Author Topic: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?  (Read 15120 times)

cerberusss

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In my previous relationship, we enjoyed two high incomes and were able to afford a cleaning lady. My current girlfriend has a pretty okay paying job but works three days. While we could afford a cleaning lady, this obviously will set our FI date back. And we cut back on TV dinners and eating out. We also were recently blessed with a baby.

Now the thing is, with the baby and the house come a lot of boring jobs. The everyday laundries, the healthy cooking, the cleaning of the house, the constant diaper changing.

It's a bit hard to say, and I'm actually shameful to admit this.

While I truly am thankful to have received a healthy and ridiculously handsome baby, I must also conclude that at the end of the day -- I just did not enjoy the day as much as I used to.

Today was my day off. I used to be able to work the whole day on my side job, which was very fulfilling. Today however I spent the day cleaning, making coffee for visitors, doing the laundry, getting an hour of extra sleep, etc. And then the girlfriend is happy that someone's home, and does a bit more talking. Which is not always easy, since I'm a bit of an introvert.

Yesterday, the cleaning lady at work asked me whether I knew someone to work for, so she could earn extra money. That sounded good. But I don't want to solve this problem with money.

Should I just suck it up?
Does anybody have tips to deal with this the Mustachian way?

Sebastian

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2013, 01:49:24 PM »
If your girlfriend is home a lot of the time. Why isn't she doing more around the house? I feel like she should be helping out with a lot of these tasks to free up your time to work on your side gigs and FT job so you can bring in more money which leads to *drum roll* quicker FIRE!

Why don't you express your dissatisfaction with having to do those chores when you could be doing meaningful work to get you guys closer to ER. Unless I missed something in that OP I just think your GF could do more on her part. It's a team sport!

jpo

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2013, 01:50:53 PM »
Today was my day off. I used to be able to work the whole day on my side job, which was very fulfilling. Today however I spent the day cleaning, making coffee for visitors, doing the laundry, getting an hour of extra sleep, etc. And then the girlfriend is happy that someone's home, and does a bit more talking. Which is not always easy, since I'm a bit of an introvert.
Sounds like your girlfriend is at home every day with the baby - why is she also not doing laundry, making coffee, etc?

cerberusss

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2013, 02:00:38 PM »
She does her share when I'm at work, however I'd like to take some of that baby care out of her hands when I'm home. With the breast feeding, she's more tied to the demands of the baby than I am.

However she didn't ask for this, I guess I've been filling that in myself.

I'm also more nitpicky concerning the household chores than she is. This doesn't preclude that the cleaning this morning was actually a bit silly, and she could have done that. I'll discuss it with her, it won't be a problem.

Numbers Man

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2013, 02:01:54 PM »
ceberusss - Welcome to parenthood. That boring stuff is part of the job description of being a parent. Sounds like your GF wants some more attention from you.

amyable

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2013, 02:05:09 PM »
Today was my day off. I used to be able to work the whole day on my side job, which was very fulfilling. Today however I spent the day cleaning, making coffee for visitors, doing the laundry, getting an hour of extra sleep, etc.

Maybe try breaking up the cleaning a little?  My husband and I both spend about 30 min. a day doing chores (excluding cooking which is a personal hobby), so that we won't be swamped with housework on the weekends.  Obviously, there's a lot more to do with a new baby, but it still might help to try to spread out the drudgery. 

Rollin

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2013, 02:10:39 PM »
Give yourself more time to adjust to the new routine and needs - - and then when you think you have given enough time then adjust again!  It takes longer than you think.  Many people eventually find what you are doing fulfilling.

Those here that say she's home more than you and should be doing that stuff may not conclude that being a mom is a 24 hour a day job.  I seeing calculations that said if you paid a stay at home mom for what she puts in it would a significant sum.

On hiring the cleaning lady, if she's way cheaper than what you can make on the side jobs maybe it can be considered, but what you are contributing to the family in what you describe is worth way more than money.

Hang in there.

GuitarStv

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2013, 02:13:59 PM »
You're welcome:


Mazzinator

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2013, 02:45:39 PM »
Quote
getting an extra hour of sleep
Go punch yourself in the face for this one ;-) I would love more sleep. most parents would agree.

Quote
we could afford a cleaning lady
Second facepunch ;-) I can afford a trip to Tahiti every month. That's just not mustachian speak..

I said those with a smile because a, i'm not such a serious person and b, because having a child is a huge life change and we were there once. I suggest making a "schedule" with the GF to give each of you time to fulfill the voids in your new lives. We usually do our chores to the minimum, then get out of the house to enjoy life. Maybe i'm just a slob, but chores do suck!

And don't worry..give it a year or two and that baby will become the most exhausting creature on the planet!!! You will wish for some boring time.

Good luck!! And congrats!
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 02:59:21 PM by Mazzinator »

Roses

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 04:17:34 PM »
If your girlfriend is home a lot of the time. Why isn't she doing more around the house? I feel like she should be helping out with a lot of these tasks to free up your time to work on your side gigs and FT job so you can bring in more money which leads to *drum roll* quicker FIRE!

Why don't you express your dissatisfaction with having to do those chores when you could be doing meaningful work to get you guys closer to ER. Unless I missed something in that OP I just think your GF could do more on her part. It's a team sport!

Seriously!?  Have either you or JPO birthed a baby and nursed it all through the night?  Do you know how exhausting that is?  What about all the hormonal changes the GF is going through?  That alone will sap your energy and can lead to post-partum depression which is waaay more common than people think.  I hate to say it but she does need more help, support and rest than dad does.  Of course that does not change the fact that it can also very hard on him.  Dads can actually get their own version of the post partum blues.  There are a few things that can mitigate the situation so it doesn't get to that.

