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Antares

"parent culture" and parental identity

55 posts in this topic

Very interesting topic, not what I expected fron the title either. I believe I am spared some of this conformity-pressure because of my situation: multicultural family living in a multilingual border city with little influence from relatives. The kindergarten doesn't bat an eyelid that we don't participate in much of the extracurriculars. Our son has missed out on many themed events and evening festivities. We go to parent's meetings, photography and we pay for events our kid can go to without us, so I believe our involvement may be seen as below average but decent enough.

My wife is also an introvert, and most of the life changes revolve around our clashes. She obsesses about banalities and fussiness, and I insist on extensive planning, preparation and safeguards, and neither of us are measured about it. I stumble to make nonconfrontational suggestions without sparking an argument, and she finds out which instructions I am willing to do and which I ignore.

As for parent friends, they are often of differently-aged kids, and my wife seems to make friends with older mothers easily. There is no equal-peer comparison, so there is little resulting pressure. Then there are socio-economic and language barriers: we interact with people who are eith much poorer or much richer than us, and in foreign languages. I guess it suits us fine.

Edited by coineineagh

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I have friends with children, their identities are not subverted. They still have hobbies and interests outside of their children. Maybe they spend more weekends at watching Little League games rather than clubbing, but watching your kid play sports isn't awful. Nor is spending Halloween taking your kids trick-or-treating objectively awful compared to getting drunk at some party.

Some people are due take being A Parent to a whole new level where their Parent status IS who they are. Some of these people really just wanted to be a parent their whole life, and so other interests and hobbies naturally fade when they realize their life's dream. Some people have children with special needs who require a ton of attention.

But you don't have to get rid of all your friends, interests and hobbies when you become a parent. Nor do you have to be a Tiger Mom or a Super Mom. The trick, I think, is not treating your children like totally reflections of your parenting ability and your identity. Children are individuals.

Kids do cost money, though, so you will have to budget more carefully.

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20 hours ago, Major Chord said:

I wonder why you think having kids means you cannot travel.

I have travelled with my kids to Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Thailand and the UK. (If you would like to read about our most recent family holiday, you can go to my blog in the blog section and read about what we did last month).   

You do have to modify your travel plans when you have young kids. Obviously if you want to go and climb mountains in Nepal or go scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, this is not very feasible with a young baby.  

When our kids were little, our preference was to stay at beach resorts. There are things to do, a good resort will have plenty of facilities, but at the same time, your room is nearby, so you can always get back in a jiffy, if the kid needs to sleep or bathe or you need to change diapers or provide a milk feed.

The thing is - the baby/toddler stage is only a few years. If you regard parenting as an 18-year or 21-year responsibility, the baby/toddler stage is basically 1/6th or 1/7th, a fraction of the total time. 

Actually I think that I would probably have travelled less, if I were not a parent. If you have kids, the existence of a school calendar will regularly remind you to start planning for the next trip for the next school holidays.

---------------

A few more comments, specifically about hobbies and personal interests.

As part of family life, parents will naturally introduce their kids to various activities for fun, enjoyment and learning. And it seems quite a natural thing to me that parents will naturally introduce to their children what the parents themselves find fun and interesting.

In other words, kids are often an opportunity for you to pursue your hobbies, or to take up again personal interests that you had abandoned a long time ago. 

Depending on the activity, you may have to dumb down. But depending on the activity, you may also find that the kids catch up very fast. Doing the activity together is also your bonding time. It could be stuff such as playing the piano, playing chess, playing soccer, cycling, reading, painting, rearing aquarium fish, having a pet dog, gardening, writing stories, baking, swimming, fishing, photography etc.

    

I understand  completely. Disney World wouldn't be a thing if people didn't have kids. I just don't like the unnecessary romanticizing of the whole thing. Like "childless" people just can't understand the sacrifice and only care about going to loud ass bars and fucking strangers. 

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This thread also reminds me of those types of discussions where people say that they don't want children because they wish to focus on their career, and that is where they need to put their time and energy.

