Having Kids

Paul Graham wrote a blog post this week about having kids. I read it with interest because I have long noticed that having kids has had a profound and positive effect on Paul. So I was interested in what he had to say on the topic. I am not going to summarize what he said, you can read it here, but suffice it to say that he has found it to be an very positive experience.

The Gotham Gal and I had children fairly early in our marriage and we had three children before I started Flatiron Partners in 1996. That was mostly driven by Joanne as she pushed for having kids early and I went along with that plan.

When founders and other executives ask the Gotham Gal when is the right time to have kids, she always says “now” and explains that there will never be a good time to have kids so you might as well get on with it.

In my experience, that is good advice for a lot of reasons. Having young children is demanding and the younger you are, the easier it is to manage all of those demands.

I also believe that having children teaches you things you can’t learn any other way and that those lessons are incredibly valuable in other parts of your life, including your work life.

In my line of work, I have to work with hard charging willful entrepreneurs who won’t take orders from anyone (nor should they). Having children and learning how to work with them when we are not on the same page has helped me a lot with entrepreneurs.

Children have taught me to be patient, to care, and be present (something that has been a challenge for me over the years). Those are things that are extremely valuable in all walks of life.

But certainly the best thing of all about having kids is the children themselves. I have a lot of relationships in my life, but the relationships I have with my wife and children are the very best ones. Just getting a text from one of my kids is often the highlight of my day.

So if you are struggling with the question of when to have kids, I side with the Gotham Gal on this. Do it now. It will be the greatest thing you do and it will change your life. Like it did for Paul.

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    Term sheets.

    1. pointsnfigures

      Except the kids get participating preferred. You get the dividend

  2. Richard

    Let’s not forget about adopting a child – being a foster parent, or a big brother / sister – you’ll get all the benefits of being a biological parent while helping the world community.

    1. pointsnfigures

      doesn’t matter how you get them. Ask Aaron Klein. He and his wife adopted three children.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Several of our friends have adopted children. They have an especially deep appreciation for parenting. One of our friends, went into the process at age 60 as a concession to his new wife’s happiness. (She was 48, first marriage for each.) Now fervently seeking their 2nd child.

  3. pointsnfigures

    Yup, another nice thing about having kids early (we had ours by 1993, got married in 1987) is that today in our fifties we are still young enough to do almost everything with them. I couldn’t imagine being in my 70s and going to my own children’s college graduation.

  4. Richard

    Trump signed the nations first paid parental leaveAct.Fred this is your chance to look on the brightside of republican centrist policies.

    1. Jong

      This is an inaccurate depiction of why parental leave is making it into the NDAA. We aren’t getting it thanks to Republican centrists. Trump used this as a bargaining chip in exchange for the Space Force*. Republicans overwhelmingly do not vote in favor of paid family leave. They voted against this measure in the Senate in September after it passed the House (votes by position).* This isn’t meant as a knock on the Space Force. Warfare is clearly moving more and more to space, and we should be on the front of that, especially since military space efforts lead to lots of non-military benefits.

      1. Richard

        Maybe (we will never know) but Trump praised the decision several times this week.If you ever want to see the Trump – just look at his 45-60 minute roundtable events. There were several this week – wow he has some serious energy.He is far from perfect but has amazing instincts – works a crowd of 25 at a high level – doesn’t focus as much on himself – uses self depreciating humor – exhibits nothing that can be viewed as racist / sexist, is -very rational, -shows genuine warmth towards all Americans, and – shows his cards.his tweets and rallies are another thing – it’s a show that he has used to make the press – unknowingly – his best allies (wow is the press naive).

        1. pointsnfigures

          Meh, I wouldn’t bring Trump into a discussion of whether to have kids or not. Nor would I bring in any President or politician. It’s an individual choice but I agree very strongly with Fred. My kids were a blast at every age. I am glad we had them before we both were 30. I encourage female entrepreneurs to think hard about it. As an investor, I am supportive of pregnancy. You only have so much time. When you have them older, it is tougher on the body and you are more set in your ways….

