Reflecting on my next: fatherhood
Plan Your Next #86
👋 Good morning from Los Angeles! I'm Nate Kadlac, and this is #86 of Plan Your Next. A Sunday newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.
💡 What’s new?
🎨 Approachable Design just hit some key milestones last week as we have now taken over 30 students through the workshop. For the next workshop in January, we’ll be more ambitious as we start to test the edges of our team.
📣 Web3 PSA: If you happened to purchase an ETH domain prior to Oct 31, make sure to claim your $ENS tokens from their unexpected airdrop. At the time of the drop, these were worth up to 15k, and upwards of about 35k this week based on the quantity of your drop and the recent market uptick. A curious question is, “what does this look like if it becomes the GoDaddy of web3?”
👯♂️ I’m joining a small course called A Portfolio of Small Bets run by entrepreneur Daniel Vasallo. These are simple ideas in practice but I love joining these communities to surround myself with others who are also playing The Great Online Game. I might also be addicted to learning. 😬
Good morning from Los Angeles!
For most of my life, unboxing a Macbook Pro felt more exciting to me than the thought of unboxing a newborn.
I always loved the idea of being a father, but I never felt ready to become one.
In my 20’s, I was in and out of relationships because it was fun and I was focused on my career. In my early 30’s, I became more serious about both life and fun—aka doing fun life things that were more expensive like buying a condo and traveling around the world.
By the time I hit 40 I found myself married but still looking for ways to get myself amped up to have kids. Every parent I’ve asked has never felt ready. So what was at the root of not being particularly excited to have kids?
I often think about why this is. The easy answer is I was too selfish and focused on my work. Another might be the shame I feel when comparing how I want to raise children compared to how I was raised.
My childhood was not that difficult, but it was confusing in many ways. Like many, my childhood was spent growing up in the church. And it seemed every conversation or question was pointed in the direction of the bible. The Bible was either gently tossed or violently hurled at all kinds of problems, with many conversations ending in, “because the Bible says so.”
You can’t have sex before marriage because the Bible says so. You can’t watch Ghostbusters because there's a spiritual war happening you can’t see, and the Devil’s winning. You can’t listen to Green Day because the Bible doesn’t allow swearing. You can’t say “fart” because it’s another way of saying, “fuck.” You can’t date until you’re 16 and never had, “The Talk” with my parents because if you can’t have sex, why talk about it?
Dancing—not to the beat of the devil, of course—around these confusing rules made no sense, but it presented life as black and white. But look a bit closer, and each day brought shades of grey. In those nuanced moments, you just had to have faith and pray your way to an answer.
For much of my life, I felt ashamed for not staying on the righteous path, but I also know not having kids until now let this guilty seed grow roots in my mind much longer than most. This guilt made it difficult to get excited about having my own kids, because time did not necessarily bring healing, it just brought more shame.
Guilt that raising my own children differently than my parents is a sin. Guilt that I never fully confronted my parents about how I felt, but there’s an obvious tension there.
What I didn’t expect was how quickly I could trim the vine of shame.
Recalibrating as a father
Now that I’m a parent, I’ve come to realize how focused I am on creating a safe and stable home for Rowan. Worrying about how I was raised or what my parents think takes a backseat to everything else. It’s not forgotten, but I trust myself as being someone who can learn from my own experiences versus worrying about how others think.
Before having children, it was easy to sit back, stuck wondering what kind of family I should raise. But having children is like screwing on a macro lens, focusing on the moments in front of you. It’s not easy looking forwards or backward in either direction for too long. A diaper needs changing, or her next nap is going to give me 60 minutes to finish this letter.
Ultimately what I lacked was the conviction in myself—as someone who can love unconditionally without the Bible telling me so. It prevented me from getting excited to care for another human. Like most parents will tell you, you can’t prepare for being a parent, but I’m now fully excited to be one.
Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on early drafts, like Bryce, Charlie, Matt, Scott and Florian.
⚡️ Two creative hits for next week
💻 The Hims & Hers site is beautiful and incorporates some intelligent scrolling which I normally don’t like, but the way the content in the phone interacts with the rest of the content is clever.
👩🎨 What’s your creative type? I took the test and ended up being a Dreamer.
“The world is a place of beauty and magic in the eyes of a DREAMER. Where others see facts and figures, you see symbols, metaphors, and hidden meanings.”
👋 See you next Sunday
Have a great week,
p.s. If you enjoyed this letter, would you please let me know by tapping on the heart below?