1/ I want to start an honest conversation about kids: They are terrible for your career. They strain your marriage. They make you way poorer.

But they are also the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Here’s what my experience has been like with two young ones.

2/ Before kids, I was all about my startup life. I built an awesome edtech company with my wife, and we sacrificed many years (filled with joy and pain) to get our nut. We traveled a lot. We ate out. We hung out with friends every weekend.

Then we decided to have kids...
3/ When our first kid arrived, we attempted to be very active parents--that didn’t work out so well. It turns out that being a stay-at-home mom or dad is way harder than we could bear, psychologically and physically.
4/ We had to accept that we were better off throwing money at the problem and got a wonderful nanny + other support, so we could go back to work. That decision currently costs us $80K/year (now for 2 kids in f-ed up bay area rates), but was right for us.
5/ For me, I try not to work between 5pm and 9pm during the week, so I can dedicate time with family. Weekends are all family time. But I have to make up those lost hours of productivity by starting work at 5am. On average I get 5 hours of sleep per night, which is not enough.
6/ It’s even worse for my wife, who is running 3 companies and breastfeeds our new baby. We are grumpy all the time and I’m dangerously tired (esp driving). I also feel probably 60-70% at full brain power most days. I’m the fattest I’ve ever been.
7/ I’ve accepted that with the decision to have kids, my wife and I are only half as good as we could be in our careers. We are less psychologically and physically healthy. And we’re losing touch with our close friends.
8/ The deeply honest truth too is that I was more than 50% against ever having kids to begin with. Why purposely destroy my quality of life, right? But now that I have two, I realize now that I was a damn fool.

The joy of having children comes down to some really simple things:
9/ My wife and I have created the very best roommates/friends we’ll ever have. And we get to own them for the next 18 years! The poo, pee, lack of sleep, etc. seem so trivial as concerns compared to their awesomeness.
10/ Selfishly, by having kids I somehow unlocked a new, higher tier of joy that I didn’t know existed. As well as a new, lower floor of pain. But it’s mostly joy at an existential level.
11/ Even when I come back from a long day of sucking at my job, my kids come running and remind me how much they love me. My family never judges me (nor cares) about the day’s job performance, but only want me to be present.

And with that--I’ve never felt so rich in my life.

Most Liked Replies

Great stuff! Keep it coming. We need more real threads like this.

Also, watch @KimsConvenience. It’s required for all Korean diaspora. C @MikeYuan82
RJ Clarke 🦕 💀🖤:
Thanks for sharing this thread. My wife and I haven't made the decision quiiiite yet, so it truly is helpful to hear the reality and scope of children. 👍
Lou Hong:
Curious how this has changed the lens you view entrepreneurs through?
Mason Jones:
I agree with most of your thoughts here! But when you say you “have to make up those lost hours of productivity” you know that’s not true, right? You’re choosing to do so but things would really be fine if you don’t. Delegate, prioritize, and be happy.
Dan Hill:
This so good and resonates so much 🙏
Josh Zipin:
Thanks for sharing this vulnerable and real stuff.
Bogdan Constantin:
I couldn’t agree more. Have an 18 month old. Routinely say the day we had her was the end of fun but the beginning of joy. So much more emotion unlocked in something as simple as seeing her smile.
Jim Healy:
Thanks Eric. All very true. We are a bit further along with 3 kids and the oldest headed off to college next year. My (possibly controversial) opinion is that marriage does not truly begin until kids come along! Best of luck to you.
Mr. Drillhead:
As they grow older they will become your absolute BEST friends as well. Not only your kids...
Angie Gazdziak:
Thanks for sharing. I could co- sign this. The one thing that I hate is that I can’t talk about my family on job interviews, and I often feel like I can’t talk about them at work. If I talk about my family too much, it sends up red flags.

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