        2. Donna Brewington White

          I just happened upon one of these recently on YouTube and saw a rare side (at least for me) of President Trump. Had been watching something in the background while working late one night and a round table (?) on alternative education came on afterward– a subject that deeply interests me. The way he interacted with a mentally disabled young man and the students at the table… I was fascinated. Stopped working to watch.

          1. Richard

            Do a google search for his business. roundtable in December, his UN roundtable, or his Chanukah ceremony. Oddly I admit, but he has shows a tremendous empathy in small settings

  5. William Mougayar

    Someone (or you?) ought to write a more specific post “Startups are like Kids, here’s why”.

    1. Richard

      The two have very little in common – a puppy, a gold fish yes – a kid no.

    2. JamesHRH

      The time and commitment are similar,But startups are an extension of ego; children ( unless you are a goon ) are a subjugation of ego.

  6. Richard

    Do not have kids if you have substance abuseIssues.Do not have kids if you have a gambling addictionDo not have kids if you have strike your wife or husband.Do not have kids if you are single and under the age of 30 and are in need of financial support to raise them.Do not have kids if you have a financial plan to raise them for 3-4 years.Do not have kids to Improve your marriage.Do not have kids to improve yourself.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      If my parents followed this advice, I would not be here. As the child of addicts, I will say I have had an incredible life so far. I am strong in ways very few people understand. Being the child of addicts gave me a lot of courage and perspective. I had so much freedom to do whatever I wanted to do and I did it (I started building businesses in my back yard in fourth grade and hired neighborhood kids to do most of the work, LOL. Because my parents were addicts, no cared what I did and I got away with doing all kinds of cool things that most kids wouldn’t be allowed to do — saving the money I made from my backyard businesses and taking the bus into the city of Bridgeport to go to the public library, hopping on the train and going to New York City to go to museums, etc.). Life is luck, but what you do with that luck makes all the difference.

      1. Richard

        There are exceptions. You were a great outcome but your parents were selfish and irresponsible.Your parents should have given you up for adoption versus running the risk of an outcome that left you beyond the reach of a great life. The data is the data – probability is a science.

  7. David C. Baker

    Agreed. Married at 20; first kid at 22; next at 24. I’m 59. My third book on management of people is largely based on learning from the overlap. The fact that my boys ASK to do 1-2 trips/year with me means more than about everything.

  8. DJL

    I had kids very late. But I still consider it (parenthood) the greatest blessing of my life. Although it is often exhausting, I am grateful that at my age I am mindful of every minute I have with them. I probably couldn’t have done that in my twenties.I still have single male friends in the 50+ category without children. It is such a shame because there is no car, no ski trip, no condo, no hot girlfriend, no bank account that can come close to the satisfaction of Fatherhood. Thanks for sharing this post.

  9. Vendita Auto

    “What I’ve realized is that life doesn’t count for much unless you’re willing to do your small part to leave our children — all of our children — a better world. Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.” ― “Barrack Obama” & Me

  10. Matt A. Myers

    Most young people these days can’t even think about having children because there’s no way they could afford them.

    1. Richard

      This is a bit of a myth – look to the Books /research of Susan Mayer. that said – all things being equal – you’ll have better outcomes with more money.*But the Fed – Greenspan, Bernanake et al., did foolishly inflate housing prices to get us out of every resection since 1990.*Only Paul Volker 1980 seemed to know what he was doing.

    2. awaldstein

      don’t buy this at all.family finds a way. there is no perfect time, no financial prerequisite.those who say so are simply wrong.you are listening to the wrong advice.If you want them have them if you don’t don’t.state of life is irrelevant.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Look into Presidential candidate Andrew Yang and the research he cites if you want to see what I’m saying backed up by data – may help everyone on here get outside their own bubble, it’s in part why the term “OK boomer” is becoming a response, there’s a disconnect between experiences.

        1. awaldstein

          disagree completely.it’s not a bubble its reality. people raise their kids in all different ways and money is not the key determinant of their success or their happiness.not at all.OK boomer is meme not a reality. you criticize the medium then use it to make points about is real outside it.you are angry about something that i can’t decipher.

