Being ‘ready’ is a myth.
There will never come a day when you wake up and say, “Yep, I finally feel ready to have kids.” That’s not how our brains work. Our brains have perfected the ability to notice problems and those things we haven’t accomplished yet. And this is why the feeling of being ready will continue to get punted further into the future the closer you actually get to it.
Ready-enough is a much wiser approach. You won’t be sacrificing as many years without the perspective shifts, skills, and joys that child-raising can bring into your life.
Kids are masters at asking questions.
They have the distinct ability to get at the essence of something by asking the most obvious, first principle-type questions. I bet that unless you have kids (or are around kids) you aren’t getting hit with deep questions on the things about life you think you already know.
Not only do they hit you from all angles with tough questions, but they will keep pressing you way beyond your first answer - asking a follow-up ‘why?’ to each answer you give.
This questioning forces you to keep on your toes, reconsider what you thought you already knew, and occasionally admit you don’t know the answer.
Some parents may find it annoying or too cognitive to handle, but I find it refreshing.
It has elevated my own ability to ask questions from a fundamental level, including the follow-up layers of ‘why?’. And this has sharpened my BS detector more than anything. Anywhere in life you catch someone saying “That’s just how it is” or “Because I said so” - you instantly know they are either trying to get one over on you or they don’t know what they're talking about and want to save face.
This way of questioning the world keeps you grounded in a firm understanding, but also prevents you from being hoodwinked.
Kids keep your eyes fresh.
Those things you take for granted suddenly are seen in a new light. And this ability to regain the beginner’s mind is incredibly useful. Otherwise, the world can start to lose its color, lose its magic, and our imaginations dim.
The greatest thing is to keep your childlike curiosity intact. To see things in a new way that’s undefined because there’s a good chance you missed something along the way to becoming an adult.
When you’re raising a family on 1 income, you must avoid becoming careless with money.
Wasting money is painfully obvious in this situation and thankfully becomes much harder to do. And you must appreciate these types of built-in guard rails because they keep you focused (albeit sometimes via stress) on spending in a strategic way and investing in your family’s well-being even if indirectly. The line I picked up somewhere that sticks in my head - “I’m too poor to afford cheap”. Limitations raise the stakes, yes, but they can also raise the quality of your decision-making too.
Having less wiggle room is a blessing in disguise because it keeps you straight.
I’d even argue that the relationships within your home strengthen too.
The level of simplicity that you’re forced into causes everyone to have more time for each other and get to know each other on a deeper level.
Without all the grand adventures, fancy toys, and expensive to-do’s, there’s more time for presence. And this is particularly important for your children’s childhood - the brief window of time that’s irreplaceable and immensely impactful on your future relationship with them. I’ve heard countless stories of how families have become wealthy and well-off when the kids were towards the end of their teens, but the days they missed the most were when they didn’t have much and were piled up in a tiny house with very little.
Hard times bring families closer together.
It forces you to become relentlessly resourceful.
Fantastic childhood memories can be achieved with little to no money.
Things like staying with friends & family while traveling, making crafts from what’s in the recycling bin, using free scrap wood to build a mud kitchen, and tons of time out in nature. Creativity loves constraints and your mind will see opportunities for great experiences that would be overlooked if you had better means. Fortunately, you’re hardwired to give your children a good life and the circumstances can be an advantageous limitation.
Just because you may have little to spare doesn’t mean there isn’t still lots to give your children in other ways, ways that end up being more meaningful regardless.
“Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day. But if we forget to savor the world, what possible reason do we have for saving it? In a way, the savoring must come first.” - E.B. White
A savoring-first approach is a counterintuitive way to save the world.
You only truly want to save and preserve that which you appreciate most and if you don’t appreciate it deep down then you won’t make the effort required to keep it around. Having kids in your 20s keeps you closer to the source of your childlike wonder and imagination.
Society (hopefully) hasn’t had enough time to strip you of this as it pushes you towards the shadow versions of adulthood.
This helps keep you actively present with your children and enjoying them more - you relate better.
Being able to relate and connect with them on their level sets them up for nervous system success. And I have little doubt that the world could use more people with regulated nervous systems and strong parent-child relationships. It’s an ideal scenario that checks the boxes of both savoring the world and saving it.
By enjoying your children more, you will by default seek all ways of maintaining and preserving this aspect of the world.
As a result, the world improves.
Plus, it brings you back into your local sphere of influence .
Instead of bypassing your 3D reality in an effort to 'SaVe ThE wOrLd', you tap back into the present where you can actually make a difference.
People shy away from this because it puts the power to change things back within your control and so you know instantly the feedback of your actions. Raising tiny humans provides enormous amounts of feedback for who you are as a person, how your energy affects things, and what type of ripples you’re causing in your immediate environment.
Raising kids keeps you sharp, grounded, & impactful - less likely to get lost as a mere statistic in the massive chaotic world.
Turns out there can be a lot of overlap between building design and building a life. John Ruskin (unknowingly perhaps) tells us how to live life better.
It's never too late to stumble upon an underlying principle of reality. (Especially one that can be put to use immediately)