How to be a good provider

The concept of papa working long hours to provide for his family goes against almost everything I believe in.

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I do believe in working hard and instilling those values in my child. What I don’t want to do is miss out on too many opportunities to be with him in the name of “providing.” Let’s think more about what that word means. Here is a working list of what I need to “provide” my son:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Safety
  • Love
  • Education
  • Entertainment

Possibly in that order. Deeper dive:

Food – So far so good. Breast milk from Mama. Must feed Mama. Then bust out the blender and become a master of baby food.

Shelter – We own a house, BOOM. Mortgage payments are affordable. If we didn’t own a house, rent would also be very affordable from the perspective of what the child needs for shelter. Our current house is larger than we need, but we’ve made good use of the extra space by having tenants up until now.

Safety – We have little to no fear of wild animals hunting down our baby. Love these modern times. Baby is not only very safe, but by far the greatest threat to our child is likely the car driving we choose to put him through. Something to think about.

Love – Baby is new to this world, and is liable to get very scared about any thing at any moment. If I fail at everything else below on the list, Baby must at least feel loved at all times.

Education – Lessons, values, school, exposure to the world, interest and curiosity. My goal under the umbrella of education is for Baby to learn how to live a happy life. That’s it. I really don’t care if he’s a janitor, bus driver, software engineer, or professor. What matters is Is He Happy. Happiness is a very complicated concept to discuss; will save that for another post. Also, ouch to janitors for always having to deal with their profession getting used in this context.

Entertainment – Baby will want to have fun, and probably a lot of it. I’m down with this. More arts/crafts/sports, less electronics.

Come to think of it, each category above warrants its own post but let’s stay on track. What I want to focus on here is, how does the above list require me (or wife) to work a full time job? Let alone 60 hours a week. I don’t think Baby needs us to spend too much money to “provide” the above. Especially not compared to our salaries.

Speaking of spending, here’s a scary formula to think about for any parent who is not financially independent:

[t = p / w ] where t is Time, p is Product, and W is Wage

Essentially, how much time are you giving up with your child in exchange for the work required to buy that product? This is very conceptual, as reality is more complicated than the formula suggests. BUT, it sure puts into perspective the idea of buying an iPad for myself. Let’s say my after tax wage is $20/hr and a 16GB iPad Air is $499. Buying this would mean I spent 25 hours at work, away from my son, to have an iPad. Not to mention the valuable non-electronics time that this specific item would likely try to steal from us. Look at that picture of Baby, I don’t think I’ll be buying an iPad anytime soon.

At least, not until he hits puberty.

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