    3. pointsnfigures

      you will find a way. you don’t have to dress your kids in patagonia

    4. Vendita Auto

      As tough as it might be it’s the nest building that develops the bond

  11. JLM

    .Kids are always a blessing from God. All we can ask for is the grace to know what to do. I confronted my father when I was 45 and asked, “Did you know what you were doing raising us?” He said, “No, but I did the best I could with what I had.” I thought this guy knew everything.I got married when I was ready to get married — 30 years old, out of the Army, started my first company, built a high rise already. Seen a lot of the world, had my soul tested more than a few times. I thought I was ready.I didn’t have kids until 5 years later. Your wife makes that call.There was a bit of personal tragedy involved in my journey, so my two kids were even more precious. I thought I had seen a few things, but I had not. Until you look in your wife’s eyes after something like that, you have no vision. You have a crack in your soul that will never heal and it shouldn’t.I sold a business in the 1990s and had a 5-year non-compete. My richest child rearing experiences were when I ran the legendary St Stephens car pool going and coming. It was a very sleek operation. To this day, 30-somethings who were in that car pool will mention it to me when I see them at their weddings.I never missed an event in my kids’ lives — My Perfect Daughter won 11 varsity letters (starting center on the varsity BB team as a frosh), I coached every sport at the West Austin Youth Association, it was a blessing. It was a gift from God.It is not hard to raise kids. All you have to do is pray, make them your first priority, subjugate your own wishes to their needs, and listen to them. Never, ever relax because the gap between joy and tragedy is 1/16th of an inch.When they are grown — mine are 31 and 34 — they will be who you have taught them to be. Your daughter will turn out to be the co-founder of Weezie Towels (second startup) — http://www.weezietowels.com — and your son will be a former investment banker/political fundraiser. The most important thing is they will be independent, able to make it in a tough world, and they will remember where they learned some of that stuff.But, wait there is a second act.You will become a grandparent and you will be amazed to find out that your body has been inhabited by a guy who your granddaughter calls “BeeBaaah.” This guy is nuts. And, you will really like BeeBaaah a lot more than any other version of your life.This is life and life is good. Is this a great country or what?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca… https://uploads.disquscdn.c

    1. sigmaalgebra

      WOW! Now she’s walking around and looks like a fully alert young girl!!!! She has at least one devoted grand parent!

      1. JLM

        .Her great grandmother adores her.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. Pete Griffiths

      Love that picture.I just love kids. They are little miracles.

    3. JLM

      .That dress Baby Tempe is wearing was once worn by her mother, My Perfect Daughter, and is 30 years old.I have pics of her mother in the same dress.Save all the good stuff that you buy for your kids for their kids. That is a very happy dress.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  12. Missy Lafferty

    This is a great message to hear. I’m nearly 30 weeks pregnant with my second child and launching an exciting program for my company this year. As I prepare for leave I vacillate between, “I cannot possibly find the time to make all this work in 2020” and “There’s never a perfect time; let’s do this!!” Adulthood seems to be accepting the limits we have of time, resources and control and doing our very best in the face of that. I’m still learning!

    1. Mac


    2. Donna Brewington White

      You will be astounded at what you can accomplish.Just keep first things first, make the right tradeoffs, be kind to yourself, be present.Congratulations!

      1. Missy Lafferty

        Thanks @donnawhite:disqus !

  13. Tom Labus

    It’s a good thing that moms know what they’re doing. Better young, no doubt.

  14. Mac

    Congratulations to you and JoAnne.After my three sons were born there came that special moment when I realized that I couldn’t imagine life without them. Watching them engage, with the world around them, I discovered that they had filled up a space in me that I previously had not known existed. Elton John got it right when he sang, “Reality runs up your spin and the pieces finally fit”. [The One. 1992]

  15. Erin

    Appreciated Graham’s article. I’m so scared of being a mom. Don’t know if I can still have kids, and I think I’ll be ok if I don’t, but everyone says such effusive things about them that if I have one, it might not be the out-of-control nightmare that I imagine.

    1. Chimpwithcans

      It won’t. It will be an out of control dream you never imagined. A Richer experience than anything else. Don’t be scared just take the leap. And buy nappies.

