When I was younger, I used to like to tell people that kids ruin lives.
I did it in part to get a rise out of them (because righteous yet unfounded indignation is often amusing). But I also meant it literally: once you have kids, your life as you know it ends and a completely different one begins.
Who Does Number Two Work For?
The thing is, before you have kids, you are your number one priority. Your goal is to make yourself happy and you tend to spend most of your available resources (i.e. your time and money) in pursuit of it.
Things change drastically once you have children. You’re no longer number one, your child is. Her needs and wants set the agenda and there is no way around it.
I clearly remember the first time I figured this out (it happened years before I had a kid). One day, I was talking to a friend at work about what we do in our free time. I went on and on about all the things I enjoyed doing: writing music, watching lots of tv, going to raves, painting, working out, hanging out with friends, and so on and so forth.
He listened patiently and finally said: “I use my free time to read the paper. For about two hours every Sunday morning.”
His simple revelation shook me to the core. It dawned on me that all this poor bastard could get for himself were two measly hours per week. Everything else was taken by someone else, namely his child.
As I thought about it some more, a strong feeling of deep sadness and inevitable loss came over me. It was like seeing a hurricane far in the distance, slowly but surely unfolding on a path which leads directly to your house. You can see it coming, you know it’ll eventually destroy everything you have, but there isn’t a thing you can do about it.
Kids = Giant Time Sucks (in a good way, of course)
Yep, kids need your attention like junkies need crack flowers need the sun. They constantly want you to play with them, notice them, praise them, love them. It’s exhausting.
Yet, at the same time, you just can’t help but give them the attention they so crave. I figure that you’re driven by a combination of guilt, love, and unexpected rewards (not unlike a Stockholm Syndrome victim). The rewards are, of course, in the form of tear-jerking cuteness: an adorably mispronounced word, play acting mundane activities with hilarious results, intellectual achievements that make you swell with pride.
And then, of course, there’s the ultimate reward: an overwhelmingly sweet and disarmingly honest “I love you Daddy“. Hearing those words is surely the most precious thing a man can ever experience. And that alone is worth getting your life ruined.
You may also like:
Did you love / hate / were unmoved by this post?
Then show your support / disgust / indifference by following me on Twitter!