What’s easier now than later? Chris Yeh responds

Ramit Sethi · August 6th, 2006

Reminder: Last week, I wrote a post called It Never Gets Easier Than Now. This week I’m featuring responses from people I admire on what’s easier to do when we’re younger.

Chris Yeh, Stanford/Harvard HBS grad, entrepreneur, and marketing chief at Symphoniq, writes:

7. Travel
Been putting off your travel plans? Don’t! Traveling can be tough enough when you’re on your own. Now imagine that you have several kids that have bladders the size of peas, who refuse to eat any food that isn’t purple, and who require more supplies than the U.S 3rd Army.

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Travel now, or regret it later.

6. Partying
Enjoy eating out? Clubbing? Staying out late? Better live it up now. Unless you go the nanny or boarding school route, your days are numbered. Heading off to Vegas for the weekend is good fun when you’re single, but grounds for arrest when you have kids (and don’t take them with you).

5. Cleanliness
Kids possess the destructive force of a natural disaster. If you think of each one as a Class 5 hurricane, you wouldn’t be far off. After the first 100 times you clean the house, only to see it resemble a crazy cat lady’s lair after just a single day of normal play, you’ll give up too.

4. Money
Between day care, the rent for a bigger house, clothes, food, toys, and the cost of getting a minivan (seemingly inevitable once you have two kids), my tots run me about $70K a year–post-tax. In other words, I keep about as much money as a single guy making $100K per year less. And you wonder why my friends have houses, and I still rent–it’s because I was the first among my peers to have kids, by a wide margin.

When I was still in college, my roommate told me about encountering some middle-aged guys on the golf course. They told him, “Do you like golf? Nice cars? Guitars? The good life? Then never have kids! I could have bought a handful of Ferraris with the money I’ve sunk into my kids.”

3. Sleep
Imagine not getting a full night’s sleep for 4-5 years. Yeah, welcome to my world. You’d be surprised how much you’ll crave sleep once you have kids. I wouldn’t kill a family member or friend to get more sleep, but I’d consider offing a stranger or a member of Congress. (Who am I kidding–I’d do the Congressperson for free!)

2. Sex
If, by some wild coincidence, you actually are a virgin, let me tell you that sex rocks. It really is as good as people make it seem on TV. The problem is, it’s hard to find time for sex when you’re chronically sleep deprived and have several light sleepers who could burst into your room at any time, and I mean AT ANY TIME. Gives new meaning on the term, “pressure to perform,” when you know your kids might wake up if the dog barks.

When you’re young, having sex three times in a night might seem routine. When you have kids, having sex three days in a row is a major accomplishment.

1. Free Time
You may not know this, but you have ridiculous amounts of free time right now. You just waste it. Once you have two or more kids, you’ll be lucky to have an hour a day to yourself outside of work. Rather than going to Sheryl Crow concerts, you’ll find yourself hoping that she makes a guest appearance on Sesame Street, just to hear something off her new album (even if the lyrics have been changed from to feature “The Letter I” and “The Number 7.”

See the original article that inspired this, It Never Gets Easier Than Now.

Other responses

  • Seth Godin, author, entrepreneur, and speaker [response]
  • Mark Hurst, founder, Good Experience [response]
  • Debbie Newhouse, training specialist at Google [response]
  • Meetpaul Singh, Stanford BS, MD, MBA, and venture capitalist [response]
  • Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford professor and director of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab [response]
  • Karen Watts and Robin Dellabough, partners at book-production firm Lark Productions [response]

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  1. This whole series on It Never Gets Easier Than Now is rapidly becoming Why Not To Have Kids Until Your Mid-Thirties. It’s just a bunch of middle-aged parents wishing they could go out partying and sleep in late and take exotic vacations and basically be college students again. Okay, we get it, kids take up a VAST amount of time and money, so you should enjoy being childless as long as you can. I’m pretty sure that’s not exactly cutting-edge.

    On a separate note, is it just me or is a big part of why employers are eager to recruit people who’ve started startups (even failed ones, as most are) the fact that college business schools are hopelessly incompetent at actually preparing people for real-world business situations? It’s getting so you just about have to start your own company just to see how a business actually works, because you can’t learn it any other way.

  2. Bethany

    It’s because of these reasons that I’m unsure about ever having kids.

    I love kids. But I don’t know if I want my own!

  3. Your blog is becoming boring with all these comments from people who either went to stanford or harvard….


  4. This is why my wife and I are never having children. Call it selfish, but I enjoy my money and my free time. I see no reason to bring more bodies into this world – at the very least, I see no reason to bring bodies into this world that I have to pay and care for. No way.

  5. debt-free

    Oh good Lord… How this guy is spending $3k per month per child is a mystery. Stop overspending. Kids are not that expensive. Even if you attribute the entire mini-van purchase to the kids – which I’m pretty sure you’d have a car anyways, and from the sounds of it, probably a much more expensive one – it still doens’t come out.

    Heaven forbid we may have to cut our lifestyle while raising a family. Did no one tell you that college life was dreamland? Its not real – you can’t sustain it. Someone get Chris a tissue here….

    The fact is – I have a 3 year old, I’m out of debt, I’m on a budget, and I’ll have the house paid off in 3 years. My wife and I both make an average to slightly above average income. And we’re under 30. Stop making payments on everything and take control of your income. And have your kids when you want to have kids. Don’t put it off because of people spouting off about how expensive they are.

  6. Jonathan

    It’s true, many of these people make having kids sound so horrible. Children are not meant for everyone, but they can be one of the biggest blessings ever. So much, in fact, that you really won’t mind giving up the free time to have them.

    It’s like a wife. Some people don’t ever want to get married, because they think having a wife will be too compromising. It’s all up to your personality, really.

    Anyway, I do agree with Chris about sex. It is awesome. Not as awesome as feeding the hungry, but more physically pleasurable, that’s for sure.

  7. I’m a virgin! 🙂

  8. If you think having kids is soooooo OMG amazing and wonderful 24/7/365 – work in a mall. I’m seriously considering having my tubes tied after everything I’ve seen, heard, and witnessed between the realities of childrearing and varying degrees of “parenting”. And it’s truly appalling how much the BAD outweighs the good.

    Kids *are* expensive, a TON of work, and require many sacrifices – regardless of your financial situation or planning. I think the authors are just trying to press upon the younger set that rushing into having kids isn’t something to take lightly and that they should plan for a family in a responsible and realistic way. Because taking care of and being responsible for another life for 18+ years is often something that “just happens” as if it weren’t preventable in any way.