    2. JamesHRH

      The honest truth is that parents are different from non-parents.No one willing subjugates themselves so completely in a healthy adult relationship.By its very nature, parenting is humbling.

      1. Chimpwithcans

        It literally brings you to your knees on a daily basis. And it forces you to reckon with yourself and your impact on a small child. Humbling indeed.

        1. Donna Brewington White


        2. JamesHRH

          If you could inject everyone with the feeling you get when the world somehow unfairly limits your children or, and it happens, a choice you made does so, the species would die off in <100 years.Only because we are wired to be optimists do we do it.

          1. Chimpwithcans

            fairness is a tricky concept when we are so biased towards our own children. I’m quickly learning that you can only do your best. Overthinking fairness will drive a parent crazy I reckon.

  16. awaldstein

    Fred–great post.I had my son when I was quite young, living in N. Central British Columbia post grad school, trying to write novels and plays, running bees for fruit tree pollination up and down the Okanagan, and building log cabins and stringed instruments to make ends meet.Working on the green chain on the midnight shift at the saw mill when it didn’t come together which was often.Nothing was in place except it happened and that was perfect. Perfect timing actually.Today my son and I do projects together and it is the pleasure of my life.Makes me hark back to that great line from that great movie, Lost in Translation, when Bill Murray says that the amazing thing about your children is that they become the most interesting person in the world to you from the moment they are born.So true.

  17. Adam Parish

    I have four kids. They put everything in perspective for me. I credit my nominal success to my faith, my marriage and my kids. The foundation for my faith, marriage and kids came from my parents awesome example.

