I’ve just finished reading a new piece from PG about having children.
It’s written from an extremely Western, rich, no handicaps, privileged point of view but it is worth a read.
Our kid is reaching ten months old and while there’s always the “wait until she’s…” crowd, my take so far is that fatherhood hasn’t fundamentally changed who I am.
I also do not believe that becoming a father is a life unlock or that I was deficient without her.
I’ve simply been exposed for who I am, that’s it. I’m no less “ambitious” (PG’s word) than I was before my child, and I’m no less free (as in Freedom, with an F) now than I was before she came along.
I’m busier, sure. I don’t have time for friends anymore like I used to, sure. I lack sleep. But none of these problems are dependent on having children. They exist for plenty of people.
“The fact is, most of the freedom I had before kids, I never used. I paid for it in loneliness, but I never used it.”PG
This is interesting, but it frames being without children and having free time as being lonely. It’s not true for everyone, and it also pivots a discussion about children into something entirely different: how someone uses his time.
The problem with cult of personalities is that, when you read them, you are lead to believe that things for them are as things should be. This is especially true in tech.
“…what kind of wimpy ambition do you have if it won’t survive having kids? Do you have so little to spare?”PG
This further feeds into the disgusting ethos that ambition (code for work hard, at all costs), making things, building, and “doing” are what matter in life.
Sometimes silence is as important as production.
You do not have to be a parent to understand life more deeply than others. Not having children is not a handicap. Having children is not a requirement for a complete life.
I never felt incomplete without my child. She was an abstract idea that interested me. Not a puzzle piece.
My demons and solutions to my problems were my own – she exists now not to rid me of them but to be her own person. She is not my savior and I am merely her protector when necessary.
I am happy. I am absolutely amazed at what my wife has been able to develop Asa into.
If anything, having a baby has shown me how incredible Trang is at developing our child. She is the rock and I certainly expect her experiences with motherhood to be different than those of mine with fatherhood.
She is active. I am passive. I’m also at home round-the-clock, ever-present. A listener. I hear my child all day. She gives me both peace and frustration. I love her.
I am proud of, despite my crippling anxiety disorder, being able to handle crisis moments. But none of that is really about my kid.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this, so I’ll leave it here: having kids does not give us a badge of honor. You made that decision, as did I. Not having children does not mean that you are lacking.
And none of this have-kids-life-hack should come from the ivory elites in tech who influence young copycats.
Kids are expensive, demanding, and scary. And it’s okay if you do not wish to have them now or ever.
You are complete as you are. Kids optional.
I do love mine, though. She’s a treat.