Friday, October 15, 2004

Speechless, for a change

I haven't had much to say lately. The main reason is that my job is keeping me very busy right now. That has actually been pretty enjoyable, but this vacation of sorts I've been having at work for the last four months comes to an end on Monday. That makes me sad, but I'll live. The good news, though, is that I start a new job on November 1st. I am very excited about the possibilities it holds.

A couple of baby stories for Friday.

It is fascinating to watch a baby develop. Now that Claire is crawling, she's starting to understand distance and the fact that people go away. She's been awake the last couple of mornings when I've left for work and she cries when I leave. It's great to feel wanted and needed, but it doesn't make you want to leave. She's also learned how to wave "bye-bye" in the last couple of weeks. It is adorable.

The flip side of that story is that Claire is incredibly excited to see me when I get home. She gives me a big smile and crawls to me as fast as she can. If there's something in her way, she cries until the obstacle is moved or she gets around it. Seeing that makes all of the baggage from a hard day at work disappear.

Now our only problem is that Claire has this small misunderstanding about sleep. She doesn't quite get that we sleep at night and play during the day. She wants to play all day and all night. That's not so good for those of us that like to sleep more than an hour at a time at night.
Speaking of babies and love, my father-in-law gave Sarah a book for her birthday called Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain.

Apparently research is showing that affection plays a crucial role in how babies develop. Knowing that makes me happy that Sarah decided to stay home with Claire. It certainly makes my life easier, but I believe that it is making a world of difference in Claire's life. I understand that not all families can afford to have one parent stay home and that placing your children in daycare doesn't make anyone a bad parent.

But I've got to say this. If you are middle class or filthy rich and you want to have children, but you're not willing to prioritize your life in a way that makes your children more important than money, then maybe you shouldn't have children. I know some people (male or female) feel like they couldn't stay home. But making your children a priority doesn't mean you have to quit your job. Maybe each partner works part-time. But if you are unwilling to change your lifestyle (by that I mean, get along with less money), I don't think you should have children.

I know a couple that has two children. Between the two of them they make a very good living. Their children spend close to 60 hours a week in daycare. Their jobs, and the lifestyle that their salaries make possible, are more important to them than being present for their children. They could live easily on either one of their salaries. They choose a large house, new cars, exotic vacations, and eating out over presence.

I think if you have the financial means available, you should put your kids first. If that's not something you want to do, don't have children. The last thing our society needs are more people who evaluate success only in terms of money.

Here's an interesting, and kind of scary, story from 60 Minutes about the phenomenon of high-powered women staying home. The scary part is a woman arguing that staying home is worse for women than being in the workforce and that women who do decide to stay home hurt women who decide to work. No more ranting for today.



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