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I try to give both sides. It's easily the hardest thing I've ever done by a good margin. You pour work in and potentially don't see anything for it, or at least very little, for years. It's a huge lesson in selflessness and humility. It's required a lot of changes, and a lot of opportunities have come off the table, or had their overall "cost" adjusted (e.g. moving cross-country is still possible, but we'd think about it a lot more), because I want to make sure I invest appropriately in my family.

And simultaneously, it's just about the most rewarding thing I've ever done. Watching them grow, seeing some of the hard work finally paying off, having little conversations with my 4-year-old, glimpsing the kind of guy he might grow up to be. There's this amazing bond that is really hard to describe.

Whoever you are, you deserve to know the truth on both sides. Depending on your values, kids might be easily worth it (for us, they are), or you might want to wait, or you might decide that it's not the right choice for you.




Fatherhood has made me keenly aware that there isn't just one sort of undifferentiated pile of warm emotion that we can call "happiness."

I can feel exhausted and wrung out when my daughter responds to my attempts to make her life better and more comfortable by screaming at me and throwing things. I can feel angry when she does things that she knows are naughty and ignores our rules. And at the same time I can feel proud of her and connected to her and love her and be in awe of her learning and feel incredible when she tells me she loves me.

And I don't think it makes sense to sort of try to treat those like they are just positive and negative numbers and say what does it sum up to, positive or negative? They coexist, they don't cancel each other out. No matter how much I feel great when she tells me she loves me, that doesn't make it less exhausting to worry about the absurd hoops that I have to jump through for an education for her. And no matter how upsetting it is to have someone kick you when you try to help her feel safe after a nightmare, that doesn't make me feel any less deep satisfaction that someone that I help create and teach will (hopefully) survive me and always be part of my life.


For a job this important, I find it remarkable that there is so little guidance on the matter unless you are a highly-motivated parent. We force kids to go to school but we don't force teens to learn the "Best Of" parenting facts. The closest thing I had in school was "Home Economics" and that wasn't even close.


> It's a huge lesson in selflessness and humility.

We can all use more of these lessons.


> You pour work in and potentially don't see anything for it

I guess it depends on what you expect in return. I was so crazy amazed at the process of watching my daughter solving the 3D puzzle of putting the dummy back in her mouth. Plus just watching the process as a crying baby gives in to tiredness and falls asleep.

The first three months were a nightmare, but the payback was also there at the same time.

My dad missed out on this and I'm sure his life was poorer for it.




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