Youth is wasted on the young, and free time is wasted on people without children.- John Siracusa
When Mrs.Chaos was pregnant with the first kid my friends jokingly said, "prepare to give up all your hobbies for the next 3-5 years." I laughed along knowing there would still be time in life to play and work on things. That's what naptime and after bedtime is for, right?
I fell into the pre-parents trap by grossly misunderstanding how I would want to use time. Writing apps? Learning Swift? Yeah, I haven't done that. Playing all the great games that have been coming out? Yeah, I haven't done that. WWDC, PAX, etc? Yeah, I haven't done that.
I *DO* think that I estimated the required time commitment roughly right in my brain, what I didn't think about was the optional time commitment. If I asked for an hour every couple of nights or on the weekend to do my own thing, I'm sure that Mrs.Chaos would be happy to oblige, but the thing is... given an hour of free time do I want to use it lock myself into the office and play with Swift? Or do I want to use it play trains with my family? In hindsight, the answer is obvious.
So many pieces of my life that I used to use to define myself - "I am an awesome developer, avid socialite, video game player, movie enthusiast" have dropped away to make room to define myself as a father. I try not to look back longingly on the time I had to do those things, because I don't want to make the time in my life to do them rigth now.
There was the essay "Are You Lonely, Mama?" aimed at the isolation that new mom's feel. Funny thing is, if you're a work-from-home dad like me, all the same points hit. A lot of the dads out there head into the office and it's not all business, they chat in the coffee room, go out to lunch, etc. Work from home? I sit at a desk in the front office all day and I have a lot of meetings on the phone, but there is not time for social.
From that essay, the line that resonated the most to me was:
You will never be more loved and wanted and needed as you are right now... in this moment. - Kristen Lavalley