Daniel Gilbert does an article on fatherhood in anticipation of Father's Day in Time Magazine (Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?). He makes an interesting comparison between parenthood and being addicted to heroin. Parenthood generally makes people more unhappy most of the time. It's just that day to day parenting only makes you a little more unhappy, while the few good experiences make a person really, really happy - kind of like how being a heroin addict is generally an unhappy experience, but the pleasurable rush of heroin makes an addict forget about his general level of unhappiness. A few extreme pleasures or miseries stick in a person's mind a lot better than a dull low-level unhappiness. People are generally willing to pay dearly for things that bring happiness. Sometimes, that instinct gets reversed and people believe paying dear prices makes a thing more pleasurable. And, most of all, just like the pursuit of more heroin tends to eliminate all other interests of the heroin addict, parenting is so time consuming that the saying "My children are my greatest joy" becomes self-fulfilling. Of course it's their only joy - parents don't have time to pursue any other joys! By the way, I don't personally agree with Gilbert. My kids bring me more joy than anything else I've ever experienced in life. But then again, I've never tried heroin yet.