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Comments on: The Question

Occasional musings from a Left-coast Canadian ExPat in Oxford.

Last Build Date: Sat, 01 Feb 2014 19:18:55 +0000


By: vi

Mon, 02 Jun 2008 15:35:52 +0000

First: I vote for bringing in quadradic equations into this whole adding business. Might as well get some proper hard brained maths in and you'll get rid of a lot of dolts. ;) Second: Kids: DO IT! Get on your bike and do it. or don't. Follow your gut. But if you decide to do it.. just get on with it. You're going to be happy, mad, sad pissed off, euphoric, and sometimes all at the same time. :) But it's better than not doing anything at all then waking up at 38 wondering if holding off was such a good plan. If you don't work for a company that will let you do flexible hours find one that does. Lots do. And if they don't build in your own flexible hours. Most ppl who run companies have kids. They know that you have to be home for the sitter at EXACTLY 5pm otherwise the sitter will sack you and then they won't have your pretty brain to work for them anymore. So don't worry about the fine print. As long as you realize that you're letting yourself in for a hell of a ride you'll be alright. And from what I know you've been on a pretty good spin until now. That's all I have to say about that but you know I'm a kook and I do NOT have many issues with bucking the trend.. so do what's right for you. All the things you hear about having kids are true though.. don't expect to get a single decents night sleep until he/she is 5yrs old. But then you get an awsome best friend in the world for life. Think of it as 5yrs in exchange for a best friend. (I know you shouldn't think like that or.. even worse let them know that you think of them like that.. but I do - he's the best person in the world since sliced bread.. oh hell since water) Do it. :)

By: Carla

Tue, 27 May 2008 20:19:19 +0000

If we had waited until we could afford kids, we never would have done it ;) Somehow, we've found a way. Like you say, though, Gillian and Miranda, it's not for everyone.

By: gillian

Tue, 27 May 2008 03:53:07 +0000

My worry about having kids (not that I'm having any, but hypothetically) would be more that they would be a huge financial burden. Screw the career, how can people even afford them? From what I've heard, daycare is ridiculously expensive nowadays ($1500/month or something? That'd be over 50% of the average take-home pay for someone working in Vancouver). I have a well paying job, but I don't see how I could manage to bring up a child alone like Mom did (for my first few years), or afford to give the kid a house (I find something tragic in little kids living in apartments, but maybe that's my suburban childhood talking). Maybe one of the career issues in all of this is that we don't have it like our parents did, where they could work at one company for their entire careers (my dad's had 1 job, ever). Nowadays we have to change jobs every few years in order to stay competitive and move up, and this is where taking a half year off, or not working full time for a while, would hinder our professional development. But all that said, I suppose somebody's gotta keep the earth populated, and it ain't gonna be me...

By: Derek K. Miller

Tue, 27 May 2008 02:12:24 +0000

I think waiting a few years is a good idea if that's feasible for you. My wife and I love the memories of the years we had together before the kids were born. They were different, and sometimes we pine for the simplicity and spontaneity of that time. Then again, we were younger and simpler and more spontaneous then anyway. Lots of things have changed our lives in the past decade and a half, and the children are only part of those changes. Still, now that the girls are older, I can sit here commenting on your blog, while one daughter laughs watching YouTube videos with her friend on another computer in the living room, the other is playing in another room, and their mom is podcasting with her co-host in the basement studio. (Oh, we are nerds.) I went shopping for clothes (and to visit the Apple Store, ahem) by myself today. We're going on a trip in a couple of weeks. Life is fun. And we can have fun, together or separately, as a family now.

By: Jason Landry

Tue, 27 May 2008 00:21:20 +0000

My wife and I had a baby boy 15 months ago, so I figured I could give our experience while it's fresh in my mind. Early on, my wife and I made the decision to split the parental leave. We did this for two reasons - a: she is further along in her career and makes more than me, b: I really wanted to have the experience. Shortly after our son was born we started to think about what to do after the parental leave dried up. Both of us are happy in our careers and wanted to continue working, so we decided to look at sharing a nanny. As it turns out, we found an amazing nanny and are sharing her with a couple of very good friends of ours. From our perspective, everything has worked out perfectly. Outside of this, I think we do a very good job of sharing the parenting responsibilities and I have no problems taking care of our son while my wife is away. In fact, I'm happy to have time for just the two of us to bond. Also, my wife and I make a big effort to not put our lives on hold while we raise our child. We still participate in our various sports, we still go camping, we still travel... now, we just have someone else to share these experiences with. Also, in regards to Darren's comment, there is definitely a biological component. One moment it's just you and your partner and the next moment there is this little baby that you have never seen before and know nothing about - but there is an unconditional love that cannot be described. The whole experience still blows my mind... ...and on that note, it's time to go home and see my boy.