OP - I applaud you for being a supportive and helpful partner and dad.  This is an extremely hard time in parenthood.  Somehow there are people who make it look/sound easy but it ain't - it sure wasn't for my husband and I.  We both felt extremely guilty for complaining when we had a lovely baby that actually wasn't a terrible sleeper.  But we had to admit that the adjustment was huge!  Going from being a carefree couple to having to use our free time just to keep our heads above water with the chores, bill paying, work, etc, was depressing!  I now realize that for me, and I think for a lot of people, the first few months of a baby's life are sort of a state of emergency.  Here is what I suggest:

1.  Never EVER make coffee for your guests again!  Or at least until your kid is way older and you're out of this phase.  You shouldn't be waiting on other people when they come to your house.  They should be there to help you.  I know everyone wants to play with the baby so what you should do is say "I'm so glad you're here! I desperately need to go check some emails. Please help yourself to the coffee pot and whatever is in the fridge. Sorry there's not much to eat!" Your guests should get the hint that they need to come over with a meal for you (this is not just for the first few weeks after birth) or with time to help you out a bit.  Maybe they can fold some laundry or load the dishwasher.  If your family/friends aren't already doing this, consider sending out an SOS email telling people what you need: help with laundry, cleaning, running errands and especially babysitting!  Set up a babysitting calendar and see who would like to sign up.  If you feel sheepish doing this yourself ask a close friend or relative.  My sister did that for me and I had many people sign up to help me. Use your support network!

2. Redefine your dirt model.  If you can learn to live with more mess than you were previously used to, this will really help you!  One thing that gets really depressing is when you are constantly working but have nothing to show for it.  Laundry and dishes just come back and pile up.  Instead, try to do the minimum and then move on to something you really want to do in your 'free' time.  Go for a walk, read a book, take a bath, go out to lunch, etc.

3. It's ok to pay for help during this time!  If you really want to hire a cleaning lady now and then (maybe twice a month?), go for it! If that will improve your state of mind, it is invaluable. Nothing is more important than that right now. You'll be a better partner and father if you feel better.  Hiring a babysitter for a regular day of the week might help you feel better also - you can look forward to that day when you can get out of the house and do what you want.

Lastly, I just want to say that it does get better.  I always had people telling me things like, just wait till he's crawling/walking/eating solids!  Like it was all going to get much worse.  In my experience, every milestone made things easier.  As the child can entertain him/herself more and more you are also able to get more things done, or even rest a bit while you're with him/her.  Then you can use your free time to do things that are fun for you.  I used to turn on music and clean the kitchen while my son was crawling around pulling things out of drawers.  I made sure there was nothing sharp within reach but decided it wasn't worth worrying about slobber on my spatulas if it kept him happy and exploring (they never seem to like their own toys as much as yours!)

Anyway, much luck to you!  You'll soon forget how hard all this was and will be pining for the next one! :)

Lans Holman

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2013, 04:35:40 PM »
+1 on everything Roses said.  You don't have a mustachianism challenge, you have a parenting challenge.  It's hard work and you're not going to have a bunch of free time to do the things you used to enjoy.  Hopefully you realized that going into it. 

ender

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2013, 04:44:17 PM »
Downsize the house.

Sounds like the house owns you.

.22guy

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2013, 05:51:18 PM »
My advice is to sack up.  Being a parent is hard work, get used to it.

yahui168

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2013, 06:29:31 PM »
Feel free to express frustrations and difficulties but do the work and suck it up. My daughter is turning five this month. We don't have a cleaning lady, gardener or nanny. Every diaper change, bath, messy cleanup, bottle feeding, bottle washing, bottle filling, mopping, vacuuming, mowing, every minute of chores is a drop love and I don't regret a single second. After years of raising your child they look at you with loving eyes the size of oceans because you've added to it drop by drop, and you return their love with the confidence and authority of a parent because you deserve their love.

I understand it's hard. You're a new parent and your mind is weak. Like any muscle, you train it and you get stronger and better, then you love it because you're good at it. You may even start to like your chores.

abuzzyisawesome

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2013, 06:32:32 PM »
I find drinking while cleaning ups the enjoyment factor. Of course, I am not responsible for small children or houseplants.

Freedom2016

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2013, 07:20:51 PM »
jpo and SethBahookey, with due respect, you need to be punched in the face. 

While parenthood changes both parents, for sure, it must be said that a disproportionate burden falls on the mom in the early months (I assume they are in the early months given they were "recently" blessed with a baby). Frankly, unless/until you've done it yourself, or lived with a new mom and watched her do it, you really have no fucking idea how much work taking care of a newborn is. And you therefore have no real idea how offensive it is to see a suggestion that gee, that slacker mom really needs to pull her weight with the housework. Poor daddy is overstressed with laundry and dishes.

Consider:

Most new babies need to be fed every 2-3 hours. In my case, my son was a 'lazy nurser' which meant he was attached to the boob for 45-60 minutes at a time. During which time I couldn't move, eat, shower, fold laundry, sweep a floor, sort the mail, sleep, etc. After he finished nursing, I had to burp him. And then change his diaper. And then put him down in the bassinet (hopefully to sleep, but no guarantee) while I pumped milk (to stimulate supply), and then maybe take a shower. Or eat. Or return a call. Or take a cat nap. But only one of those, because before long baby would be screaming in hunger which meant it was time for the next feeding. Now repeat that cycle 8-12 times a day. And throw in chronic sleep deprivation (which, even if/when dads take a night feeding, is still typically worse for new moms than for dads).

