizure; me almost losing my job last summer; to finally where we are today:


A state of normalcy where I can finally exhale.

I don’t think most dads’ lives were as chaotic as mine when their first child was born, so perhaps I had a late start in getting to the point of coming to the realization of how happy I am about my life … as a parent.

Today as I was listening to my favorite radio station, WAY-FM, I learned about an article in USA Today called, “Are Parents Happier? Dads May Be, But Not Mom, Singles.

I read the article which refers to new research in the journal Psychological Science and I get it; at least in my own head. No one needs to explain to me why research would show that dads are happier than single men, single women, and moms.

Here’s my explanation, as spot-on or dead-wrong as it may be:

I’ve never heard a man say, “All I’ve ever wanted was to be a dad.” Yet, I’ve definitely heard many (if not most?) women say that, in regards to becoming a parent.

While I obviously don’t speak for all or most men, I myself never longed to be a father; I just always knew I would be one.

For me, becoming a dad was something as predictable as getting a job, getting married, and getting old.

I only had generic expectations in regards to being a dad. What I didn’t have were dreamed-about expectations about how complete and meaningful my life would seem once you got here.

But that’s the thing. Honestly, I was surprised by the amount of meaning my life gained once I became a dad two years ago.

It’s like I finally mattered to the universe. Because now I matter to you.





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  1. by Stephen

    On January 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Well let me be the first to say all ive ever wanted to be is a father. But I do agree with your point, I am the only guy I know who feels this way. Hopefully not setting myself up for a fall!

  2. by our website

    On January 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm

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  3. by Kay

    On January 23, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Do these writers not have editors? Blatant typos, syntax. If you’re writing you’re a writer. Write like one.

  4. by Emily

    On January 23, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I understand and can appreciate what you’re saying. Another viewpoint — I am a mom who, much like you, just knew I’d be a mom but never dreamed of it my whole life, or knew what to expect at all. I assumed that when I had my child I’d keep working and be happy with him in daycare, because that’s what my parents did with me. I couldn’t have been more wrong — about my happiness/satisfaction with this scenario. We can’t afford for me to stop working, but all I want to do is be with my son. It is the most horrible feeling in the world. Guilt, feeling like I’m missing out, and most of all: the inherent instinct, dare I say biological need, to be with my infant child, makes me INCREDIBLY sad to have to sit at my desk all day. I know not all mother’s feel this way, but this is why I am less happy than my husband — who has no problem at all working full time.

  5. by Nick Shell

    On January 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm


    Thank you for your comment. You have me thinking now. Perhaps a sequel is in order: ” I know not all mother’s feel this way, but this is why I am less happy than my husband — who has no problem at all working full time.” Good point.


  6. by Nick Shell

    On January 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Hi Kay,

    Thanks for reading “Dads Are Happier Than Moms and Singles, Says Psychological Science” on The Dadabase and finding the typos. Will you do me a favor and point them out to me? I’m pretty sure you’re not an Internet “troll,” who is really a 14 year-old boy who is pranking me, but I just want to be sure. Will you help me? Thanks! -Nick

  7. by Nick Shell

    On January 23, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Kay, I found the typos and syntax issues… I think I fixed them all now. Thanks again for bringing the problem to my attention. Part of the reason I thought you were joking is because it seems there should be a comma after the word “writing” in your comment when you said, “If you’re writing you’re a writer.” -Nick

  8. by Stephen

    On January 24, 2013 at 5:31 am

    If I’m correct (from what I remember reading) his wife is his proof reader. Last time I checked I read these articles for the content, interesting issues and the different perspectives I had never considered before. I don’t read them to pick at slight errors humans make.

    Ignore the trolls, if it was constructive criticism it would have had a constructive aspect to the comment. That’s the general rule I follow.

  9. by Nick Shell

    On January 24, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Stephen, thanks for the support. I appreciate you!