By: Riann

Mon, 26 May 2008 22:06:51 +0000

I don't have anything to add, I just felt that your comments should be rounded up to an even 30. :)

By: peechie

Mon, 26 May 2008 20:51:29 +0000

Thanks Carla. I've read yours and Jean's comments over and over again quite a bit, and am realizing I wasn't giving myself nearly enough credit. With everyone saying "you can't plan for how your life will turn out after children" I was kindof thinking on the extremes of that, and figured that parenthood was something that happens to a person, and you spend the next number of years firefighting and struggling to keep your head above water (apologies for the mixed metaphors) without having much impact on things. Instead, I should have acknowledging that (as it has been so far) life is very much what I (we) choose to make of it, and we have a lot of choice and power in determining how and where we adjust to make room for kids. That said, I did leave out a crucial piece of information (especially judging from the common advice of "WAIT"): Neil and I *do* plan on waiting at least a few years (maybe a few more after that) before we expand our family to include more humans. It's just been something on my mind lately, and I figured one can't think too far ahead on these things.

By: No Tryouts. No Cuts. No Competition.

Mon, 26 May 2008 20:27:35 +0000

[...] On a vaguely related topic, I’ve been enjoying reading this discussion of parenthood on Jen’s blog. [...]

By: Carla

Mon, 26 May 2008 08:16:02 +0000

I remember adjusting to motherhood after the birth of my first son 9 years ago. In my 8th month of pregnancy, I managed a Y2K software conversion, I was leading an accounting team of 13, and working 12-16 hour days. I had managed 4 consecutive years of successful financial audits and I was in line for a promotion. I was being mentored by a well-experienced CMA from England, whose business and leadership philosophies meshed beautifully with my own. Conversations with him were inspiring and I made valuable personal contributions. I felt important to that business' success and I felt valued by the company. At that time, EI benefits for maternity leave lasted 6 months. So, I found a good home daycare for my son and returned to work when he was 6 months old. Within days of my return to the office, my mentor notified me that my colleague and hierarchical "equal" was being promoted to be my new boss. I was extremely discouraged, angry and disappointed, but used the opportunity to venture off on my own and work as a contractor, to experience other businesses (the majority of my post-university work experience had been in retail and manufacturing). I wouldn't say that I lost that opportunity to advance in my career in that company only because I had a baby - that restructuring was probably going to happen, regardless. Over the years, and two more children later, I have experienced ups and downs in my career. I have continued to operate my own practice and now work from my home office. Last year, working an average of 25 hours per week, I generated more revenue than I earned in salary working at a thankless job, 50+ hours per week. In 2006, I remember my then 4-yr-old saying (as he went off to preschool), "Mom, I love you. I super-duper love you. I want you to work from home forever!" For me, being a 100% stay-at-home mom would not work. I need the professional part of my life to keep me whole, and my children need me to be fulfilled to be the best mother I can be to them. I am not fulfilled without my profession as part of my life. That said, I have been quite selective with my clientele. I have clients who support my choice to have family as my first priority. My 3 1/2 month-old comes to business meetings and I mute my phone during conference calls, while I breastfeed. What I'm trying to say is, our lives will play out from the decisions we make, and regretting those decisions is a pointless exercise because we can never truly know what our lives would be like if we had made different decisions. I was recalling a Jacqueline Onassis quote, but wasn't able to find the exact one about her opinion of the importance of motherhood, but I did find this one: "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much." She has a few other good quotes too. I agree with Derek. "What does it mean to sacrifice...?" How do you measure success? My 9-year-old recently said to me, "Mom, you're the trunk of the tree and we are all the branches. If you fall, we fall. That's why we can never let you fall. And most important right now is Aaron - he's your roots. When he's big enough, he'll become a branch. And, maybe, if we're lucky, he'll be a branch that roots itself in the ground to support the trunk." I receive little gems like that at least weekly, and they make my life so worthwhile! Another observation I have, is that my primary relationship (with Skye) has blossomed with each child. I feel closer to him now, than ever. Skye is very supportive emotionally and financially. He appreciates my efforts to provide the majority of childcare, maintain the household and manage my business. We are in a partnership, and i[...]

By: peechie

Sun, 25 May 2008 16:53:14 +0000

It's not so much that I expect to be able to carry on exactly as I have been this past year and that children won't change our lives immensely. I'm okay with that. But what I'm afraid of is ending up being on of those parents Miranda mentions - the ones who carry the unspeakable burden of loving their children, but resenting the lives that parenthood has brought with it. There is no question for us that at least for the first number of months, I will be the one who ends up taking an extended leave from work. And I am okay with that. But the unknown and uncertainty around what I would return to - not speaking of the company or my job specifically, which are both subject to change long before we end up having kids - the way I return to work (or if I do) and how that balance plays out: that is going to be a big change for me, and one I'm not sure how I'm going to handle. How do you get past that fear and not let it make your decision for you? Or should you?