Posts tagged Children
4 Working Women And Their Thoughts On Children
 

Last month in Denver, Ivan and I had the privilege of reconnecting with two of our closest friends we’d first met during our study abroad in Japan over eight years ago. Now they’re married to each other and live in New Zealand, with three beautiful sons (a set of 1 y/o twins and a 4 y/o).

Since then, the child question has been occupying my thoughts.

I’m turning 29 years old this year and my answer to children is still: “not now”. Oftentimes, many women have given me the well-intentioned “You should have kids. It’s the best thing you’ll ever experience.” However, I thought it was interesting to share the unadulterated feelings of current mothers who are working and raising their kids at the same time.  

I met most of these career-minded women on my recent trip to Las Vegas for a tech conference.

Woman working

These are their thoughts:


 

1.

Just know that if you have children, it’s like being in prison for at least 20 years...and sometimes I think to myself, I should have raised my kids differently.
— A stay-at-home mom in her 50s, with two children in their early 20’s.

 

2.

I didn’t know that my kids could be such assholes. They just continue to ask and ask for more money. And of course, you want to give them everything in the world, but did they have to end up being such little shits?
— A recruiter at a tech company in her late 40s, with two boys in their mid to late teens. We were at a party and she was a little tipsy.

 

3.

While I’ve been traveling, I think that my missing him (her baby) has seeped into my subconscious. I had a dream the other night where I was chasing my nanny (who was holding my son) through the crowded streets of Hong Kong. I kept running and running until I finally caught him. In the dream, I sobbed so hard as I held onto him….I’ve never thought I could love anyone so deeply as much as I love my son.
— A communications director in her mid-thirties with a one year old son. This was the first time I had heard such an honest and sad account of guilt that working mothers feel.
I don’t regret having my child at age 38. I was lucky because most of my friends tried for several years with no results; some of them even had to go through the painful experience of IVF multiple times... Because I had my son so late, I got to accomplish all the things that I wanted and I continue to move forward because I’m more than just a mom.
— A former CTO and current founder of a new consultancy in her mid-40’s with a 7 year old. This woman’s path was the one I gravitated the most towards. That said, I might not be so lucky to be able to have a kid at 38.  

 

4.


So where does this lead me?


A Male Millennial’s Perspective on Having Children

This is Part Two of a two part series where Jennie and I debate the pros and cons of having children. For a measured and mature response to this issue from a woman’s perspective, please read Jennie’s post here. You’ve been warned. 


Ivan here. 

Life is a dubious proposition. Consciousness - I think we can all agree - was not a great idea. And yet when I think about the prospect of bringing another life into this world, I can’t help but wonder:

Maybe some mistakes are worth making. 


To be, Or Not to Be


We all know what life is: a rollercoaster ride. Everything is uphill from ages 0 to puberty before we make the swift descent into adulthood. Then we’re just a few loops and pirouettes away before the ride comes to an abrupt halt. Hear that whooshing noise? That's time carrying you past a lifetime of loss and disappointment. 

I know I’m skipping a few steps, but who would put another human being through all of that? Think of the children. Growing up can be the ultimate tragedy.

This is just an opinion, but having a child may be the most selfish decision two human beings could make. Not only is there the implicit assumption that your genes are worth replicating, there’s the hubris of thinking that your offspring has a rightful claim over the world’s scarce and diminishing resources.  

There’s the love argument, I suppose. But what is love if not a pair of eyes to watch you die and someone's hand to hold as you're doing it? And why do I even need a kid for that when I’ve got Jennie? The actuarial tables say she’s going to outlive me. 


4 Reasons Why Having a Child Might Be A Good Idea


1. At least it won’t be boring

I can show it all the wonderfully sad and sadly wonderful things about life before I peace out. There’s also the added benefit of living vicariously through them and seeing the world through their eyes. Can a few precious memories compensate for a lifetime of loss and suffering?

2. It’s not coming out of my body

The only point I’m making here is that the physical toll taken on my body will be minimal. I don’t agree with people who say that fathers are just as important as mothers. No matter how hands-on I end up being as a parent, the fact is nothing’s going to be coming out of my body and nobody’s going to be pumping me for milk.  As such, I have the luxury of thinking about this as a win all around. And that’s why Jennie has ultimate veto power on the kid decision.

3. To balance things out

Not going to mention names, but some people shouldn't have children. In fact, it seems like the less qualified you are to be a parent, the more you end up procreating. Now I’m not saying these kids are doomed necessarily, I’m just pointing out that they’re up against house odds. 

One way to make the world suck less is if more responsible parents started having kids to offset the irresponsible ones. We don’t need to match them one for one. Who can keep up? 

4. To add beauty and surprise to our lives

This may sound hokey, but if life really is a box of chocolates, you can rest assured that I will be trying every single one. As hesitant as Jennie and I are about having children, it could turn out to be the best thing we ever do. The trick, I think, is to have low expectations and we’ll always be pleasantly surprised!  


Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play... I tell you, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.
— Oscar Wilde

My Verdict in 2017


In all seriousness, having children at this point is a binary decision for me; I see myself having either no kids or exactly one kid. Both scenarios provide Jennie and I with sufficient wiggle room to continue crafting our “Origami Life” without making too many compromises. 

Besides, if I’m thinking about my time as currency, I’d rather be really good and focused on one thing than mediocre at a whole bunch of things. Timing is also an issue. I can’t foresee us doing as much traveling in the first 3-4 years of a child's life (it won’t remember anyhow), so we would have to hunker down somewhere for longer than usual. 

Anyway, that’s where I stand at 28. Jennie and I will check back in a year to see if anything’s changed.

How about you? How would you break down this life-defining, terrifying, do-or-die decision?