I probably shouldn’t write this down, but I’ve already copped to the fact that I’m reading Slate on this sunny morning in Queens instead of working on how to solve Albania’s energy problems. So why not?
There is a story in Slate by a self-described childless woman suggesting that the current trend of parents making parenting seem bloody awful just might have gone to far. She turns serious on page 2, pointing out how American culture has become less tolerant of true bad parenting (perhaps to dysfunctional extremes) while celebrating upper-class “bad” parents whom are actually quite good at it.
So let me say that I am really enjoying fatherhood. Now, there is a caveat: being married to a wonderful woman and able to afford good day care enables me to enjoy fatherhood: depending on the week, I get three to five days in which to sit at my computer and Get Stuff Done. (Well, get a little bit done, anyway.) And it really helps to live so close to the Island of Long where there really is a village.
Finally, I have to add that our apartment building in Cambridge has (out of 30 units) about 12 with families, so a “play date” means having Caesar from down the hall bang on the door or going down to the first floor to horse around with Mafalda.
And maybe we just have a great toddler.
Most of his shenanigans just reduce us to helpless laughter. Maybe that will change when his sister comes along. But thus far, with day care and have a partner I love, I haven’t come across any reasons not to have kids. And those aforementioned life-changes? They consist mostly of not getting drunk very often and no more cigars on the balcony. Both of those are good changes.
My only regret? That I didn’t find somebody as marvelous as my wife and who was willing and able to be a mother with me 15 years ago. And maybe that I have had to buy a whole new cheap wardrobe, considering all the gunk I get all over myself and the fact that the half-life of unripped knees is down to sixteen weeks. But while I miss wearing fancy creased pants and nice jackets every day, I very much like getting stuff all over and ripping the knees of my new ever-changing cheaper wardrobe.
Traveling for work is no longer as much fun, since I miss el Boy. I will likely never take another year to go to a combat zone, like Afghanistan, and will only go to non-combat-zones if my family is able and willing to come.
But that is a loss because I do not want to travel, not because I cannot travel. With the day care my wife is perfectly happy to have me take off for a few days. Maybe too happy ...
Seriously, go for it! Being a parent has been, for me, much better than not being a parent.