  18. sigmaalgebra

    Kids? Family? I wanted them. I tried. I failed. It’s too late now. My main failure: I took seriously what she SAID.Yes, yes, yes, yes, I saw Graham’s essay. But, but, but, but, he left out SOOOOOOOO much, SOOOOO many REEEEEEally important considerations. Let me mention a few:(1) Women don’t have just to be cared for. Women can do things, too, and want to have CAREERS.(2) Motherhood is when a women gives up the best years of her life to do low grade, menial scut work just to raise some MAN’S children. [Just how the man suddenly got ovaries, a uterus, and pregnant is not mentioned, but quite a capable fellow with not just testicles but also all that other amazing baby making equipment.](3) In motherhood, a woman has to spend many hours a day regressing intellectually back to the level of children and infants and, thus, giving up her intellectual potential, higher education, etc.(4) Motherhood is when a capable woman gives up her potential and just reproduces the past generation with no progress for civilization.There are more such remarks. I formulated NONE of those remarks. Instead, here I’m JUST quoting. In particular, over time I heard, was TOLD, ALL of those remarks as they were given by the original female sources with bitter anger and resentment.As a result, and discussing this subject and such remarks with men, I heard, quoting again:(A) You have her on birth control pills. Soooo, she has no worries about sex!!!! Then secretly you replace the birth control pills with lookalike sugar pills. When she gets pregnant you say something likeOH, DEAR, I’m SOOOO sorry. I don’t know HOW that could have happened, HOW can you hope both to have a baby AND finish your Ph.D.???? You will HAVE to have an abortion. to which in terrified outrage she instantly responds with something likeIt’s MYYYYY BABY!!! NOTHING is going to happen to MYYYYYY BABY!!!!!! My Ph.D. will have to wait. (B) Come ON guy: The target area is not between the ears and instead is between the shoulders and the knees. That between the ears stuff doesn’t work. She already has all the required equipment. All you have to do is get it warmed up and turned on.(C) So, you stop by the grocery store and get a bottle of Beaujolais, a bottle of Asti Spumanti (Italian sweet sparkling wine), a ready to bake pizza, and a nice cake. You warm up the oven, uh, the electric one in the kitchen first, and bake the pizza, and watching a romantic movie the two of you have the pizza with the Beaujolais. Maybe two bottles of Beaujolais. Then on to the dessert and the Asti Spumanti. Somehow you manage to trip over an AC line cord and the TV goes off and you help her:Lean back, honey. This won’t hurt. Of COURSE you are going to finish your Ph.D. (go law school, keep your nursing job, write your great American novel, travel to Russia on some humanitarian mission, save the poor people, save the whales, run for Congress, campaign for Fauxcahontas, some such), of COURSE you are. Now lean back …. (D) What you need are chemicals, STRONG chemicals, e.g., oxytocin, the love chemical, other endorphins, dopamine, serotonin. The two of you, that is, her, already have all those strong chemicals; you just have to switch them on!Apparently situations vary a LOT. But it appears that the theme of the remarks does hold with a surprisingly large fraction of women, women making remarks as in (1) – (4) and men reacting with remarks as in (A) – (D).Again, (1) – (4) and (A) – (D) are not mine: I got (1) – (4) directly from some women and (A) – (D) from some men.So, a man is used to pursuing high end rationality, maybe deterministic optimal control theory to maximize the payload a given rocket can put into a given orbit, believes in careful planning, “Measure twice, saw once”, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”, “Plan the work, then work the plan.”, add up monthly budgets to within $5 a month, etc.Then for one of the biggest financial responsibilities in life, all planning, budgeting, etc, go into the trash: For having children, she certainly isn’t going to plan the work or work the plan; instead she keeps saying she wants her Ph.D. or some other absurd detour evading reality and does NOT want children. He is doing budgeting on house mortgage, car loans, home owners insurance, mortgage insurance, life insurance, medical insurance, car insurance, bills from gynecologists, obstetricians, pediatricians, dermatologists, dentists, nurses, prenatal care, the birthing center, maternity clothes, diapers, baby clothes, crib, bassinet, play pen, stroller, car seat (the law requires them), pre-school, kindergarten, private school, bicycle, lessons (swimming, ice skating, ballet, music, etc.), college, wedding, etc. all while trying to make good contributions to the IRA.INsanity. Deranged, delusional, dangerous inSANITY.And SHE? For all that time, money, and effort, as in (1) – (4) she doesn’t even WANT to have kids. And if you do get her pregnant, then you are wide open to disaster for the kids, financial disaster for the whole family, and for the rest of your life she telling you you caused her to waste her life in motherhood and ruined her career. And, if in all your work you DO make a lot of money, with her (1) – (4) of hating motherhood and you for making her a mother, some of her girlfriends will give her business cards of divorce lawyers: Then you have to pay for both her lawyers and yours, as they fight and both run up bills you have to pay, and she gets the house, the kids, child support, and alimony, and you may have to sell your business at some fire sale price so that she can have half. Now you have no wife, children, family, house, business, job, or IRA. BUMMER.Growing up, I was with plenty of young women who were just AWASH in hormones and libido and plenty willing to jump into bed with plenty of chances of getting pregnant but NEVER with a woman with even a single DROP of rationality about how to plan a family, NONE.Then it begins to occur to men that insects, fish, birds, and ALL the mammals reproduce. I WILL say that the beavers do a MUCH better job planning the family than ANY young woman I knew.So, the extant rationality is just: From 100,000 feet up, it’s easy to see that on average human females have had nicely over 2 children each and have done that for tens, hundreds, thousands, tens and hundreds of thousands of years, heck, back 1+ billion years. And planning? WHAT the heck planning? Clearly a few men did some