Sorry, Mom. I didn't listen.

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How many children lead to happiness?

People love to ask me if I’ll have another child. (I try to look at that as a compliment to my awesome parenting skills and not as an invasion of privacy.) My answer is very diplomatic and a little enigmatic, in that we would love a second child if one came along, but we are not currently planning to have one.

So, our son is an only child. And he’s happy about it, because he knows he doesn’t have to share Mommy and Daddy with anyone else, and he has our full attention. He has security in knowing that he is my favorite child.

What I didn’t realize is that having only one child might lead to more happiness for me and my husband. The London School of Economics and Political Science in collaboration with Western University in Canada published a study which suggests that first and second children increase a parent’s happiness, at least temporarily. A third child or more, however, has a negligible effect on happiness.

In addition to the number of children, age plays a factor in parental happiness as well – older first-time parents (aged 35-49) seemed to be happier overall.

I read all this information, still with the niggling thought in the back of my head of what life would be like if my son had a sibling. Studies show that siblings change us – sometimes for better or worse. And we’ve all heard stories from adults who are best friends with their brother or sister. But it’s not a guarantee.

My Mom always wanted six children. I wonder what that would have done to her happiness level. What about you? Share with me in the comments.

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