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The Truth About Fatherhood

  • Narrowed Outlook

    The paradox of fatherhood: Although the little things don't bother you as much, there are no little things. "The trivial issues are put aside. I stopped being religious about washing my car. In fact, I stopped allowing myself to be compulsive about anything," says Schaus. "My priorities have shifted, or narrowed. The kids come first."

    Feit's worldview expanded. "I can honestly say that before I had kids, I didn't spend any time or energy worrying about the environment. Now, when I see a car spewing black fumes, I go nuts. I've taken this quantum leap, and I see everything in and out of the home as a safety hazard. People with kids and people without kids live in two different universes."

    On the People With Kids Planet, money issues weigh heavily. Most dads seem to believe that generating income is their masculine duty, even if their wife works  -- even if she earns twice his salary. Rossant, an architect married to a corporate lawyer, worries about paying for education, finding a bigger place to live, and securing quality childcare. Postman agrees that financial security takes on sudden, central importance: "The moment Sam was born, one of my first thoughts was 'Where can I find me some money?'"

    Despite the fiscal crunch, many fathers welcome the new sense of proportion that tends to accompany their outlook shifts. "I had to reanalyze my professional outlook greatly," says Rossant. "I lost the energy to burn the candle at both ends. The big meeting at three? Who cares?" he asks. "I still think about my dreams and ambitions, but with new perspective  -- I don't take it too seriously," says Kushner. "The meaning of life for me now is taking Samy out for breakfast on Saturdays. That's so much fun. I had a lot of anxieties about money before she arrived, wondering, 'How will we do this? Can we afford a baby?' Well, she's here, and somehow we can."

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