The irony - if you stop to think about it - is that if you look at the most successful career people, the vast majority of them are parents. Eg your typical CEO will have married & have had kids in his or her 20s or 30s, and will have made excellent career progress anyway (in all the busy child-rearing years), and by their late 40s or 50s, will become the CEO.

I have previously done my own googling on this. You can google phrases such as "50 Most Influential Women in the World" or "World's Most Famous CEOs", or "Most Powerful Leaders in the World", look at the individuals and check out their biographies, and you see that the vast majority of them have kids.

If the theory that having children seriously hampers your career is true, then in the highest ranks of the working world, you really should expect to find childless people dominating the top spots. But it just doesn't happen. 

Zuckerberg, Clinton, Trump, Buffett, Einstein, Depp, Gates, Branson, Xi Jinping, Obama, Mandela, Dimon, Musk, Rowling etc etc ... All parents. Think of your own workplace and the most successful people there - well, if your workplace is like mine, again you'll hardly find a non-parent among the top ranks.

 

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@Major ChordGood observation. It may be that if people marry a good partner with a helpful family, that having children brings them more support than they even need. Then it can be possible that 2 people work together twice as effectively, catapulting their career(s) forward. Sadly, not all partners and families are like this, so having children is still a burden to most people.

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Like I said, my own real-life observations don't bear this out. Anecdotal, of course, but I invite everybody to consider their own experiences closely.  I'm thinking of my own department now, and I can say that the No. 1, No. 2, No, 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8, No. 9, No. 10 people in the corporate hierarchy are all parents.   

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7 hours ago, Major Chord said:

Like I said, my own real-life observations don't bear this out. Anecdotal, of course, but I invite everybody to consider their own experiences closely.  I'm thinking of my own department now, and I can say that the No. 1, No. 2, No, 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8, No. 9, No. 10 people in the corporate hierarchy are all parents.   

It's true for me.

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19 hours ago, Major Chord said:

This thread also reminds me of those types of discussions where people say that they don't want children because they wish to focus on their career, and that is where they need to put their time and energy.

The irony - if you stop to think about it - is that if you look at the most successful career people, the vast majority of them are parents. Eg your typical CEO will have married & have had kids in his or her 20s or 30s, and will have made excellent career progress anyway (in all the busy child-rearing years), and by their late 40s or 50s, will become the CEO.

I have previously done my own googling on this. You can google phrases such as "50 Most Influential Women in the World" or "World's Most Famous CEOs", or "Most Powerful Leaders in the World", look at the individuals and check out their biographies, and you see that the vast majority of them have kids.

Question is, are they successful parents? Having kids is the easy part, it requires no skills, no sacrifices, nothing. Being there for your children and meeting their needs is an entirely different matter though. Yes, they might have children, but how close are they to those children? How good are they at parenting? 

I think the CEOs that are also parents still mostly focus on their careers instead of their children (not all of them, of course), and that the people who say that recognize that they cannot do both, that they'd end up neglecting either their career or their children. And honestly, I think being self-aware in that way is something that many parents lack. Not everyone has the resources or capabilities to be successful in all/multiple aspects of their lives, so people with different priorities follow different life paths.

Honestly, I see no irony. The fact that those people have children tells me nothing about the quality of their parenting.

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Sure. More to the point of this thread, if being a parent does not stop one from being a successful cardiologist, judge or aerospace engineer, why woud being a parent stop one from having a hobby? Playing the piano, running a marathon, learning a language, or whatever it is that you're interested in.

Some posters in this forum who know me a bit better (from my various posts on different topics over the past years) may remember snippets of my life that I've disclosed here before. Suffice to say that I have more than a few hobbies and personal interests that I pursue to some depth. Among other things, on top of being an investment banking lawyer, I am an award-winning published poet; have drawn and defeated international masters in chess tournaments; dabble with meditation, hypnosis and the occult; and play and arrange music for solo fingerstyle guitar. I also read and  collect comics (see my avatar?); practise this thing called Total Immersion swimming; give talks at industry conferences; and for fun, I take exams in different areas of financial markets (I hold the qualifications to be a securities broker and personal financial planner in my country, and am studying for the fund manager qualification, even though I have never worked and have no plans to work in such jobs).

