There is a silent majority here, however, similar to the one that exists when it comes to sex roles in a nuclear family (even liberal women find the male breadwinner-female caregiver arrangement preferable to any other). Extending back to 1988, the GSS has periodically queried participants on whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement "watching children grow up is life's greatest joy". A staggering 85.9% agree/strongly agree, 10.5% are neutral, and 3.6% disagree/strongly disagree.
Human biology is a difficult thing to overcome. We're a pair-bonding species, distinct from our closest living ancestors by, among other things, our extraordinarily high level of paternal investment.
Parenthetically, this apparent overwhelming majority isn't just an artifice of the question, either. The module also asked about marriage. The same set of respondents were asked whether married people are generally happier than unmarried people are. Though self-assessment surveys consistently show that they are, it's not obvious to the general population. Only 45.3% agreed/strongly agreed, 32.1% were neutral, and 20.6% disagreed/strongly disagreed. There is far less consensus on this other conventional part of middle class American life than there is when it comes to the joy derived from raising children.
Back to said putative joy children bring, there are slight racial differences that generally parallel real world fertility patterns (if not actual parental behaviors). The percentages of respondents, by race, who agree/strongly agree with the statement:
Not surprisingly, women experience a bit more pleasure from nurturing and its consequences than men do:
Maybe it's Idiocracy unfolding, maybe it's that agile minds just have more routes open to them in their quests for personal joy, or maybe it's a little of both--those of more modest intelligence* say they derive more pleasure for child-rearing than sharper folks do:
Finally, as the termagant in the aforementioned cartoon illustrates, those who have children of their own experience the joy firsthand and are thus more impressed by it, or, alternatively, are more likely to morally self-justify previously made decisions by claiming as much:
Finally, to elicit emotions other than joy in feminists, a little empirical reality--garlic to those soul-sucking vampire fuglies. The percentages of women by survey year who agree/strongly agree with the statement that "being a housewife is just as fulfilling as working for pay":
Instead of feeling increasingly liberated, American women, if anything, appear to be exhibiting progressively (regressively?) more affinity for domestic bondage as time goes on.
GSS variables used: KIDJOY(1-2)(3)(4-5), RACECEN1(1)(2)(4-10)(15-16), HOUSEWRK, SEX(1)(2), CHILDS(0)(1-8), WORDSUM(0-3)(4-5)(6)(7-8)(9-10), YEAR
* Respondents are broken up into five categories that roughly approximate a normal distribution; Really Smarts (wordsum score of 9-10, comprising 13% of the population), Pretty Smarts (7-8, 26%), Normals (6, 22%), Pretty Dumbs (4-5, 27%), and Real Dumbs (0-3, 12%)