When’s the Best Time to Have Kids?

February 21st, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  3 Comments

Once again I’m not home. This week I’ve left behind my wife, my deeply saddened daughter, and the ongoing renovation of our kitchen to eat my way through frosty Montreal—with my younger brother, Steve.

In the past couple of years, Steve and I have developed one ongoing, never-finished conversation: I try to convince him to have kids sooner, and he shrugs off said attempts. My argument is based, naturally, on my own experience. I’m now 36, with a 2-year-old kid. By the time she’s 16, I’ll be 50. And when she’s really getting going on her career (or maybe just halfway through grad school), I’ll be 60. By the time she’s having kids herself—if she follows my example—I’ll be dead. Or nearly so.

Of course, I can’t change the past, and I can’t predict the future. But on some level I regret not having had Sasha earlier, in large part because she’s just so much fun to be around. It’s a pointless regret. Even a couple of years earlier, I didn’t have the career or the housing or the common sense that have made raising Sasha so easy (relatively) and rewarding.

And I guess that’s where Steve (and his wife, Tara) are right now. Working hard, getting ahead, and enjoying being married and free of responsibility. That’s how it goes now, for more than just the Gross family. It takes longer to get established, and kids—well, that could fuck it all up. So you work and wait, and either you have a kid or two when you’re “older” or you don’t have one at all, and then, several hundred generations down the road, we get Idiocracy. Which really wasn’t all that good a movie, if we want to face facts.

So, Steve (and Tara), unless you want America to become a land of cretins ruled over by a professional wrestler, please hurry up and have a kid. Also, Sasha needs a playmate. The world is depending on you!


Responses

  1. Steve says:

    February 21st, 2011at 1:38 pm(#)

    There is something essentially flawed with your approach I think. That notion that kids will prevent you from “getting ahead” whatever that is, or that you should be “established” before you start having kids. Note the scare quotes.
    If having a family is an important value for you, then having kids IS “getting ahead” and being “established.” All other considerations are besides the point. I got my first kid the same year I started my PhD, while living on pathetic university funding, with no career prospects to look forward to.
    Sorry to say (please don’t take it the wrong way) but I find it a very bourgeois idea that you should wait till you have achieved your career goals and bought a two-story house in a nice upscale suburb before you are settled enough to provide a decent home for children.
    Children are a blessing, not an expense. They thrive on love and passion (so cheesy, I know) not on promotions and large disposable incomes.
    my 2 cents.

  2. beta dad says:

    February 22nd, 2011at 3:19 am(#)

    Idiocracy was a not-so-great movie full of great gags that are very useful for discussing real issues. “You know, like that part in Idiocracy where all the politicians have the names of their sponsors on their jumpsuits…” etc. Everyone should see it.

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