Parenting with Technology

Successfully navigating parenting paradoxes in the technological landscape that is modern life.

How it all started…

Now that you have a brief glimpse of why I am writing this, here is a little background on me so that you can understand the perspective I am viewing this all from.

In 1992 at the age of 21 I married my one true love.  A few months later we both launched headlong into our very different careers.  I was a licensed water well driller and drill rig operator, and she had a dream of becoming an Architect.  I was the only son and second child in a second generation family owned drilling company.  I was already licensed.  I had a great job and a promising career with every intention of owning the company in due time.  My wife had to move to the opposite end of the state to attend a proper university with the knowledge that we would be spending a majority of our time apart for at least the next six years until she graduated.  We both came from families with mountains of disfunction and we both were happy to NOT consider having children.  At all.  Ever.

Over the next 9 years, many changes happened in our lives but not necessarily in this order. My wife finished her education, and was able to move back into our family home permanently.  She passed her licensing.  I was injured on the rig, went through surgery and rehab, and realized I just couldn’t handle the physical strain of drilling any more.  My parents business started crumbling.  After being together almost 10 and living together on and off for half of that, we finally changed our minds and decided to start a family.  We discussed it at length and both agreed that if we had one child, we could focus on it enough to not mess it up as bad .  We tried for almost a year to conceive with no luck.  This is when, instead of letting it get us down, we decided that my wife should quit her solid job with benefits and we could venture out into the wasteland of self employment.  With no one to worry about except ourselves it was not so daunting of a proposition, and, while my work was different after the injury and the business in general was in a decline, it was still a good job, with lots of positive prospects for the the future.

We researched the market, found the right spot, and started enacting a business plan.  (we have followed this routine of solid planning, and careful execution followed by life changing everything and making us scramble anyways many times now)  Things started slowly, but we were going to do fine.  Within a month of opening the doors of her firm, we found out that we were expecting our first child. We both agreed that full-time daycare was not how we wanted to have our family.  We wanted our values and our culture to shape our child, not a hired, strained person we barely know.  With my wife just starting the firm and all the demands of that, we decided that it would be me, not her to stay home.  At this point, my family business was in heavy decline and work was a daily struggle for me, so told my parents my plan to be the stay home parent. (they were less than thrilled) When she was born,  I quit my job with the drilling company to stay home with my daughter full time.  This was the best choice that I ever made and I am blessed everyday that I am able to be one on one with my children.

After several years, we decided that one child was not so bad and we could probably handle a second, a friend and confidant of our daughter.  We tried, and again, were unsuccessful.  This time, we didn’t give up and after a lot of time and struggle and tears and doubts, we had our first son.  Our doctor informed us that in light of the difficulties we had and the time, our age, and the damage this had done, we would never be able to have more.  This was OK with us, we really thought we only wanted our bookends, we were happy and thought our family was complete.

Over a year later, we decided that, while the doctor had said it was unlikely, we would leave it up to nature and if more children were in our cards then so be it and just stopped caring about if we were trying to conceive or trying not to.  I was very busy with a household to run, two children to attend to and my wife’s business growing rapidly, so I hired an assistant for myself.  It may be noteworthy at this point to say that while I was a licensed water well driller at 19, I also attended Ferris State Univeristy where I received an Associates degree in Small Business Management.  I had been part of a family business my whole life, with an office in the house, and was now deeply involved with my Wife’s business.  I have always been an idea person and always loved the challenge of a new venture, and because of this I have been involved directly in several small startups and have even helped open a museum, thus the need for an assistant.  After a very short time, my assistant and I found we were spending a majority of our time solving computer issues for my house, my family, our friends and my wife’s office.  I have loved technology since I was very young and my parents owned the first PC in our neighborhood, so working on and with computers was something I had been doing forever.  He and I decided that if this is what we were meant to do, we should get paid for it and immediately opened my shop.  As our luck would go, no sooner had I opened this second business and my wife and I were expecting again.  A second son.  The doctor was mystified, assured us that due to medical issues, this could NEVER happen again. My wife and I were thrilled, and decided that we were just going to keep going and take whatever nature allowed, whatever was in our cards.

The economy tanked, but our businesses, though strained, were able to both stay open and bounce back.  We were both forced to downsize to make it through and during his layoff, my assistant decided to move on to other things.  I decided that while I enjoyed the camaraderie of other people in my employ, it was too much responsibility and I chose to stay a single person shop.  The kids were around the shop often and were getting old enough to help and learn, which is a great experience and the topic of a different article…

Several years later, our third son was born.  The strain of the fourth child on my wife’s health and our increasing years made us permanently rethink our position on letting nature take its course, and we are now permanently a family of six.

My wife and I are both well into our 40’s and the children are 15, 10, 7 and 4.  I still run my small PC shop out of my home, my wife’s office is about 7 miles from the house.  We are busy, happy and always learning.  I am learning that the blessings in life are not the destination, they are the journey.

A very young me and my bride.  Best day of my life. A very young me and my bride.  Best day of my life.

Categories: Kids and Tech, Parenting Thoughts, Relationship

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