Ups and downs of parenting

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I was talking to a friend today and realized that when I talk about fatherhood, it’s mostly in negative terms. We work together (and sometimes travel as well), so my limited flexibility is a natural topic. But still, I felt compelled to offset the negativity of the described parenting experience with the positive side, and it was hard.

It’s not that the beautiful side is not there – quite to the contrary; it is just very hard to explain to somebody who does not have children.

The bad stuff about parenting – sleep deprivation, chores, responsibilities – is very legible, very easy to explain. The amazing stuff is not as easy – the subtle smiles, the jokes the kid makes, the way they brave through scary situations.

Paul Graham mentioned this as well in his amazing essay on “Having Kids”:

What I didn’t notice, because they tend to be much quieter, were all the great moments parents had with kids. People don’t talk about these much — the magic is hard to put into words, and all other parents know about them anyway — but one of the great things about having kids is that there are so many times when you feel there is nowhere else you’d rather be, and nothing else you’d rather be doing.

If you are considering having children, I encourage you to read the opening sentence. If this describes you, go ahead and read the whole thing.

Before I had kids, I was afraid of having kids. Up to that point I felt about kids the way the young Augustine felt about living virtuously. I’d have been sad to think I’d never have children. But did I want them now? No.

If you want to chat with other parents on how to have amazing life while nurturing your children, my wife hosts a series on Interintellect, called Kinderintellect.

This weekend we attended a wedding and left our daughter with her grandma for the first time. I don’t remember partying that hard before, but it was a welcome break and a very good celebration.

We returned home around 2 am, and at 4, our baby woke up and demanded a full schedule of play she was denied the previous evening. Party Hard.

Few things I’ve read

Fish & Ships

Gregory is creating dreamy illustrations, and one of his series is -very appropriately- called “Fish & Ships”. Check out his Twitter

From digital nomad to becoming a parent

Continuing the parenting thread, Nikolaj has a very good post about becoming a parent as a digital nomad:

While traveling full-time we heard this all the time: “Better do this now, you can’t do it when you have kids”, which is such bullshit. There is such a negative framing of the before and after having kids.

He also touches on the “dynamic equilibrium” of location independence:

really like the idea about being on the border of many different communities and applying a bit from each

How to trade money and time

Let’s talk about something other than parenting, ok?

Convenience is my love language. I spend some effort in hopes of saving the future Artur a lot of annoyance in the future. My attempts include hiring Virtual Assistants, buying 10+ chargers, testing many many headsets, and generally drowning in extra cables.

Katja lists a few more ideas in her article on how to trade money and time:

I agree that time is very valuable. I just disagree that you should avoid putting values on valuable things. What you don’t explicitly value, you squander

Can Matt Mullenweg Save the Internet?

Matt is my boss, a friend, and kind of an important figure in Internet history. The article in protocol with a little grandiose title “Can Matt Mullenweg save the Internet?” is a very good introduction (and a reminder for myself) to why I continue to work for Automattic for seven years now:

I think it’s crucially important to have alternatives that are creator-focused, versus advertiser-focused

This paragraph captures very well how it is to talk to him:

Before he answered, Mullenweg changed the frame of the question. This happened constantly in our conversations: I’d ask about Instagram or the iPhone, he’d respond with Plato or Camus

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  1. Nabeel says:

    I’m on my 5th week of parenthood. I really needed to read something like this, thanks!

    1. David says:

      Congrats Nabeel!

    2. Artur Piszek says:

      Oh congrats! I have to say it really gets easier from there!
      And then your brain erases that first month 😀

      1. Nabeel says:

        I hope so! These past few days especially have been hellish.

  2. Dave says:

    I love this post, Artur. All the parenting/kids topics are so well-stated and you’ve really identified an interesting phenomenon in how the experience of having children is discussed socially.

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