Me, screaming at women in a bar about the number of kids they have

On the night before Thanksgiving 2008, actually, if I remember correctly — I was in this bar in midtown Manhattan, near the Empire State Building. My friend and I were having a few pops before the holidays and family stuff commenced. We were in the bar area, and at a table in the bar area, you had four women sitting together having some drinks. You could tell from how they were dressed and their accessories that they were probably affluent.

I was kinda buzzed about 1 hour into this. Around that time, one of the ladies says something like this:

“If your husband makes over $500,000, you owe it to yourself to have 3 or more kids!”

Now, again, I wasn’t fully sober. But this was one of the dumbest things I had ever heard. If your husband makes that kind of money, awesome. Great for you guys. But a guy making half-a-mil annually has a tremendous amount of commitments to work. Work probably overwhelms them, or at the very least kinda “is their life.” That means less time being psychologically present for their children.

Phrased another way, if you make half-a-mil and want to keep making that, you probably answer emails at 11am on Saturdays when you should be at the zoo showing your kid a tiger. You know what I mean?

Just the last two Sundays, I’ve seen dudes answering work emails in church. If you can’t put down the mobile in church, you’ve got a problem. I don’t know if those guys doing that are making $500K, but there’s a big issue with men and their commitment to work anyway.

That has a lot of emotional repercussions.

And if you think this is just me saying how I feel, well, it is. But there’s also some research about how our careers affect our children, including this section:

Children were more likely to show behavioral problems if their fathers were overly involved psychologically in their careers, whether or not they worked long hours. And a father’s cognitive interference of work on family and relaxation time — that is, a father’s psychological availability, or presence, which is noticeably absent when he is on his digital device — was also linked with children having emotional and behavioral problems. On the other hand, to the extent that a father was performing well in and feeling satisfied with his job, his children were likely to demonstrate relatively few behavior problems, again, independent of how long he was working.

Read that over a couple of times. Tell me what it says to you. I think it screams “Work is breaking our ties to what should actually matter,” but maybe that’s just me.

Oh, and the end of that story above: I kneeled by those women and tried to explain why their rationale was shitty. They called security on me. I was asked to leave the bar. The affluent always seem to win, you know?

What do you think about the tie between “your tie to work” / “how much money you make” and your children?

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Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/hire-freelance-writer-ted-bauer/

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