And the problematic pram in the hallway
Also could mention Sheila Heti and Rachel Cusk.
I'm starting to think enjoying parenthood and creative work is the more radical of perspectives.
One of your best, Kevin. Much appreciated insight here. Also love that you cited two of my all-time favorites, Michael Chabon and Zadie Smith.
I’ll echo / add… for any creative person, there’s never enough time for your art. That just how it is. If it’s not your own children you may have been blessed (or, in certain personality types, cursed) with, someone or something else would pull you away from the work. You either deal or you don’t. Writing is hard. But we’re still pretty damn lucky to be able to do it.
Beautiful piece. Thank you.
“Certainly, the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men.” I disagree, Mr Bacon, and you would do the same if you saw my work this afternoon. Would a childless man be able to build such a nice Lego while pretending to work? I don’t think so.
I wouldn't be writing here on Substack were it not for having my daughter
So good! I nodded along to every paragraph. Thank you for your thoughts on this!
I feel like I've used my time so much better since getting together with my wife, and even more since having a baby. My wife and I like to say to each other that "we had SO much time before the baby", and in reality we just used our time so much differently. I thought I was strapped for time... ha!
Since my baby boy came along I started getting up early and getting to the gym (a 10 year goal I never got around to until now), writing, doing more creative-y things - all while still being present as a dad, husband, and friend. Not because I have more time, but because losing time and freedom just helped me hyper-focus on the things that are now important to me. Summed up beautifully by you, "Because for everything that pram in the hall takes from us, what it gives, beyond all else, is a role to play—a sense of purpose in becoming something for these children you have sired, providing them with what you may have found lacking in your old childhood, and breaking the cycles of those who came before you. If that inspires you to do something bigger, so be it. But it isn’t necessary". Thanks for this.
Also, here's that powerpoint (Google Slide) of the pros and cons list: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1jrTqqgMjGKRZLQ9FiULeLqh3_oxPOtnYooukOKgAN4A/edit#slide=id.p
This was beautiful. The Michael Chabon quote brought tears to my eyes. Thank you. <3
"Cannot read in the Evenings?" Who says? Why, I have enjoyed many happy hours since the birth of our child reading such marvelous literary creations such as "Green Eggs and Ham", "There's a Wocket in my Pocket", and "One Fish Two Fish", not to mention other tales about scaredy squirrels and peek-a-boo farms and whatnot.
Kevin, reading this made me feel like this was exactly the kind of piece 'The New Fatherhood' was born to publish. You basically summed up ALL my feelings about parenthood, fatherhood, all of it in one essay. This is swinging for the fences, and you nailed it.
I love this from the new fatherhood. What a beautiful and hilarious essay on The Creative Parent Paradox!
My own reason for having four children was wanting to fall in love in that ferocious way and do it again and again and again.