Given that reality, you guys really want to stand by your comments that Mom really should be doing more around the house (laundry, making coffee, etc)?

bogart

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2013, 07:37:07 PM »
Am I right in thinking that your baby is under 3 months, mom is working three days/week, you two are not relying on assistance with childcare, and she is breastfeeding?  If yes to all those then I regret to report that (outside of what she is already doing, which is a LOT), your GF should not be doing anything (else) around the house, and you should be bringing her coffee.

Personally, I'm a big fan of oursourcing tasks I don't like and working (you know, at a paid job) in order to be able to do so.  You may have different priorities -- aiming for FIRE earlier than I am and preferring to do more chores/outsource-able tasks.  Your call, but that's the tradeoff. 

I found the earlier years of parenting (my son is now 6) really hard.  Hang in there.  It gets better, and as you say, even when it's tough, there's lots to be grateful for.

StarryC

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2013, 07:49:25 PM »
Basically, children don't make you happier, and they might make you less happy: http://nymag.com/news/features/67024/

But, I've heard, in the long run, that people find it gives their lives "meaning" and "purpose" and that they want someone to care about them when they are old.   I believe some people even want to retire early in order to spend MORE time with their children. 

Think of all the "self care" things you did every day before having a baby: feeding yourself, using the bathroom yourself, cleaning yourself, dressing yourself, entertaining yourself.   That probably took several hours a day.   Now, you as a parent are responsible for all those same activities for a completely dependent, incapable person.  It seems obvious that it would double the amount of time you spend doing that stuff.  In fact, babies are pretty inefficient at eating, and they "use the bathroom" a lot more frequently too and take longer to clean up.  So, just keeping the baby alive and healthy probably takes at least 5 hours a day.  In fact, this study finds that coupled fathers spend 5 hours on infant children on weekdays, and coupled mothers spend 11 hours on them.  www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2009/10/art3full.pdf‎

Now you can see why parents have higher rates of depression than nonparents!





Roses

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2013, 12:09:03 AM »
As an aside, there are a couple prominent psychologists debunking the whole 'kids don't make you happy' research. I'm trying to find a link to post. It's something about the difference between being 'happy' because you do things for yourself and happy because you're doing things for others - including your kids (the latter actually makes you happier).  But there's no denying the huge amount of stress that comes with having a baby. The key though, is to remember it is just a phase. It does get much much better. And actually, those same researchers who say that parents are less happy also noted that as the kids get older the happy scale tips to the other side - parents of older kids tend to be much happier than non-parents. And certainly happier than parents of very young kids.

It has also been found that parents live longer than non-parents.  Here's good news for Dads: http://dad.menshealth.com/parents/Dads_Live_Longer.php

cerberusss

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2013, 01:39:01 AM »
There's a whole bunch of awesome replies here, I'll try to reply to each one.

About her work; I wasn't really clear on this. Currently, she's still on paid maternity leave so she doesn't have to go to work yet. She will in about two months. She's a teacher and the employer is extremely generous on this.

Anyway, I discussed it with the girlfriend. After talking through it, she found it totally acceptable if I'd had asked her in advance to do a bit of cleaning up when we expect visitors. She just doesn't mind clutter/cleanliness as much as I do. So that part could be handled.

What we also talked about, was the amount of work I could do on the side job. She described my help as a luxury while she's still on leave. So we agreed to try a schedule; I'd work 3-4 hours on Wednesdays and 3-4 hours in the weekend, but it'd be one block of time. And then we switch taking care of the baby. That way, work can get done.

Enderland mentioned "downsize the house" -- that's true and I'm might open a separate topic on this.

What I notice among the replies is that the baby phase is just that, a phase. Thing is, I feel it's suboptimal to just "hang in there". Maybe it's too much to ask, but I don't want to spend this time hoping it passes. My brother once told me: "the baby will quickly no longer be a baby, make sure you enjoy that phase".

To enjoy every diaper change might be overdoing it, but perhaps I can mentally switch gears somehow. The cleaning lady might help, for sure, and I'm not going to dismiss it for now, but there must be some mental tricks, too. For instance, I found out that it's easy to start hurrying/stressing when the baby starts howling. So when that happens, I've tried pausing a bit before checking the baby.

Suggestions? Wisdoms?

dragoncar

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2013, 01:47:21 AM »
As an aside, there are a couple prominent psychologists debunking the whole 'kids don't make you happy' research. I'm trying to find a link to post. It's something about the difference between being 'happy' because you do things for yourself and happy because you're doing things for others - including your kids (the latter actually makes you happier).  But there's no denying the huge amount of stress that comes with having a baby. The key though, is to remember it is just a phase. It does get much much better. And actually, those same researchers who say that parents are less happy also noted that as the kids get older the happy scale tips to the other side - parents of older kids tend to be much happier than non-parents. And certainly happier than parents of very young kids.

It has also been found that parents live longer than non-parents.  Here's good news for Dads: http://dad.menshealth.com/parents/Dads_Live_Longer.php

The Nymag article mentioned some new studies that showed parents were happier, but that the researchers later found a spreadsheet error that reversed the conclusion.  Not sure if these are the same "prominent researchers."

Either way, I didn't even know there was much study being done on this subject.  I've been trying to decide whether I want to be a parent some day.  The best I've come up with is that I'm flexible and will probably go along with whatever my wife wants (I'd would like to get married).  I figure most women want children, although that's pure anecdotal inference, so I'm likely to be a parent eventually.