Now you may understand why I am very skeptical of the notion that parenthood means you can't have hobbies. I don't see why a parent can't manage at least one or two hobbies.

One more thing to add - I live in a country where parenthood is probably more demanding, at least in one way, than most other countries. Reason is that the education system here is extremely demanding, and parents have to get involved in schoolwork and extra-curriculars, to an extent that a lot of people in many other countries probably cannot imagine. Check out the 2016 Pisa international results to get an idea - Singaporean students are ranked world no. 1 in literacy, science, math, and in 2012 were also ranked world no. 1 for creative problem solving. I myself am one of those parents who are very involved in the kids' school life. Yet there is time and energy for hobbies. 

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19 minutes ago, Major Chord said:

Sure. More to the point of this thread, 

I only commented on the part I quoted, and what I said was mostly irrelevant to the rest of the thread. I only wanted to point out that in what you said, you ignored a very important factor, which is the quality of parenting.

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Ah, but there is a suggestion in your post that people with successful careers are less likely to be good parents than people with mediocre jobs.

What makes you think that? Is it because you think that people with successful careers have to spend more time at work than people with mediocre jobs, and therefore have less time for family?

But then who do you think actually spends more hours at work - a CEO, or a poor guy who spends a full day at work, then works a second job at night as a cab driver or security guard? Do doctors really work longer hours than nurses? Does a restaurant owner necessarily work more hours than his chefs or waiters?

And do childless people actually work longer hours than parents? And does the number of hours you work really correlate very well with the value or quantity of your output?

What is most likely to help you get ahead in your career? Working hard, or working smart? Or the possession of some particular special skill or talent?

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On 12/11/2016 at 0:12 PM, Antares said:

I'm wondering, for INTJ parents, is that something you've experienced? If yes, how do you combat them? How do you deal with other people criticizing the fact that you're not super involved in the parent community? What about being completely uninvolved? Is that possible or desirable? How does one keep one's pre-baby identity?

if you're not involved in a community... who would be criticizing you? 

My solution was to marry an FJ. :p 

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On 12.12.2016 at 4:48 AM, True Rune said:

How tied to social convention is your friend? Seems like he might think he has to do what his family did. Generally kids born in this generation are "overprotected" compared to previous generations (even the previous one) so people may overestimate just how much they need to be there. Just be proactive and plan ahead and you should still be able to have a life, even with children.  

You're right. He doesn't take pressure well and is a bit conformist even when he doesn't want to be. I have less of a hard time saying "fuck that" but he's a people pleaser. He complains about being used too.

 
12 hours ago, Major Chord said:

Ah, but there is a suggestion in your post that people with successful careers are less likely to be good parents than people with mediocre jobs.

To quibble on this (it has nothing to do with the rest of the thread), it's because most people have a limit well of energy and a limited number of things they have the mental resources to be smart about. And yes, working smart is great. It seems like you have it figured out. Unfortunately most people haven't and it's unclear that they can really implement your methodology even if they learn it. This is why there is a literal cacophony of books investigating why google, facebook, steve jobs, etc. were so successful and what habits CEOs have and millions upon millions of people have read them but they can't implement it to the same effect. Studies show that we're awful at multitasking. This is why single mothers don't tend to do well in universities. So for a single mother she's not only taking on the job of two people (mother and father) she's also doing a part time job and taking a demanding courseload, whereas your average university student find it hard to work smart enough to even take on one of these roles (the courseload part).