quite good planning, but that was rare. And clearly the young women were attracted to men who looked strong and capable at being good as husbands and fathers. Still, planning was rare. So, the theme appears to be, a couple comes together, and right away he gets her married and pregnant, likely not in that order, and then just lets Mother Nature take over. E.g., for the baby food, that’s built in, size C or better!!!!! Mother Nature has her as a very well designed package, with a totally unbroken track record of success going back 1+ billion years. E.g., gynecologists? WHAT the heck gynecologists? They are only recent, on the time scale, only a blink of an eye. PLENTY of mothers had their babies just by lying down in a comfortable spot, maybe in the woods or on grass, and delivering their baby.Also the time, money, effort constraints? None of them are really rigid; instead they are all flexible. Stroller? Do really need a stroller? If want one, really need to buy a new one? Diaper service? How ’bout get a big plastic box, put it in the bath tub, put in some detergent and bleach, add water and dirty diapers, use a broom handle to stir, let soak over night, dump out the water and let the diapers drain, repeat twice more with detergent and bleach, rinse three times, by hand squeeze out the excess water, put the result in the clothes dryer or hang on a clothes line indoors or in the back yard. Actually, can do a lot of white laundry that way. It turns out what is on the diapers is quite soluble in water and detergent; the bleach will get the cotton diapers white; and the rinsing will make the diapers soft. Diaper expense? Check that one off.It goes on this way: Can do it on the cheap. This way, right, she or the baby might die in childbirth, but likely not. And the old approach was, accept that some babies won’t make it so have some extras. That can still work.For the job, get a used van, put a bed in the back, and sleep in the van in the parking lot at work. So, work about 14 hours a day, 5 days a week. For sleeping, if it is cold, by experiment, 7 wool blankets work fine down to 0 F.Drive home on weekends to a manufactured house, $45,000 new, three bedrooms, two baths, on a lot in a rural area. Well for water. Septic tank for sewage. Wood or coal for heat. Etc. Can do it on the cheap.Quite generally can buy a lot of the necessary equipment used.And can enlist the help of grand parents, aunts, uncles, various social services, etc.For education, it’s best to do that with home schooling anyway. There are ways to get good guidance, good learning materials, good testing, and good advice. The US is just AWASH in highly educated people who can, easily, provide PLENTY of advice on GOOD home schooling. With any decent efforts, the brighter kids can be doing calculus at age 10 or 12 and Master’s level work by age 16. There is, e.g., from such a foundation, plenty of good advice for how to get an Ivy League Ph.D. fast and cheap.Books? Used books, excellent books, are plentiful and just dirt cheap. E.g., a calculus book for $130? Total nonsense: Can buy in like new condition a terrific calculus book, long used by Harvard, for under $5 including tax and shipping. And the subject has had essentially no change since that book was first used at Harvard.For the kids, the older ones can help with the work taking care of the younger ones. Same for cooking, cleaning, laundry, house and car maintenance, the garden, etc.For clothes? The miracle solution — blue denim!!! For more, polyester and cotton. Shoes? Get dirt cheap, off brand running shoes at Walmart.Food? Pizza is an okay choice for a lot of meals: Mostly it is just bread. To be explicit, we’re talking 600 ml water, 1 T active dry yeast, 1 T table salt, 1 Kg flour. Mix, knead, let rise, separate, get dough for 8 pizzas, each enough for one meal for one. If buy flour in 25 pound bags at Sam’s Club, then the flour for a pizza is well under 20 cents — what I outlined here goes for 9 cents. Can get a good pepperoni pizza, good for one meal for one, for just under 40 cents worth of ingredients. $20 carryout or delivery? NONSENSE.Divorce? If she has lots of kids and is with them always, 24 x 7, e.g., with home schooling, i.e., is in 100% of her life all wrapped up in motherhood, sees you as just essential for the money, raising the boys, being an example of a man for the girls, showing the boys how to do the house and car repairs, and there’s no money for lawyers, then likely she will be busy, productive, and, thus, happy and won’t leave.She is sweet, darling, adorable, precious, loving, lovable. She communicates well with you, cares about you, respects and responds to you. She is a treasure for you, your pride and joy, crucial for your life and family.While YMMV, still, likely YOU will have to do ALL the planning and ALL the rational parts. Even 100% wrapped up in the whole effort 24 x 7, likely STILL she won’t have hardly a clue about the plan. She is driven by hormones and emotions, not rationalism. You are to care about her, take care of her, care for her, make her safe and secure, especially emotionally, much like a child, cherish, treasure, protect, guide, and support her.I know; I know; I’m not woke and she is not equal, does not have the seat at the head of the table, does not have a seat at the table at all. Still, she very much IS equal in respect as a human, and for her being the SAME as a man would be a HUGE step down and a disaster.That woke stuff covers (1) – (4), is not nearly new, and in total is what KILLED my brilliant wife and cost me my chances for family. Being good to her and trying to give her what she SAID (total delusional, disastrous BS) she wanted, as in (1) – (4), cost us about $50 million in FedEx stock, our family, and her life.Lesson: Not all but too many women are run by emotionalism and not rationalism; under NO circumstances pay ANY attention at all to ANYTHING they say literally; they are forbidden by Mother Nature to have ANYTHING to do with rationality. They are fully free to be just BRILLIANT on anything except life; on life, all they have is their emotions.With her, the main thing I needed to do was just to understand the above and when she was 20 go ahead and get her PREGNANT as Mother Nature had her fully ready, willing, and able to do. Her words and conscious thoughts were Ph.D.; her ACTIONS were get pregnant NOW.I VERY much wish Dad had told me the above. Nearly none of this advice was in Paul’s essay.

