If you have never read this viral blog post ‘The Truth About Having a Third Child‘, please go and take a look.
It’s a witty, brutally honest piece of writing on the perceptions and behaviors of parents when they have 1 kid versus having 2 or 3.
I can totally relate to it as we were just like that when Kyan first arrived.
Everything is pristine and over-sanitized. We get the best and the most expensive, mainly to compensate for our ignorance.
I even read a book about raising a kid. I wonder where that book is now.
But when you hit 3, wow. It’s pure survival especially when you are out. There is only one objective only – to make sure everyone come back alive.
And of course 3 kids means 3x the time to spend with them.
A day doesn’t go by without getting the oldest one to do some reading practices, the second to keep her toys(!) and making sure the third one doesn’t eat the dog food.
And tonnes of sacrifices. We only have 24 hours a day. And I need to work, to blog, to prepare my training stuffs and so on. Something have to give.
Here are the list of things I had either entirely or mostly given up so I can save up more time to spend with my kids.
1. Video Games
I’m a huge game buff. I was on computer games when mainframe still exists. I completed every command & conquer, and introduced my wife to Age of Empire. We played over LAN against the computer and it was awesome.
As hardware requirements became steeper and real-time strategy becoming a bit too time-consuming, I turned to video game and migrated across to Wii and Xbox. I used to play late into 3am every weekend.
When Kylie arrived, Wii was gone and Xbox was mainly on first person shooter. Because those games are quick fixes. My patience for role playing games evaporated. If I need to travel from one town to another with more than 10 seconds, that game is out.
My Xbox was sold away late last year when Kingsley arrived. My friend introduced me to Steam but it’s really hard to focus on a game when you have someone tugging at you or asking you how to spell Zebra every 5 minutes.
2. Luxury Car
I’m a sucker for large cars. Even when I had a smaller family, I always feel the need to get a seven-seater.
Maybe the subconscious me really wish to be a bus driver. I don’t know.
Anyhow in the category of MPV, the top of the range would be the BMW X5.
And I finally got it a couple years ago just before they switch the 10-year loan to a 5-year cap.
But boy was that car a great drive.
You can’t hear a single sound from outside once you close the door and the suspension provides the smoothest ride that can easily put every passenger sound asleep.
Oh did I mention about the sun roof? I love things like that even though it isn’t really practical in Singapore’s weather.
All these however came at a price.
I was paying close to $2.2k per month just on the car loan. This car is a guzzler so a full tank will set you back at least $150. With a 3L engine, the road tax costs another 2 grand per year.
It just became too much at the last servicing where a routine check uncovered other issues that amounted to a $4k fix.
So it finally called for goodbye. We went back to a more economical Nissan Murano (which turned out to be a lemon), stupidly move to a Citroen Picasso (Super Lemon) before settling for a 9-year-old Suzuki Swift.
Not the most spacious car around for a family of 5 but it allow us to pay it up in full and buy some time to properly plan our finances better for the kids.
3. My Business
Some of you would know that I started a recruitment business and had ran it for more than a decade. As with any businesses, there are ups and downs.
It’s my philosophy to put the business ahead of me when I was running it.
So when time is tight, I make sure the people get paid and electricity remains running. I can wait a few more weeks before drawing a salary.
And when things are really bad (recessions), I have no qualms about borrowing money on my credit to make sure we have sufficient cash flow.
It was still okay during the early days.
But when you have 3 more mouths to feed, you can’t simply ignore your own needs because they depend on it.
And so it became one of the key contributing factors to exit from the business which I co-founded in 2004.
I made some money from it but most of them went to clear off our liabilities. This allow me to seriously plan for their education fund and also to invest for the future.
Every now and then I would miss the business. Kyan will often ask why I don’t bring him to office anymore.
But I guess you just have to prioritize what’s more important when you have to make a decision.
And without a business to worry about, I have plenty of time to spend with my kids. Now that is something money can never buy.