For instance I don't know "10,000 Hour Rule" is true but I do think it's true that a big part of mastery is just putting in the hours. I won't quibble over exactly how many because I don't know, but it's MANY. Children also require many hours. Sleeping/eating also require many hours (some might argue the most hours of all). Along with exercise, housework, vacation, break, etc. You can work as smart as you want but if you want to master anything, parenting or otherwise, you need to put in the hours. And number of hours in a day is absolute. And energy is absolute. it's entirely possible that CEOs who are also great parents and poets and such are simply more energetic than your average joe. So its entirely possible that your average-energy Joe needs to put in more hours than you to succeed at everything on the same level. So let's say you have a time pie. You burn through things quicker and more efficiently so you can do 5 things in th allotted time. Joe can only do 2.

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On 11/12/2016 at 5:12 PM, Antares said:

My roommate (he's much older than I am) and I were talking about the subject of parenthood and keeping your identity after parenthood. He has a long term girlfriend and they're talking about having kids at some future point in time (maybe a couple of years?). And one thing we both noticed is that after having kids, people change drastically.

Kids take up a lot of time and effort, like any big project.

When you're young, you don't know what you can achieve.

But as you get older and more experienced, you discover that you could be doing so much more with your life. So priorities change.

You can still have fun. But if all you do is have fun, you don't achieve much. So you scale back your fun, so as to achieve more.

On 11/12/2016 at 5:12 PM, Antares said:

He told me about how, among his parent friends (I don't have any, since I'm younger), a lot of them are expected to attend events revolving around kids. How at certain school events parents have to show up and help decorate (I forgot his specific examples). How when he hangs out with them, they no longer can go to the movie theaters because their kids need to be put to bed.

When you're a teenager, you can afford to go out every night. When you become a lawyer, doctor of start your own business. it's more important to you to make sure that you get a good night's rest before a day of work, so that you can put in your effort and achieve a lot.

You also start to attend work-related events. You start to attend conferences to share and learn important information about your work and the projects you are in. You also start to attend social events to establish the relationships for collaboration and for networking to make the social connections that will grease the wheels of collaboration.

On 11/12/2016 at 5:12 PM, Antares said:

But namely, their lives start revolving around their children in a way that, to onlookers without children, their identity has been subsumed.

How they can barely talk about anything anymore aside from their children. They no longer talk about their intellectual interests or hobbies, that they're always involved in some children-related social event.

Some people get OCD about their work-related projects. Brunel worked himself to death on his engineering projects. Generally, it's frowned upon, because to be the most productive, people need a work/life balance, or they burn out, or like Brunel, die an early death and lose decades of productivity and achievement.

You frequently hear other parents complain about the parent that can not talk about anything but their kids. They worry about what it is doing to the parents. They worry more about what it is doing to the kids. It's not good for the child, when a parent obsesses over them. They can't breathe.

On 11/12/2016 at 5:12 PM, Antares said:

It's not whether they enjoy it nor not, but that it's expected and that other parents and teachers will criticize them if they don't. To him that's his biggest fear, that he can't just be a parent, that he has to join the "parent club" or something, and hang out with other parents and do kid oriented stuff with other parents or else be branded a bad parent.

It's expected that you take some interest on a regular basis.

Teachers frequently complain about the parents who take no interest whatsoever in their children's studies, never help them with their homework and never seem to care if their children do their homework at all. When kids see that their own parents, who love them more than anything else, and who they want to please to receive their love and affection, show them nothing when they do their homework, they come to the conclusion that they will gain no love or attention from their parents by being good students. Frequently, in order to get any attention at all, they play up, cause disruption in the classroom and even get into trouble committing juvenile crimes, all just so their parents will stop ignoring them and start noticing that they exist.

The children of such parents often end up juvenile criminals and teenage drop-outs, with no qualifications and even lack basic skills required for work and any sort of adult life. They often end up on the fringes of society, living in a trailer park, spending all of their money on drink, drugs and gambling. They frequently get in trouble with the police. They have never been shown what they could achieve, and so aspire to nothing.