If not, maybe I'll get a dog. 

gooki

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2013, 02:18:15 AM »
Suggestions? Wisdoms?

Pacing round the house settling a crying baby = full body work out.

Changing nappies = race time, learn to do it quick as they'll be super squirmy in a few months.

Bath time = super fun water sports. Splash splash splash.

Making your wife coffe while also cleaning up = I'm the 1% of fucken greatest parents ever.

Taking your baby for a walk while your wife gets an extra hours sleep = fresh air bitches, that stuff will make me refreshed and even more awesome.

Yes it's hard work, yes you won't have time for yourself, yes it may even be fucking hard work. But you know what, everything in life that gives you true pleasure takes effort.

Put the hard work in now and I'm sure you will be handsomely rewarded. I know I am.

PS, good things take time, so give it time. Once my daughter turned one, I felt a huge weight lift of my shoulders, and began to feel I could truly start enjoying being a parent.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 02:21:51 AM by gooki »

ace1224

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2013, 05:25:48 AM »
I find drinking while cleaning ups the enjoyment factor. Of course, I am not responsible for small children or houseplants.
you are my new best friend. 

prosaic

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2013, 05:36:54 AM »
Am I right in thinking that your baby is under 3 months, mom is working three days/week, you two are not relying on assistance with childcare, and she is breastfeeding?  If yes to all those then I regret to report that (outside of what she is already doing, which is a LOT), your GF should not be doing anything (else) around the house, and you should be bringing her coffee.


THIS! +1000


Dee18

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2013, 05:39:12 AM »
Try "wearing" the baby, carrying the baby in a sling, while you go for a walk, do cleaning, etc.  Many babies find that soothing.

kdms

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2013, 05:43:58 AM »
Suggestions? Wisdoms?

Pacing round the house settling a crying baby = full body work out.

Changing nappies = race time, learn to do it quick as they'll be super squirmy in a few months.

Bath time = super fun water sports. Splash splash splash.

Making your wife coffe while also cleaning up = I'm the 1% of fucken greatest parents ever.

Taking your baby for a walk while your wife gets an extra hours sleep = fresh air bitches, that stuff will make me refreshed and even more awesome.

Yes it's hard work, yes you won't have time for yourself, yes it may even be fucking hard work. But you know what, everything in life that gives you true pleasure takes effort.

Put the hard work in now and I'm sure you will be handsomely rewarded. I know I am.

PS, good things take time, so give it time. Once my daughter turned one, I felt a huge weight lift of my shoulders, and began to feel I could truly start enjoying being a parent.

^+1 to this!

Cerberusss...your attitude is absolutely correct...the infant stage shouldn't be something to be tolerated or waited out.  There are so many things happening in the first year that will never happen again and you're privileged to be the one to witness this tiny person experiencing so many things for the first time.  I've got an almost 3 year old and another one on the way and I can't wait to do that first year all over again, despite the lack of sleep, the messy house, and the endless diaper changes.  The house is inanimate and needs you a lot less than your baby and girlfriend do. :)

What I found most frustrating were those moments where it was clear he was trying to communicate and we just weren't on the same level - so we went out and started studying baby sign language.  It takes a couple of years for the muscles designed for talking to develop, but major and minor motor control in their fingers happens a lot quicker, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for communication.  It wasn't a huge success, but we were able to get to the root of most cries fairly quickly - i.e. 'milk' 'hungry' 'diaper' 'hurt', that sort of thing - and we all became a lot less stressed and it was really cool to be able to expand our ASL skills.  When he used the sign for 'star' at 7 months to point out a star in one of his board books, it was the coolest thing ever.

They're total sponges at this age, and a lot smarter than they're usually given credit for.  Teach them how to communicate, and you've got a head start on a great relationship.

I find drinking while cleaning ups the enjoyment factor. Of course, I am not responsible for small children or houseplants.

I haven't laughed so hard in days....thank you.  :)

mr. T

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2013, 05:56:17 AM »
My suggestions:
Take some time off now. Babies grow very fast. You might regret it if you look back and realise that while your child was very young, you were only working and cleaning the house.

Do the minimum and take your moments whenever you get the chance. Young children make a mess. It's impossible to keep up cleaning.

You might take the cleaning lady just for now, as long as you get rid of her as soon as it's not necessary anymore.

tomsang

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2013, 08:21:03 AM »
This is a time of self reflection and self improvement.  If you go into this thinking this is a phase, you will be exhausted when you realize this phase lasts 18 years plus years. The self reflection and self improvement will revolve around not caring what your family and friend see in your house when they come to visit. In fact, it might entail having them help out when they visit. Those with kids know how exhausting having a newborn is. Those who don't have kids probably have some inkling of the process. There is an significant portion of the US population that gets no maternity leave. If they are not working they are not getting paid, which results in them working full time during this period of time.

Good luck!!  You aren't the first or the last to go through this, what differentiates you is your attitude and ability to change with this life changing event.

oldtoyota

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2013, 08:25:29 AM »
I don't know what to say. I have no cleaning women, yard person, nanny or chef. We did it all ourselves.

Since I did "intake" (nursing), the husband did outtake (lots of diaper changes). He loved having the time with the baby to change her diaper. Her made her laugh. He kissed her. They bonded.

Also, don't try to be perfect. I stopped trying to be perfect and became a lot happier.


Devils Advocate

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2013, 08:45:18 AM »
Quote
Now the thing is, with the baby and the house come a lot of boring jobs. The everyday laundries, the healthy cooking, the cleaning of the house, the constant diaper changing.

