I read a blog posting by Erin Pavlina: Children vs. Purpose: Do the two mix?
It’s timing was interesting as a few people I know have or are having children and our child became 3 year old recently, giving me enough space to think with somewhat experience and hopefully insight.
My own difficulties were not from if I do someother things, what will it take away from my child, but more of, what should I drop from other areas of my life due to the new things in life.
My letter to new parents, especially for the first two years in forms of suggestions
- Get help when the new born comes, particularly for the first few months. Ask grandparents to come(if possible) for a few months, one at a time, get a maid to clean up, iron clothes and even cook a little. Grandparents are great also because they have done it all and are mostly wise and cool at handling child issues.
- Make a conscious decision of what you will drop from your life else things will drop anyways, but without your knowing. Hints: Meeting with friends will happen less, so will Movies or or TV books that you read for leisure. The career and success by hard work (> 40 hours per week) will go on a hold or take away from other areas including sleep and health.
- Get healthy and stay healthy, especially if you have a sendetary career (like software development.) I would highly recommend Yoga.
- Finally some guideposts from a parent’s POV: First 3 months: Will be a blur, lot of tiredness and lack of sleep. Stick together and share the burden. Next 6 months: Getting better, but still tough going and requiring stamina but with more free time and energy. Go slow in bringing up old or new activities back. Next 9 months: The best and great fun, the baby responds, smiles and laughes, even walks and some words come out. Sleep times are now much longer (6-8) It is a delightful time. Try to ensure, baby sleeps in her bed\room by this age, 9-18 months. Next 12 months: It is easy from here on, things only reduce including no diapers and so on.
And if I were to reply to the question to Erin, it would be:
Question: Can one live their life with purpose if the purpose seems to be almost entirely for or through their children? And if a person feels like they need to be doing more, how do they do so without being as invested in their children as they could have been? – Laura
Yes one can live their life with purpose, if their purpose is entirely for their children. I know people who do and are happy. It is same as people who can work in a single company and job all their life and be happy. Satisfaction is a personal goal, everyone needs to find their own.
If I were to look at purpose as find one’s calling or even increase in one area of life (Career, Spiritual, Money), early parenthood is a tough time to make new leaps. Things are better off put on a hold for say 2 years.
If a person feels they need to do well and can(say afford daycare) and are happy with things happening in their child’s life, they should make changes to go and explore their purpose. It will take away from other parts of life including parenthood, however after a certain threshold, the impact of this will be less and less. Think of what will benefit the child as well as you, playtime or daycare will take the child away from the parents, but teach them social skills and let them have fun.
This threshold is yours to choose and know, for example, one threshold would be, you are happy making the child and having dinner, playing for an hour and teaching\learning for one hour each day. Another threshold would be, tucking in every night and reading a book. Choose it consciously.
Finally, I would point to the song, Cat’s in the cradle by Ugly Kid Joe among others.