Posts Tagged ‘ family ’

My Family Being Happy and Moving Slowly

Having Kids is the Worst Thing to do With Your Life Aside from Everything Else

I am attempting to write this at home with my life happening all around me. I have put a coffee table up on my bed to act as a standing desk because I don’t have an actual desk that is mine in our little two bedroom house we rent. I just listened to one of my sons give me an inventory of his toys that he has decided to store in one of my dress socks. Before that, I changed a diaper on a seven-month-old with diaper rash who looked at me as I changed him like I was jamming needles under his fingernails. I am a family man. I am a 30-year-old PhD student with a wife and three kids. 

On top of making it harder to write a blog post, deciding to have kids as young as we did has made my wife and I part of a steadily shrinking minority: young married adults who are fairly highly-educated and who actually chose to have children on purpose. The secretaries at the doctor’s offices we visit look at us askance when they find out that yes, I, the man who is here to support the woman and children, am the legal husband, and, yes, I really am the father of all three children, and, no, I don’t have drug problems and, no, I do not pay child support to any other family. Just by being who I am, I have caused a few women named Kathie to do a double take. I am like a giraffe with two necks and heads or something because I am clean and educated, and love my wife and kids enough to go with them to the doctor. 

Now, this is the place where some people will moan and gripe because the good ol’ days when men and women knew their duty and got married and had kids because that’s just whatcha did are long past and our whole country is feeling the tingling warmth of hell fire because of it, but that’s not what I am going to do. Sure, the minority that I belong to used to be the majority. If I had been born thirty years before I was actually born, I would be a baby boomer, and my life would look similar to most of the people around me. But now, especially being an academic, I am one of very few. My closest colleague with children of similar ages to my kids at the last university I attended was my thesis adviser, a man fifteen-ish years older than me. But I am not going to say that because everyone else hasn’t made the same choices as me society as a whole is going to collapse.   

Sure, all sorts of “evidence” exists to show us that our decision to have kids was a mistake. We aren’t financially stable; we don’t have everything planned out; we haven’t always been able to buy birthday and Christmas presents every year; there’s a good chance I’ll still be paying off students loans while my kids are going to high school; I have “given up” on a lot of “dreams” (really just made smarter safer choices) because I have a family that I have to take care of. I have lost out on a lot. 

But I’ve gained a lot too. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tuck my kids in bed and read to them before grading a stack of papers into the darkness of night. 

Thoughts are like Armpits, Everybody Has Them, and Unless You Write Them Down, They Aren’t Worth Anything

I’ve been thinking a lot about success lately and trying to figure out what success looks like in my life. I came to the conclusion that the most (and probably the only) successful things I’ve done in this life are maintain a healthy marriage, procreate three times and keep those children alive and learning, I have earned a Master’s degree, created hundreds of successful daily lesson plans and taught them, made quite a few YouTube videos that I feel capture the feeling of the moment I tried to capture, and (maybe) written some papers that have some good thoughts.

The world (especially meaning the people who sign checks) don’t see the things that I consider to be successes in my life to be successes, or at least they don’t see them worthy of giving me money for them. I am starting to get the feeling that, aside from the YouTube videos and the papers I’ve written, my successes don’t involve the creation of something that can be enjoyed asynchronously outside of my presence, which seems to be a defining characteristic of a successful creation. 

I was blessed with a brain that does a lot of thinking. And every once in a while, like how a virus or cancer can mutate out of sheer volume of reproductions, I think a pretty good thought. But the only people I have that I can share my thoughts with are my family, my coworkers, and my students, none of whom are cutting me any checks for them. So if I want my thoughts to have a wider audience, and if I want other people to benefit from the thoughts I have, or if I want my thoughts to turn into something tangible (i.e. $) and asynchronous to me, I have to write them down, and put them in a public place.

In other words, I have to write, and I have to make that writing public. 

In other other words, if I want to be successful, I must write. I must make writing my life.

So here goes.