Dude,
What did you expect was going to occur with having a new baby in the home?  It takes work. Work that isn't always that much fun. But, eventually when the baby smiles and starts to be a little more interactive with you it makes it worth it. Least it did for me.

Your life IS changed. No more are you the center of your little narcissistic world. By deciding to have a child you have realized that your old routine is gone. Forever! Perhaps you should have thought about that a bit more before procreating.

Doesn't mean that you shouldn't enjoy your hobbies anymore. Just means you will have to devote less time doing it. Eventually you can include the child into your life and hobbies more and perhaps it will be more meaningful in the end.

Good luck.

Being a parent IS HARD WORK!

DA

NumberCruncher

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2013, 08:53:05 AM »
Quote
Now the thing is, with the baby and the house come a lot of boring jobs. The everyday laundries, the healthy cooking, the cleaning of the house, the constant diaper changing.

Dude,
What did you expect was going to occur with having a new baby in the home?  It takes work. Work that isn't always that much fun. But, eventually when the baby smiles and starts to be a little more interactive with you it makes it worth it. Least it did for me.

Your life IS changed. No more are you the center of your little narcissistic world. By deciding to have a child you have realized that your old routine is gone. Forever! Perhaps you should have thought about that a bit more before procreating.

Doesn't mean that you shouldn't enjoy your hobbies anymore. Just means you will have to devote less time doing it. Eventually you can include the child into your life and hobbies more and perhaps it will be more meaningful in the end.

Good luck.

Being a parent IS HARD WORK!

DA

This scares me O.o

There's a reason I'm overly cautious with birth control.

bogart

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2013, 08:59:50 AM »

Cerberusss...your attitude is absolutely correct...the infant stage shouldn't be something to be tolerated or waited out.  There are so many things happening in the first year that will never happen again and you're privileged to be the one to witness this tiny person experiencing so many things for the first time.  I've got an almost 3 year old and another one on the way and I can't wait to do that first year all over again, despite the lack of sleep, the messy house, and the endless diaper changes. 

Eh.  I mean, more power to both of you (Cerberusss and KDMS), and clearly there are lots of people for whom the baby stage is the very best stage ever and that is great.  At least, I trust it is; I don't know, because I am not one of those people.  Now, sure, find joy in the moment(s), wherever joy is to be found (and certainly there are plenty of joyful moments at all ages).  But I'm not the least bit bashful about saying that the baby stage wasn't near my favorite.  With my son at 6, there's so much happening that will never happen again (to borrow from KDMS), and so much of it is so  cool -- seeing him figure out how to do handstands in the swimming pool, reading the Narnia series to him, having him explain to me how strong an ant is (something he learned at summer camp).  Don't get me wrong, it was fun watching him figure out that his fingers belonged to him and he could control them, but between the two, I'd choose the handstands or the ants over the fingers any day.  And I think we need to be comfortable with the thought that it's OK not to revel in every moment of every stage of parenthood, and to like some ages better than others.  I'll admit I see a certain advantage to my experience that so far, it just gets better the older they get, since as compared to the alternative this seems a helpful way to perceive the trends, but it's not really strategy on my part, it's just who I am.  And it's OK if you feel that way too (and also OK if you don't).

ender

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2013, 09:35:18 AM »
Anyway, I discussed it with the girlfriend. After talking through it, she found it totally acceptable if I'd had asked her in advance to do a bit of cleaning up when we expect visitors. She just doesn't mind clutter/cleanliness as much as I do. So that part could be handled.

I think this is a more fundamental problem than having a baby. I've run into similar things with almost all my roommates as clutter tends to drive me nuts, but most people have a much higher threshold. It's just more noticeable and pronounced now that you've got a little one.

Something else to consider, you have consistently been referring to the "girlfriend." Do you guys have any interest in making that longer term? Your attitude might be different if you were officially engaged/married as you would see your family as your family and not just the girlfriend/baby.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2013, 10:17:54 AM »
Congrats on the new baby.  I have several children and have been a stay-at-home-mom for 17 years.  We can all only speak from our own experience.  I have loved being able to be home with my children.  But I have struggled with mental boredom.  I don't find joy in laundry, dishes, cooking, etc.  I have to mentally incentivize myself to do those chores and give myself time to read a book or whatever.  You might look for a system that will help you keep on top of the cleaning.  I have sometimes followed "http://www.flylady.net/" here in the US, but there are similar ideas.  Organize your days and do small jobs that will keep the overall house clean.  Good luck, and try to enjoy this time.  Like others said, it will go by faster than you can believe!

Roses

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2013, 03:58:42 PM »
As an aside, there are a couple prominent psychologists debunking the whole 'kids don't make you happy' research. I'm trying to find a link to post. It's something about the difference between being 'happy' because you do things for yourself and happy because you're doing things for others - including your kids (the latter actually makes you happier).  But there's no denying the huge amount of stress that comes with having a baby. The key though, is to remember it is just a phase. It does get much much better. And actually, those same researchers who say that parents are less happy also noted that as the kids get older the happy scale tips to the other side - parents of older kids tend to be much happier than non-parents. And certainly happier than parents of very young kids.

It has also been found that parents live longer than non-parents.  Here's good news for Dads: http://dad.menshealth.com/parents/Dads_Live_Longer.php

The Nymag article mentioned some new studies that showed parents were happier, but that the researchers later found a spreadsheet error that reversed the conclusion.  Not sure if these are the same "prominent researchers."

