A few weeks ago New York Magazine published this article “I love my Children. I Hate My life.” [http://nymag.com/news/features/67024/] I was sitting at my desk watching headlines flow by when I just stopped and was like wow – only sometimes… After watching the tweets and blog posts about this article I was surprised to see how many denied ever having a single moment of saying I miss those good old days.
Dont get me wrong – the best thing in my life is my son, with a quick second being my wife. She’ll get mad as she would most likely would have wanted to be number one and having the kiddo being number two. oh well. I do wish for alterations in my life – mainly in the life style department. I really dont know many people at this point in life who dont wish for different things in the lifestyle aspect. Perhaps a larger apartment, maybe some money in the bank, more support to help with the kids, money for private school… ect…ect the lists could go on and on.
One amazing thing when you think about having children is that we used to have child in order to create clans, or in some aspects of the world it was to help with the farm. Now we have children out of the desire to have legacy.
I dont know if I hate my life right now, I enjoy having many different things on my plate and things are starting to take shape… I do know I’m not in love with my life in many of the aspects that I listed above… I would love to have money in the bank, money to put 20% down on a house, money for the best education my child could have… but there are aspects of my life I wouldnt trade for the world – the giggling-laugh of my child, the kisses my wife gives me when she’s happy (I’m sure there could be a joke in this one someplace), the moments I look out my windows on to the sea of people visiting the farmers market in Union Square.
I clearly thing there is a difference between life and lifestyle – I love my life – love the family and friends – love the times I share with my family. Its my lifestyle that I wished was something different and maybe thats my fault, maybe it is a combination of looking at what others have and having a jealous of why not me? (which I really try not to do) but I do know there is things I want and I’m trying to work hard to earn them.
Which goes back to the greatest issue of the modern times of work life balance, unless you have family money (and sometimes even then) you’re still working to make a living. That could be an American concept this live to work not work to live mentally like other nations have….
Here here! Life isn’t great, but having kids in your life makes it a whole lot better in a way it could not be before children. I unfortunately wish I didn’t have to work, but getting that little hug (x3) just before bed every day makes it all worth it.
Great post! I think it’s totally possible to love your life and family…. but not be in love with your lifestyle or current situation (ie, renting, grinding from 9-5 daily, etc). I’m totally there too, and I’m sure my hubby would say the same.
You make some important distinctions here – how happy we are depends in large part on what we call important. Begs the question though – why DO we have kids? No farm hands needed, legacy is digital – family and community are no longer synonymous – it must be some other reason. What was it for you?
This post made me think about how I’ve completely brainwashed myself when I remember my daughter’s baby/toddler years. At the time, I’m sure I had many Hate-my-life moments — it was hard, it was tiring, we didn’t have any money, we felt like we’d left our “fun” selves behind, all of it.
Now, of course, I reminisce about those days and think, “Ahh… good times.” And I wish for them again. (But not enough to have another one.)
I love my children, love the life I have with my family. But like a lot of people, I wish for a change in lifestyle. Working 50-60 hours a week to never get ahead just doesn’t do it for me. Living paycheck to paycheck and never really being able to enjoy the money really is a bummer. But I absolutely love the life I have with my kids and my family. We may not be rich, we may not have it all, but we do have great love, strong love, and a sense of family, and to me, that makes me richer than any money EVER could. We reside ourselves to certain facts that come along with being parents. That struggle is something we accept and do our best to trudge on through. It is one of life’s greatest struggles, but well worth it! Great post and interesting to think about!
I know pursuit of happiness is fundamental American thing, but also sort of fleeting and bogus as a guage for the richness of one life path or phase vs. another. Parenthood is more about joy than happiness. Maybe better question would be what would we have to pay you to trade your life as a parent for a “happier” one – and of course there is no price high enough
I read this article a few weeks ago and started a post of my own, but ran out of energy to refute the author’s self absorbed prattle.
I totally agree with you that we can love our families and not be a big fan of our economic situation. But her tone is all whine as far as I can see. All woe is me. Selfish desires, typical of way too many adults in this day and age.
Your take seems much more of a loving parent who can admit that life is not a bowl of cherries. The flip side of that is even those who “have it all” are never content. Just read your newspaper or People magazine (yes Lindsey Lohan, I am looking at you).
But your take, that child and spouse take top priority and you can still treat them as such while not being completely satisfied with your temporal existence, is much more the way I want to see it. Not a spiteful resentful ‘me-first’ as the author so clearly portrays.
Very nice post! Sure, there are times when I look at friends that don’t have kids or two giant breed dogs for that matter and think wow. How quiet, clean and unchaotic their life must be! But when it comes down to it we chose to have kids and we chose to have a Saint Bernard and Leonberger that need as much attention as our boys. And I honestly wouldn’t change it. Thanks for sharing!
I had 3 kids in 3 years and don’t think I ever ‘hated’ my life then when is was a crazy mess of diapers and bottles and no sleep, but I definitely was only ‘surviving’ my life and not living it. It was all I could do to get from morning to night with all children and myself safe and fed. Now that my children are older (4,6,8) I am living again. Not 100% quite yet . . .but I have just made the decision to change the course of my future. Last week I gave notice at my full/part time corporate job and am going to do at home social media full time so my whole family can have a better quality of “living”!
Great Article, I agree that I wouldn’t give up my children for anything in the world but sometimes I wish things were different. “Should we have waited longer before having kids”, “Should we have waited till we had more money”, etc. You just have to remember that is never a perfect time to start having a family, just have to see the positive side of things and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I’d probably do everything the same way again if I had the chance.
Excellent post my friend.
I really like this post, Adam. I agree. There are so many changes that I wish I could make to have a better lifestyle, but ultimately, my kids (and husband) are my world. The challenge is to find the right balance to make it all fit together with the least amount of stress possible, and the most amount of joy.
This article made me so angry when I read it. Especially since it was given to me by a friend who is looking to start a family. She brought it to me and said, “It’s not as horrible as they make it out to be… Right?”
Yes, I do wish for some things from the past. Mostly sleeping all night and the ability to go anywhere on a whim. But I LOVE what I have now! There isn’t anything like the unconditional love of a child, and the hugs and kisses make all the bumps in the road worth it.
Since I became pregnant with my daughter there is only one thing from my “before” life that I have yet to do, and that’s take a cruise. If anyone has advice on how to do that, I’d appreciate it.
I, too, have started a post attempting to refute the author’s argument, but I always end up feeling like I’m defending my choice to have a child (and hopefully more). I wouldn’t trade this time with my daughter for anything.