Good news for the never-ending mommy wars: working moms and stay-at-home moms are equally happy. The not-so-good news for parents though? A & Yahoo Parenting Happiness Survey found that people without children are happier than parents. However, the findings also show that not only do more than half of the child-free think they’d be happier as parents, but a majority of parents feel happier now that they do have children.

Commissioned by (NYSE: CRCM,, the world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care, and Yahoo Parenting, a leading online destination for parenting-related news and advice, the findings are the result of surveying nearly 1800 people to uncover how the impact of their work, parenting or relationship status affected their happiness.


The Impact of Having Kids on Happiness:

How Happy are Parents and People Without Kids? An overwhelming majority of people without children are happy (91%) compared to parents (81%). In addition, the child-free are more likely to say they’re “very happy” than parents (29% vs. 17%). Despite this fact, 54% of the child-free think they’d be happier if they were a parent, and approximately 1 in 3 parents (30%) think they’re actually happier than those without kids.

What Affects a Parent’s Happiness? From frequently feeling tired (45%) and stressed (40%) to never feeling rested (10%), the hard work of parenting can take its toll. In fact, 70% of parents say they’re more stressed now that they have children and 29% cry more often now too. It’s no wonder that parents are more likely to never exercise (13%), go to the movies (40%), or do volunteer work (47%) than those without children. Combine that with the fact that the majority of parents (60%) say their happiness level frequently adjusts based on their children’s happiness, and being a parent can be an emotional roller coaster.

Do Parents Feel They’re Happier Now That They Have Kids? 62% of parents say they’re happier now compared to life before children. In fact, a majority of parents (81%) of parents say they no longer define happiness the same way now that they have kids.

“Once you’re a parent, your priorities and source of happiness completely changes,” said Katie Bugbee, senior managing editor and global parenting expert at “Our survey found that although parents are more worried and stressed, their children make them the happiest than they’ve ever been and they’re actually the number one source of happiness. It’s a more realistic feeling because so much of a parent’s happiness is dependent on their children and they know that their emotions can suddenly shift.”

So although parents may not experience excitement as frequently as people without kids, a majority (67%) still frequently experiences joy, and the importance of things like excitement, being well respected, and a sense of belonging become less important.

How Does Having Kids Affect Your Career? Parents are less likely to say they’re “very” motivated in their career (36%) compared to employees without children (50%). In fact, what makes parents the happiest about their job is the hours, whereas employees without kids say it’s the rewarding work. Yet, an overwhelming majority of employees with and without kids rate themselves at “excellent” or “very good” at their job. Where these two groups also differ is what employers could do to increase their happiness the most. After a salary increase, parents rate better benefits that give them more family time as a key to work happiness, while employees without children identify unlimited vacation days as  one of the top three ways.

The Impact of Working on a Parent’s Happiness:

How Happy are Working Parents and Stay-at-Home Parents? The happiness quotient ranks fairly equally across working and stay-at-home parents (92% and 87% respectively). However, stay-at-home parents are more likely to feel “very happy” (20%) than working parents (16%), as well as slightly more likely to say they’re less happy now that they have children (10%) compared to working parents (7%).

How Do Stay-at-Home Parents Feel About Life? Although a majority of stay-at-home parents are happy, they are a bit more likely to frequently feel lonely (17%) and bored (19%) than working parents (8%, respectively). 17% of stay-at-home parents also say they’re unhappier than their friends compared to 11% of working parents, and they’re three times more likely to not like themselves than working parents (9% vs. 3%). However, approximately half of stay-at-home parents (52%) are very satisfied with their life.

“Whether you’re a working parent, stay-at-home parent or child-free, it’s important to identify your priorities and establish what makes you happy," says Yahoo Parenting editorial director Lindsay Powers. "Our survey states that the majority of working parents find it difficult to balance career and family.  As a working mom, my top priority is defining what my work/life balance looks like, being open as that changes, and letting go of the guilt that comes with trying to juggle everything."

What’s the Ideal Work Situation for Parents? A majority of all parents say they’d prefer to work (81% working parents and 60% stay-at-home parents), and believe that working part-time is the ideal work scenario. But work status doesn’t impact how parents perceive themselves in the parenting role with approximately 1 in 4 working parents and stay-at-home parents rating themselves as “excellent”.

How Does Work Affect Working Parents? The unhappiest time of the day for working parents is when they go to work. With the majority of working parents (86%) saying it’s difficult to balance the responsibilities of work and family life, it’s no surprise that 41% say they don’t spend enough time with their children. Meanwhile, 27% of stay-at-home parents say they spend too much time with their children.

How Does Working Part-Time or Full-Time Affect Your Career and Stress? Full-time working moms and part-time working moms are equally motivated when it comes to their career (84%); however, full-time working moms are more likely to say they’re “very motivated” (37% vs. 28%). Full-time working moms are also more likely to say it’s “very difficult” to balance work and family life than part-time working moms (38% vs. 25%), which may be why full-time working moms are more likely to frequently feel stressed than them (43% vs. 35%).

Additional Insights
-        1 in 5 people without children (20%) say they don’t want to have kids.
-        91% of people say they’re happy; 23% say they’re happier than their friends.
-        Besides spending more time together, the number one thing men say would make them happiest is “more sex”, whereas for women, it’s “more money”.
-        71% of people think part-time working moms are happiest; 61% of people think full-time working dads are happiest.
-        54% of men think full-time working dads would be happiest, and 12% of men think stay-at-home dads would be happiest. In fact, 35% of men say working part-time would be their ideal work situation.

About the & Yahoo Parenting Happiness Survey
The & Yahoo Parenting Happiness Survey captured responses from approximately 1800 people in the United States during the month of April 2015. Respondents were recruited from and Yahoo Parenting.

For more information about the survey or to find tips on how to be happier, visit