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Amok Mama: Do kids make you happy?

One of the biggest myths surrounding parenthood is this happiness malarkey, says Jacinta Nandi. Kids don't make you happy. They make you tired, angry, lonely, poor. They make you get up at six o'clock in the bloody morning. And if you're lucky, they sometimes make you laugh, too.

Probably one of the worst things about parenthood is having to listen to all those people who are better parents than you banging on about how “happy” “motherhood” “makes them.” Oooooh, there aren’t enough inverted commas in the English language. Pukerama.

“I have a friend,” a dude I met in a bar said to me once, “and when his daughter wakes up on a Sunday morning he just puts on Kika and goes back to bed!” I put on my best shocked face, but really I was just shocked that he considered this an anecdote worth telling.

“I mean, I just don’t know why he had a child if he doesn’t want to spend time with her,” he continued. “I mean, spending time with your children should make you feel happy, shouldn’t it.”


The truth is, kids don’t make you happy. They make you tired, exhausted, worn out, empty. They make you so angry you actually have to start blinking really fast to stop your head imploding. They make you poor. They make you get up at six o’clock in the morning to give them breakfast. They make you buy them football stickers and Kellogg’s variety packs of cereal and Smarties. They make your life, basically, a bloody misery.

Still, they do make you laugh sometimes. Rico has been, and this, unfortunately, is the absolutely official term for it, sorry, Totally Fucking Hilarious this World Cup. There was the game he danced naked in front of the mirror, singing “I love Germany, coz Germany is beautiful, and then I, too, am beautiful, coz I’m a German boy!” The way he always nodded sagely every time someone shot a goal and went “Good shot.” And then said it again when they re-showed it. The fact that he hated Kaka coz his name was “eklig”. Or the Germany-England game. He cried when the goal wasn’t allowed. At 3-1, he said: “Mum, I am only a little bit sad, because I am half-German, and so I am actually meant to be for both teams.” By 4-1, he said: “Actually, Mum, I was born in Germany, so I think I should mainly be for Germany and you’re meant to be for the land where you were born there.” Or last night, after Spain scored, when he gasped, and whispered: “Mum!” True shock in his voice, shock and awe, maybe: “The octopus was right!”

Kids. They don’t make you happy. But I tell you what. They do make World Cups more bloody enjoyable.