Either way, I didn't even know there was much study being done on this subject.  I've been trying to decide whether I want to be a parent some day.  The best I've come up with is that I'm flexible and will probably go along with whatever my wife wants (I'd would like to get married).  I figure most women want children, although that's pure anecdotal inference, so I'm likely to be a parent eventually.

If not, maybe I'll get a dog.

Yeah, I saw that.  But no, that wasn't what I was referring to.  Basically, the lead researcher that came up with that conclusion, Daniel Kahneman, is an economist.  Not a psychologist.  The way he went about his happiness research has been called into question by psychologists who study happiness.  They say that asking people about discrete moments in their day if they are happy (are you happy changing a diaper, cleaning up spit up, consoling a screaming kid, etc) isn't the 'right' way - whatever that is - to evaluate happiness.  So, when psychologists have used their usual tools for evaluating happiness between parents and non-parents, they've found a difference in that the parents are happier.  The overall happiness of parents seems to grow as the kids grow, but that of non parents seems to stay mostly the same.  See this NPR interview (the transcript isn't great) http://www.npr.org/2013/02/19/172373125/does-having-children-make-you-happier.  I like the Tolstoy quote but I would say under 3, not 5!

I know you didn't ask but here's how I think about the kid question (to have them or not).  If you never have a child you may or may not regret it at some point.  Chances are you'll be a happy person but there's the possibility that, at some point, you'll wish you'd had kids.  Versus:  If you do have a child you will never-ever, even for a second, wish you hadn't had that child.  Even at your most frustrated, exhausted, stressed-out moments, you won't want to 'send the kid back' or give them away (you may want a nice long break, but that's different).  So in that light, I've always thought it was a no-brainer decision.  With one caviat - that you're a sane person.  Most people who claim to not like kids or who can't connect with them (I was one) are completely different with their own child.

And lastly, ever since I had my first kid I've come to the realization: You don't know what true, unconditional love really is until you have a child.  And I love my husband dearly.

Roses

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2013, 04:14:21 PM »

What I notice among the replies is that the baby phase is just that, a phase. Thing is, I feel it's suboptimal to just "hang in there". Maybe it's too much to ask, but I don't want to spend this time hoping it passes. My brother once told me: "the baby will quickly no longer be a baby, make sure you enjoy that phase".

To enjoy every diaper change might be overdoing it, but perhaps I can mentally switch gears somehow. The cleaning lady might help, for sure, and I'm not going to dismiss it for now, but there must be some mental tricks, too. For instance, I found out that it's easy to start hurrying/stressing when the baby starts howling. So when that happens, I've tried pausing a bit before checking the baby.

Suggestions? Wisdoms?

I always found it hard to have that advice in my head: enjoy it while it lasts!  I took way too many photos and videos.  More than I can deal with now.  I think it's ok to admit you're not enjoying many aspects of babyhood.  But you certainly have the right idea in trying to find things where you can maximize your enjoyment of this stage.  I think the easiest way is to really interact with your baby when he/she is awake and happy. Other really sweet times are when the baby falls asleep on you.  Usually I would just want to put him down asap but sometimes I would just sit there and feel his breathing (often snoring) on me and I still remember how wonderful that was.

On a more practical note, are you familiar with Harvey Karp's "Happiest Baby on the Block"?  Seems like everyone is but I thought I'd mention it just in case.  Some of those techniques really worked for me.  Especially the swaddling.  I never mastered his swaddling technique, but I did the double swaddle.  See this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOnsKlluHIg  Of course it helps that this baby is unnaturally calm.  Mine was always kicking and screaming during this process but it had him sleeping through the night just after a couple tries!

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #36 on: August 08, 2013, 04:18:18 PM »

Cerberusss...your attitude is absolutely correct...the infant stage shouldn't be something to be tolerated or waited out.  There are so many things happening in the first year that will never happen again and you're privileged to be the one to witness this tiny person experiencing so many things for the first time.  I've got an almost 3 year old and another one on the way and I can't wait to do that first year all over again, despite the lack of sleep, the messy house, and the endless diaper changes. 

Eh.  I mean, more power to both of you (Cerberusss and KDMS), and clearly there are lots of people for whom the baby stage is the very best stage ever and that is great.  At least, I trust it is; I don't know, because I am not one of those people.  Now, sure, find joy in the moment(s), wherever joy is to be found (and certainly there are plenty of joyful moments at all ages).  But I'm not the least bit bashful about saying that the baby stage wasn't near my favorite.  With my son at 6, there's so much happening that will never happen again (to borrow from KDMS), and so much of it is so  cool -- seeing him figure out how to do handstands in the swimming pool, reading the Narnia series to him, having him explain to me how strong an ant is (something he learned at summer camp).  Don't get me wrong, it was fun watching him figure out that his fingers belonged to him and he could control them, but between the two, I'd choose the handstands or the ants over the fingers any day.  And I think we need to be comfortable with the thought that it's OK not to revel in every moment of every stage of parenthood, and to like some ages better than others.  I'll admit I see a certain advantage to my experience that so far, it just gets better the older they get, since as compared to the alternative this seems a helpful way to perceive the trends, but it's not really strategy on my part, it's just who I am.  And it's OK if you feel that way too (and also OK if you don't).