  19. lisa hickey

    If I had stopped to think about having kids—If I had planned them around my career while still not knowing what that truly entailed—I might never have had kids. And the truth is—it was harder, way harder than I had ever imagined. I have 4 kids, and now that they are grown, I still am baffled about how I did it. It doesn’t seem possible. Gotham Gal is right — if you want to bring kids in the world, and can commit to simply loving them, then do it now. It may be different if you wait, but it won’t be easier. Not really.My oldest daughter has kids of her own now—and she has been teaching classes at MIT on corporate startup culture. Think of the profound implications of that—corporate startup culture being taught at MIT by a mom with two young kids. I sat and observed one of her classes, and was just stunned at how she taught me. She had learned things I never taught her. Learning how we learn, management skills, goal-setting and communication skills are all part of raising kids. And the love and joy that is forever a part of the fabric of your life…well, that’s a bonus I couldn’t possibly have anticipated.

  20. Dorian Benkoil

    Reading this sentence made me laugh out loud In appreciation: “Having children and learning how to work with them when we are not on the same page has helped me a lot with entrepreneurs.”Prompting the other parent of our beautiful and wonderful children to ask me to read it aloud, then to nod and point a finger at me.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      Ha! I laughed at that too.

  21. steve ganis

    Interesting responses to Fred’s post I’m not an entrepreneur and we already had two children by the time I was starting my second career at age 30. Thank goodness for strong rent stabilization laws then in effect in Bklyn Hts. Right away I knew that one of the keys to parenting success was going to be how to make sufficient income and not have to work crazy hours. Not everyone can pull that off, (I managed) and I supported my wife’s decision to be a ‘stay at home’ mom. I attended nearly every school event. My son has two children, 12 and 9, and I think that financially, it’s more expensive today in the NYC area to raise kids. But It’s all about the time commitment, in my view.

  22. Pete Griffiths


  23. Andu @ Widgetic.com

    I’m going to copy and paste this part as it’s incredibly important: “Children have taught me to […] be present”. It’s what I’ve struggled with most as a founder, always being consumed by product ideas.

  24. Murtaugh

    As I thought about getting married, etc. my parents gave me some sage advice, “If you wait until you are ready to have kids . . . you will never have them.” Like everyone says, it has been the hardest and most rewarding component of my life, full stop. It is my life. And I love it. I wonder what the heck I am going to do when they all leave the nest. I worry life won’t be nearly as much fun.

  25. Donna Brewington White

    I appreciate how you and Gotham Gal intertwine your experience as parents with your experience as investors and the helpful analogies you’ve drawn over the years. I haven’t given up on being an investor and I believe that raisimg four children has been part of the preparation.An entrepreneur who is a new parent recently tweeted the question “what’s something you wish somebody had told you about raising little ones?” My response: Every age is the best age.When your kids are little everyone tells you to enjoy those years because you will miss them and for the most part that’s good advice because we should enjoy each stage of our children’s lives to the fullest.But the thing no one ever told me is how enjoyable it is to have young adult children. Now, I use the word *enjoyable* but that is only applicable if you enjoy being challenged and stretched to grow to new levels. We raised our children to be independent thinkers and free spirits, so they often challenge our way of thinking — some of them more than others — but I wouldn’t have them be any other way.