70 Things To Do Before Having Kids… Really?

I’m newly back from vacation, and as I ricochet around various social media sites, I came across one recommendation to a site called Marc and Angel Hack Life. Among the articles this couple offers is “70 Things To Do Before Having Kids.” (It’s from about two years back – but was among the top links).

The main idea is sound — namely, that children add a certain complexity to life. And so, Marc and Angel listed 70 goals they wanted to accomplish before having kids.

But whether they have children now or not (and I generally think it’s a great blog), I hope they eventually realize this: people tend to turn children and life into a false choice. In particular, as a new mom, I was alarmed by all the literature claiming it was just so hard to build a career and raise a family at the same time. Yet I never would have written 168 Hours if I hadn’t had Jasper, and now this book is opening new doors to me. Which means that — by the transitive property — my baby opened professional doors for me, rather than closing them. I had more free time before I had children, and yet I never ran a marathon then. I ran my first one this year.

So it’s interesting to me that publishing a book and running a marathon both landed on the 70 Things list. So, incidentally, did going to Munich (I took my toddler along!), living in a high rise condo with an amazing view, perhaps in the heart of New York City (here I am!), and traveling in back roads in a developing country to see what poverty really looks like (I’ve walked through slums in India and Peru since becoming a mom – which I think is more intense than driving in them). I’ve even read 30 books in the last 3 years. Many of the others (like jumping out of an airplane or learning to fly one) have never been on my bucket list and never will be. Kids or not.

The point is, life does not have to end when you have children. Even longer-term, ambitious and personal pursuits do not have to end. You may have to plan more, but planning is a great way to ensure that things get done.

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