I have a five year old and a six month old and i'm mostly with you on this, but it's really not the problem that the OP is dealing with.  He's not comparing a baby to an older kid, he's comparing life with a baby to life without a baby and (not surprisingly) finding that it involves a lot of drudgery, so he needs to find ways to enjoy it now, regardless of how much more he might enjoy parenting later.

bogart

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #37 on: August 08, 2013, 09:02:52 PM »
I have a five year old and a six month old and i'm mostly with you on this, but it's really not the problem that the OP is dealing with.  He's not comparing a baby to an older kid, he's comparing life with a baby to life without a baby and (not surprisingly) finding that it involves a lot of drudgery, so he needs to find ways to enjoy it now, regardless of how much more he might enjoy parenting later.

Well, yes and no.  Clearly the OP doesn't need info. about whether it would be more fun to be with a 5- or 6-year old right now, of course you're right about that.  But honestly I personally found (and find) the "enjoy babyhood" chorus (I don't mean here per se but in our culture) tedious and at times not all that helpful.  I do think it's OK to perceive babyhood be something one needs to "get through" (which is not to deny that it has joyous moments and elements) and useful to know that it does (at least for some of us) "get better."  Though on that latter note I'll admit I sometimes miss the lack of self-propelledness that babies, but not 6-year olds, possess ;)!

cerberusss

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #38 on: August 23, 2013, 01:35:00 AM »
So here's a little update from the parenting frontline.

I put lots of Gooki's suggestions to use, running up the stairs when the baby cries for a diaper change and proclaiming "BEST DAD IN THE WORLD". I had the girlfriend laughing about that one :-)  Also, there's no diaper change happening without extensive cuddling, might as well make best use of the time.

We also went back to a regime of sorts, where GF nurses the baby -- baby is awake for 30 mins -- we bring baby to bed for an hour, 1.5 hours -- baby gets to play downstairs again until feeding time -- rinse, repeat. GF loves the swaddling, and I've taken it up as well when I put the baby to bed. It seems to make her go to sleep quicker.

The sign language courses turn out to be given in the Netherlands as well, we're going to look into that.

The cleaning, instead of fussing about it, I started religiously turning on the Roomba twice, three times per week. Feels good without putting time in it.

I've taken to meditation, sometimes twice or three times per day. Just two, three minutes where I remind myself that  I'm thankful this baby has brains, two arms and two legs.

As bogart says, that doesn't help the fact that some days are hard -- I've had one day where GF was away, and the baby decided to cry for about four hours spread over the day. No mental walls hold against her mighty wail :D  The big difference is that I don't consider the day as "completely lost", now I see it's just one of those days that'll pass, which is okay.

Thanks everyone.

kkbmustang

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #39 on: August 23, 2013, 11:07:13 PM »
Congrats on the baby. It gets better, I promise. But life is different, clearly. If I had it to do all over again, I would:

1.  Take as many naps as possible with the baby instead of worrying about the dirty dishes in the sink.
2.  When I was covered in vomit and poop, laugh instead of cry, and do my level best not to gag.
3.  Take more walks outside with the baby.
4.  Ignore all of the "friendly" advice about how to be a parent to my child. My instincts were usually spot on.
5. Drink more water.

I will say that we had an amazing bunch in our support network. Both times we brought our babies home from the hospital, our friends and family signed up for meal delivery. We had food brought in every other day for about six weeks and it was a dream. My MIL stayed with us for a couple weeks and did all the cooking and cleaning. If your friends and family will do this, let them.

Having a newborn is exhilarating and exhausting. Throw on top of it a preemie or one who screams 24/7 until they are 14 weeks old and that's a whole other level of crazy.

Cut your GF some slack. She just made a human being and is simultaneously recovering from that, recovering from childbirth, is breast feeding, trying to understand your baby's language and how to comfort her and trying to make you happy. It's just a lot.

But I bet your daughter is beautiful and sweet and smells delicious (most of the time).

Cut yourself some slack, too. You're adjusting as well.

Katnina

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #40 on: August 24, 2013, 02:25:28 AM »
I know you didn't ask but here's how I think about the kid question (to have them or not).  If you never have a child you may or may not regret it at some point.  Chances are you'll be a happy person but there's the possibility that, at some point, you'll wish you'd had kids.  Versus:  If you do have a child you will never-ever, even for a second, wish you hadn't had that child.  Even at your most frustrated, exhausted, stressed-out moments, you won't want to 'send the kid back' or give them away (you may want a nice long break, but that's different).  So in that light, I've always thought it was a no-brainer decision.  With one caviat - that you're a sane person.  Most people who claim to not like kids or who can't connect with them (I was one) are completely different with their own child.

And lastly, ever since I had my first kid I've come to the realization: You don't know what true, unconditional love really is until you have a child.  And I love my husband dearly.

This is off topic, but I feel a need to get another POV out there in response to this.

Some people have kids because people tell them 'do it, you'll never regret it!'  and then they do regret it and they can't tell anyone because that just isn't done in our culture.  Having a kid because you don't want to, someday, in the future, regret not having a kid does not seem like a great reason to have a kid.  I believe kids should be very much wanted- they require so much effort, and work, and drudgery, that just having one because you don't want to someday regret not having had one doesn't make sense-to me. ymmv. 
I know people who regret having their kids.  They have told me they regret having their kids, to my face, and they are not lying.  They are also sane, rational people, not total lunatics.  It may not be common, but it does happen.  A quick look at Truu Mom Confessions and you'll find lots of people who regret having their kids but can't say it except anonymously on the internet because it is such a taboo in our pronatalist society.

And also, perhaps I am reading too much into it, but I interpret your last three sentences as saying that one will only ever experience true unconditional love with a kid that one birthed themself-what about people who adopt?  Do they love their kids less than parents who are genetically related to their kids?  What about people who adopt an older child, as opposed to a newborn?  What about people who are genetically related to their kids but had a surrogate?  What about women who birthed their babies but used an egg donor and sperm donor?  What about people who are infertile and can't have kids-will they therefore never have the chance to experience true, unconditional love?

