Family Isn't Hard Work; It's Fun
Having a family isn't all that difficult. It's actually fun!
Like everyone else, I grew up being terrified of marriage and children and all the hassles that come with it. The crying and the pooping and the sleepless nights. The never-ending expenses (how the heck do people afford families nowadays?). The nagging and the unrelenting pressure to keep a woman happy and loyal. It all seemed so impossible!
Then I got married and a few years after that had a baby, and you know what? It's nothing like I was led to believe!
It's Not (Too) Expensive
Okay, so my kids aren't applying to University yet. Heck, they're not even in school yet (one is only a toddler and the other hasn't even been born), so I don't know what kind of expenses I'm looking at when that happens. Also, daycare is expensive. I mean RIDICULOUSLY expensive. I pay $35/day and that's a steal!
But everything else about having a child isn't as pricey as I was led to believe. At first glance, diapers seem expensive, but $40 gives us a month Huggies. Kids clothing, at least for babies and toddlers, is nice and cheap and when it isn't there's always Facebook buy & sell groups. With a bit of prep, it's easy to feed a kid. Get a blender and a juicer and a slow cooker and you're all set! Keep track of those pacifiers because THOSE babies get pricey (hint: they're all under the sofa. Every. Single. One.)
Childbirth Isn't That Bad, Really
I'm going to get a lot of flack from the ladies for this one, but I was there, man. Once they put the epidural in my wife's spine she could barely feel a thing. She kept asking me to look at the electronic monitor thingy to see if she was having a contraction! Sure, there are those psychopaths out there who eschew modern technology and want a "natural" childbirth (sorry hippies, but that baby is coming out the natural way whether you're high as a kite or not), but for normal women of sound mind, the hospitals have everything you need for a relatively comfortable birthing.
Children Bring You Closer Together
There is no greater feeling to hold one of my little guy's tiny hands while my wife holds his other one and we all go for a walk together. He loves holding hands, and this is one thing that I had forgotten. Sure, my wife and I used to hold hands when we walked, and in a way we still do: it's just through a third-party intermediary.
Our son is bratty and hilarious and is also a big goof, and his antics cause constant laughter for Katya and I. We've grown closer as parents, at a new level that I haven't experienced before. It's hard to describe, but when little Max grabs me by the hair, and then grabs Katya by the hair, and then mashes our faces together to kiss, well, there's something special about that.
One thing that Katya and I were both terrified of was the myth that we would never sleep again. Both of us love to sleep. The first half of our relationship was built on sleep. We literally slept together all the time. I mean real sleep, just snoring and drooling and being as lazy as possible. So when we were preparing for the coming baby we were both anxious about the loss of sleep for the next twenty years.
We certainly did lose sleep in the beginning, especially Katya. She had to get up every three hours to breast feed an insatiable infant. But eventually, after three months or so, the sleep got longer and better and by the end of the first year, we were pretty much sleeping all night. Okay, well, I was.
It's Not Stressful
All the comedians and all the serious talks and all the literature always make family and children seem to like the most stressful thing in the world. It isn't. Sure, there are stressful moments, but there's stress in every life whether you have kids or not, and this is no different.
Look, I've been there. I spent almost a full year as a stay-at-home dad, half of which Katya was back to work and I was caring for a crawling infant. It was funtastic (according to Grammarly, that's a word). I've had more stressful, more difficult times working on fishing boats or in a restaurant kitchen. Spending all day with a baby is a blast. They find anything fun!
Having a family is relaxing. I don't have many friends anymore. For some reason, my twenties and thirties came to an end and now I just go to work and come home. My family is always here. My son is super happy to see me every time I walk in the door. His face just lights up. My wife supports me in everything I do, including all my crazy business ideas. We have a house and a backyard and toys and food and a place to relax. Having a family is the opposite of stressful!
Being a father and a husband is, so far, the most productive thing I've ever done with my life. Sure I've traveled all over the world, lived at sea, started two businesses and survived a tsunami, but all of that seems surreal, as if I watched it on television, compared to the reality of having a family. It's not hard work at all, it's rather fun, and I recommend it for everyone!