This weekend, we did nothing but chores. Well, technically, we also sat outside in the freezing cold to watch one football and two soccer games. We went to Home Depot twice, since we are working on repainting the kids’ rooms. We switched out summer clothes for winter and went to Target. My wife did about 37 loads of laundry (she has a very particular system, and does not appreciate anyone messing with it, even if that someone has actually managed to do their own laundry without ruining anything for their entire adult life). I tried to go for a run (something for me! Something fun!) and tripped over a metal pipe buried in leaves on the edge of the sidewalk, twisting my ankle and skinning my knee. I limped home after only being gone for 10 minutes.
Yesterday, the kids were off from school, so we worked from home. Sometimes this means about 4 hours of work sprinkled with fun activities for the kids. This time, for me, it meant my ass at the desk from 9:30 in the morning until midnight, with breaks only to pick my son up from a birthday party, eat dinner, and clean up the kitchen afterward. To top it all off, my boss warned me at about 7 pm that I was “about to get really busy.”
To say that I resent the men I work with who have stay at home wives or part-time wives is an understatement. I promise you none of them were up at 6:45 to make dinner in the crockpot before they left for work. I promise you none of them were responsible for making sure their awkwardly-sized pre-teen daughter had long sleeved shirts. When I told my wife I was “about to get really busy,” she correctly observed that we were ALREADY really busy. And then the cat peed on the bed, which is her way of also observing that it has been a little too hectic for her liking.
As I sat at my desk, researching laws I don’t care about at 11:30 at night, I thought about busy, and our lives. I thought about adding the complication of a pregnancy and a baby to our already full plates. When I climbed into bed, I asked my wife if I would be happy soon. I don’t think anyone would be happy working a a job they don’t like for 16 hours a day, and spending their leisure time cleaning up cat piss, so she hopefully does not take these questions personally. I asked her whether we were stupid to add another complication to our already overbooked lives. “Well,” she said, “according to the New York Times, having more children is totally likely to make you even more miserable. But let’s do it anyway.”
I should note that this is how we approach most things in our lives. Oh a dog, that sounds like a lot of work and something we don’t have time for. Let’s do it anyway. What’s that, we never have a weekend with more than an hour of free time? Let’s go ahead and re-decorate all three kids’ rooms anyway. Etc.
No one would say that coercing your 10 year old daughter into a shirt that isn’t $55 is fun. No one wants to run around from practice to practice, packing snacks and dealing with messes and broken things and cat pee and dogs barking and teenagers stropping. On balance, it probably nets out to less overall happiness. But still, no one who has kids would really change it. As my wife said, they also add so much light to your life.
So no. Having another kid won’t make me happy. It will probably even make me less happy (on a net basis), if the New York Times is to be believed. Whatever, lets do it anyway.