Life is pretty good…
Katie told me at some point that within a year she wanted to start trying for a child. I was reluctant, but I acquiesced — I had no real reason to not want to have children. I figured I had plenty of time before I had to deal with being a dad, after all on TV it takes couples forever to have children.
Six months later, Katie was with child. Our son, Siddhartha, was a lot of fun, but quite demanding. It was a combination of new parent anxiety and our son’s “spiritedness.” This is to say that he is possessed by spirits that make him precocious, entertaining and completely unreasonable.
It was almost unbearably stressful. When my parents visited after Siddhartha was born, my dad helped me reframe the situation. “This is your first child. This is a great thing that has happened.”
Over the years we learned to manage our spirited child as well as our anxieties long enough to think, “this is too easy.” Let’s have another. Rohan was born just before Siddhartha turned 4.
While I have no regrets about having children, I do sometimes wish I could go back in time and tell myself a few things:
- Get a therapist. Getting a handle on anxiety earlier in life would let me reframe so many difficult situations — especially those that come with having a child.
- Figure out my options for paternity leave at my first job. I think I could have shaped a much more relaxing experience that first year if I knew the options available to us.
- After the baby is born, figure out how to take “me time.” It’s easy to fall into the trap of never spending time outside of work and kids. You need an occasional break from both.
Having children is a juggling act, but it’s manageable. You might find yourself holding your child while you pee, only to realize that you are not the only one peeing. You change your clothes, clean up the baby and you move on.
I try to always keep in mind what my dad told me. It’s easy to forget that when your kid is still awake at 10:30 at night, but it’s easy to remember when they are playing, smiling and are otherwise happy. Life is pretty good.