I'm overly sensitive on this topic, obviously,  and the only experiencing true, unconditional love thing with your kid may apply in your case, but you can't generalize that to everyone.  Some people can experience true, unconditional love (or their interpretation of it) with their partner or their friends or their pets.  And on the flip side, some people don't love their kids.  Again, not common, but it does happen.





« Last Edit: August 24, 2013, 02:40:03 AM by Katnina »

mm1970

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #41 on: August 24, 2013, 07:36:36 PM »
Roses was very accurate about life with a baby.  I have a 7 year old and a 13 month old (to whomever said age six is awesome, they were right!)  I love my baby.  He's adorable, learning so many new skills, but he's getting teeth and...I ...just...never...sleep anymore.

Sadly, this time, with an infant...you really just have to suck it up (full disclosure: I've had a cleaning person for 6 years, 2x a month, I am not going to apologize for it.  I never pretended to be a full on Mustachian.)

Cooking healthy meals is not fun right now.  It's all about cooking as quickly as possible and not at all about being creative. I like being creative.  Oh well.

Cleaning...boy, from picking up food from the high chair every day, to putting stuff away constantly (I mean, constantly).

But I wouldn't trade with your girlfriend right now.  I loved nursing but I do not miss the every 3 hour feedings.

dweebyhawkeyes

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #42 on: August 24, 2013, 10:53:41 PM »
1.  Never EVER make coffee for your guests again!  Or at least until your kid is way older and you're out of this phase.  You shouldn't be waiting on other people when they come to your house.  They should be there to help you.  I know everyone wants to play with the baby so what you should do is say "I'm so glad you're here! I desperately need to go check some emails. Please help yourself to the coffee pot and whatever is in the fridge. Sorry there's not much to eat!" Your guests should get the hint that they need to come over with a meal for you (this is not just for the first few weeks after birth) or with time to help you out a bit.  Maybe they can fold some laundry or load the dishwasher.  If your family/friends aren't already doing this, consider sending out an SOS email telling people what you need: help with laundry, cleaning, running errands and especially babysitting!  Set up a babysitting calendar and see who would like to sign up.  If you feel sheepish doing this yourself ask a close friend or relative.  My sister did that for me and I had many people sign up to help me. Use your support network!

Non-parent here saying YES to this. The cliche "it takes a village to raise a child" isn't a cliche for nothing. Everyone knows having a child is a difficult job and once you admit  your needs to your family and friends, they'll likely be all over the tasks of helping you. Are you or you girlfriend close with your parents? I know a lot of grandmothers who would feel left out and even upset if their children outsourced grand-childcare away from them.

My sister had a baby over a year ago and has since had full or partial help with her child three to five days a week. Her husband and her sleep in and go out on dates often. Trust me, your family and your friends care about you and your child, and you do have a huge support system to be found. All you have to do is ask. I get to help sometimes and it's usually the highlight of my week.

Oh, and if you're afraid to ask since you're introverted and maybe haven't kept in touch with them (I'm the same), don't be. Statistically, you know some extraverts and they will be all up in your business the second you ask haha :]

Roses

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #43 on: August 25, 2013, 09:42:41 PM »
This is off topic, but I feel a need to get another POV out there in response to this.


Hi Katnina,
Iím really sorry my comment was upsetting!  It is an extremely personal topic and brings with it so many conflicting emotions Ė even in the same person.  I just feel like I see so many people worry that they wonít be good parents or that they wonít be able to do the things they like anymore.  And then once the clock runs out they are left with some regret.  But I didnít mean that should be the only reason.  Iím all for kids being wanted, as you say.  Itís something I think of with respect to people who say they do want kids but are afraid of the drawbacks, so maybe theyíre on the fence a bit.  If someone tells me they definitely donít want kids, donít like kids, etcÖ I donít argue with them.  As for parents regretting having kidsÖ  I suppose some people might but I do think youíre right in that it is quite rare.  What I have heard some parents say is that they had kids at the wrong time, that they didnít have time to go to school, build a career, or even grow up a little.  None of that means theyíd ask the stork to come take the child back though :)

I probably should have left those last 3 lines unsaid.  Itís just something Iíve observed not only in myself but in all the mothers Iíve talked to out of my friends, family, preschool, etc.  But I shouldnít have made it sound like a generalization.  One mom told me she loved her baby so much more than her husband and referred to it as every motherís Ďdirty little secretí, which I thought was funny.  Other mothers donít have that feeling from the very first moment but it grows.  I think post-partum depression can play a part in that when people donít even realize thatís what theyíre going through Ė and it can last years in some cases.

I really want to clarify something Ė when I said ďhave a childĒ I meant in any way you choose to (adoption, in-vitro, surrogate, donor, etc, etc.)  It has been my dream since middle school to adopt a child or two and Iím actually in the process of researching and narrowing down countries right now.  Iíve always thought I could love any child I called my own, irrespective of DNA.  The only reason I had a biological child was because my husband wanted to and then the idea grew on me.  Of course Iím not a bit sorry :)  And because of my age I had to have a biological kid first otherwise it wasnít going to happen.

Interesting topic!  Sorry we hijacked the thread, everyone!

Katnina

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Re: Can I enjoy Mustachianism when there's lots of boring stuff to be done?
« Reply #44 on: August 25, 2013, 10:43:03 PM »
^^  Thank you for clarifying!