People love to dole out advice, particularly when they’ve been through something that you haven’t. I think some of it is people just like being listened to and feeling wise, which I can’t fault. I dole out advice like it’s going out of fashion to any unmarried couples who will listen. I still remember when your mother and I were eating at Entrecôte in Paris a year after we were married, and we were seated next to even newer newlyweds who asked us whether we had any marriage advice. As has been well established, what do I really know about marriage? I still occasionally resort to Sun Tzu’s Art of War-like tactics by marching upstairs and dragging an ironing board back and forth across the room t try and make a point….
So I told the guy, “You know the advice where everyone says your wife is always right? Well, it’s true.” At that point, your mother’s sitting there with a half smirk on her face. I could hear her silently wondering where this advice was in the past twelve months of our own marriage.
We once again went back to the advice-receiving side for most young couples’ next milestone: having kids. Some people ask us about it assuming it’s a given we will have kids while others hand out perceived nuggets of wisdom. So what have we heard so far?
From a couple of friends who are married with children: don’t have kids! Both said they don’t remember the last time they saw a movie in a theater. One said they don’t remember watching a movie that wasn’t Disney-made. [Does this scare me? Kind of. How am I going to watch X-Men: Apocaplyse or Avengers Part 12?]
Another friend didn’t go quite that far, but said, “Make sure you do everything you want to do because you won’t have anymore time.” [This is probably the only time where it’s a benefit that I don’t know what to do with my life or not having far-reaching aspirations.]
Another newly-minted father said this: “It’s controlled chaos. I don’t quite get it. My kid’s cute and all, but maybe it’ll be more rewarding as the years go on.” [Your mother’s expectations are that you’ll eventually take care of us when we’re old and frail…an insurance policy against living in a nursing home, so to speak.]
Sounds bleak for you, right?
Well, we also get a lot of “They’re so much fun!” Or “Your life just completely changes for the better.” Your grandparents also do a good job of pulling for you as well (so love them all a lot!).
As for more practical and grounded advice before having kids…
- Take lots of photos of just the two of us and our apartment because you will forget this version of your life. [When we told a friend about this goal of taking more photos of ourselves, he got worried and asked whether one of us was dying.]
- Appreciate a clean apartment or whatever level of cleanliness we currently have because it will only get messier.
- See our friends and make strong bonds that won’t wither away when we only start seeing them once every three months (I interpret this one as a natural weeding out process of who your real friends are!!).
- Take a spontaneous trip or two or three, even if it is to the local museum. So yesterday, we did just that with a trip across the Millenium Bridge to the Tate Modern.
And some other recent snapshots…