A message from the dad-to-be during the first trimester…
When did you feel like an “adult”? I consider the day I graduated college to be the day I became an adult. Sure, I had some responsibilities beforehand, and yes, I barely knew what I was doing afterwards, but that was the time where I truly felt like I was on my own and was finally free to shape my world and my life. That was May of 2005.
[Furniture assembly in our first apartment]
I started working at Great Harvest in October of 2008, and applied for our franchise in July of 2009. That’s about the time when I felt like I reached the next level of adulthood – a stable life path that I felt was worth following. Until that time, I was jealous of people who had apparently found their career calling, but now I wonder if they felt as insecure as I did?
So that means there was about a four year period in which I was still pretty naïve and lost, yet I distinctively remember feeling during that time that “one day, I will have kids.” It wasn’t even a negotiable sensation in my mind… really, even when I think back to middle school, I always had the assumption that one day I’d be a father. We have several friends now who know that they never want kids and it’s such a foreign sensation to me – did they know this when they were in middle school?
Now I’m thinking about when is the right time to have kids? I’m talking purely from an emotional level – you can find all the advice you need about the physical right time, or the financial right time. How do you just know? My parents had me when they were 30 and that always seemed like a nice round number to me. But growing up I always imagined them as way more mature and settled than I am right now. Thinking about it now I realize they probably felt as nervous as I do!
Reaching a stable career is something I sought for a long time. I almost expected that my life would instantly enter this period of calm where I had clearly defined borders between work and play, and at any time I would be able to leave work behind and just relax. But any small business owner will tell you that your work is so intertwined with your life that you never truly escape. Sure, we’re good about not bringing work home, taking our entire Sunday off, and working hard to find the time to go on vacations. And I’m also very thankful that the unexpected, ever-changing nature of my job is what makes it enjoyable and interesting. But I’ve never quite reached that moment of quiet when you suddenly realize you have absolutely nothing to do. Does anyone ever reach that moment?
My personality is such that I like to plan and plan and plan everything to the perfect detail and then finally I execute. But I’m starting to wonder and even accept and believe that it’s basically the human condition to never quite feel in control of your world. That’s the greatest fear I have about raising a child. I believe that my child deserves every single bit of my attention, but I worry that with everything else going on in my life, can I give them all the attention they deserve? How do you ever weigh any decision between doing X thing for your child, or Y thing for any other person or thing? I mean, by running the bakery I provide jobs for a dozen people, food for hundreds of people, tax money for our community, and hopefully a great business for our city. But does that mean anything when my child is at home experiencing the world without me? How do other parents deal with their time and responsibilities?
I know I’m being unreasonable – if we can figure out how to run a business almost entirely through experiential learning, I’m sure we can figure out how to raise a baby. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has wondered what the heck they’ve gotten into! My world will continue as it always has, except now I’ll have a little someone to experience it with me… for all the wondering I’ve done about other people’s thoughts, somehow I feel like my child’s won’t be quite as hard to guess.