Okay…I’m Scared

This week I am in Syracuse, NY for work and it has me thinking ahead to next year when we will have a newborn.  What happens then when I hit the road for a few weeks?  Will my baby remember me?  Will my wife resent me?  Will we still be happy?

Ryan and Kate's 1st week in Wichita

Kate and I moved to Wichita to create some great stability in our lives so we could start a family.  Most importantly I wanted to take a corporate job so that Kate would have time to paint.  We spent 2 years in San Francisco while she got her masters (a sacrifice of our social lives, my career, and our finances) and it felt in danger of being a waste when we moved back to NY.  Kate had this shiny new diploma and she was working part time at a restaurant and nearly full time with me at CreativeRHINO.  It wasn’t fair.  She is a painter.  She needed to paint.

When the opportunity for me to accept the position of Director of Viral Marketing at easygates, LLC came around I jumped on it because I saw an opportunity for my wife to pursue her dreams.  Wichita has a vibrant and growing art scene that we were confident she would do well in, and so far she is poised to do so with her upcoming solo show next month.  She also started teaching at Friends University this week: Design 101.  My wife!  She is teaching college!  How awesome is that?!!!  I have never been so proud and her happiness fuels me as I embark on these road trips, I am not working for a paycheck: I am working for our happiness.  What happens when the baby arrives?

It is expected of me to return to the office after the baby is born, what will Kate do?  We planned on having children in Wichita but we found out we were pregnant the second week we lived here!  Kate is brand new to Wichita, trying to make friends and connections, and all the while there is a person growing in her belly…a person who won’t want her to go paint or teach…he’ll just want attention and breast milk.

I am scared.  I’m scared my wife will not be able to pursue her dreams – that we will compromise our dreams.  Can we afford to be parents?  Will Kate hate me for moving us to Wichita, KS and immediately getting her pregnant?  How do we find balance between responsibility, pursuing of aspirations, and happiness.  I guess that is life.  My only comforts are I truly believe Kate and I are going to be good parents, we will set aside time for us, we will evolve with this transition and become closer, we will continue to support each other and the baby, and we will always look to rid ourselves of the toxic elements of life.  I think addressing my fears is the first step in conquering them; I just want to be a good husband, father, friend, and be true to myself and my own desires as well.

2 thoughts on “Okay…I’m Scared

  1. You are going through so much of the same things all of my artist friends with kids have gone through – and continue to go through. Don’t worry about Kate – she will be COMPELLED to keep painting. Colleen and I were talking about studio practice with babies – remember cribs? Not so evil when Mommy/Daddy are nearby – and Kate maintains a relatively low/non toxic practice. So if there is a two hour nap with babe in the crib while Kate works nearby – kinda lovely. Plus, babies only stay baby-sized for a couple of years – you saw how fast the two years of grad school flew by – imagine how fast your son will go from bundle to handing you spit-covered action figures to asking if he can do an overnight at his friend’s birthday party….which brings me to something I wanted to plant in your mind Ryan – paternity leave. My best pal Jeff is an incredible artist. His wife gave birth to their second kid earlier this year. With their first son, Zach – who is now almost 3 – she got to do maternity leave then part-time work (they live in Brooklyn and both work in Manhattan – Jeff’s keeps a studio in DUMBO) – in anycase, Jeff felt like he really missed out on the early part of Zach’s life. So, when Violet was born he petitioned and got 1 month of paternity leave (he works for the Guggenheim, full time – paints in his studio about 3 nights a week). So this past weekend, he was telling me that he has never been so glad of a decision that even though it meant some financial hardship – it meant the world in memories. Like walking down the street with the baby strapped to his chest, her head bouncing and arms flapping, while pulling the wagon with his son in it enroute to the park and singing nursery rhymes. His paternity leave ends this week – and he’s sad to go back full time, but very very glad to have had bonding time with the baby and his son. Just a thought, something to scheme on when Kate’s maternity leave expires…

  2. Dude, no worries – you’re already a terrific husband, father, friend, and brother-in-law. Your fear/trepidation is proof.

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