So teachers and other parents like it when they can see that a parent attends PTA meetings and helps out with the school social events. They aren't doing this for themselves, as they don't need to go to school. They are presumably doing this because their kids attend the school and so are trying to make the school a better place for their kids. This in turn shows that they care greatly about their kids' time in school, and so presumably also care that their kids make the effort to learn in school and do their homework. Parents and teachers are generally of the opinion that those parents' children will learn, will see the value of getting on in school and the value of learning, will probably learn how things that are needed for adult life, and will probably go on to university or training college, and will probably be a great success in life.

For exactly the same reason, it's important for parents to show their kids how to have a life and enjoy it, to have a work/life balance, which in turn includes a parenting/life balance. You hear often about the parents who cannot talk about anything but their kids. You feel sorry for the kids, that they can't have a moment's peace to do things on their own without their parent trailing behind them like a puppy that has lost its owner.

 

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3 minutes ago, scorpiomover said:

Parents and teachers are generally of the opinion that those parents' children will learn, will see the value of getting on in school and the value of learning, will probably learn how things that are needed for adult life, and will probably go on to university or training college, and will probably be a great success in life.

Yeah. I see that. And I guess I don't want that. I don't mind being a devoted parent and helping with homework and meeting the teachers to make sure my kid is on track. I don't want to be their friends or even be on first name basis with them. The teachers and other parents and I should have a working/acquaintance level relationship and nothing more unless we also get along as people. But I don't want a social life that revolves around parenting more than strictly necessary. I don't want to make friends with other parents just because our kids go to the same school. I don't want to host potlucks for my kid's class and their parents. I don't want to bake cakes for my kid's soccer game. I just want to parent privately at home and get as uninvolved in the social life as possible because I'm a private person and when I get off work (which is socializing) I just want private time at home with my husband and my kids (if they also are introverts who like to stay home. If they don't like saying home until dinnertime that's fine with me). I don't want a public life at all.  I guess I want to do what my parents did. They had their jobs, they helped with homework, they met my teachers during parent teacher conferences and they drove me around so I could hang out with my friends but they mostly stayed out of my school life.

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30 minutes ago, Antares said:

I don't mind being a devoted parent and helping with homework and meeting the teachers to make sure my kid is on track.

That's most of what parents and teachers want.

They'd only also like that parents help out occasionally with the school dance. Someone has make sure that the kids aren't nipping off to swig alcohol or start shagging in the toilets. The few parents and teachers who are responsible enough to make the effort, don't want to have to do it all the time, so they don't have a life at all. They'd just like it shared, so everyone does their bit, and everyone gets to have a life.

33 minutes ago, Antares said:

I don't want to be their friends or even be on first name basis with them. The teachers and other parents and I should have a working/acquaintance level relationship and nothing more unless we also get along as people.

That's how teachers and parents want things to be too. Teachers and parents have their own lives. They don't need you coming over every 5 minutes like a busybody, never giving them a moments' peace. Some people are like that. When they come over, everyone in the family groans and tries to make excuses to disappear.

35 minutes ago, Antares said:

But I don't want a social life that revolves around parenting more than strictly necessary. I don't want to make friends with other parents just because our kids go to the same school. I don't want to host potlucks for my kid's class and their parents. I don't want to bake cakes for my kid's soccer game. I just want to parent privately at home and get as uninvolved in the social life as possible because I'm a private person and when I get off work (which is socializing) I just want private time at home with my husband and my kids (if they also are introverts who like to stay home. If they don't like saying home until dinnertime that's fine with me). I don't want a public life at all.  I guess I want to do what my parents did. They had their jobs, they helped with homework, they met my teachers during parent teacher conferences and they drove me around so I could hang out with my friends but they mostly stayed out of my school life.

It sounds like you are saying "I'm an introvert".

Everyone understands that some people don't need to be that social.

What matters, is that you pull your weight, you SHOW that you pull your weight, and you're not anti-social.

If people don't know what you've done for them, how can they know that you've done anything? So you have to show people what you'd done.

You have to at least be civil, and at least attend a social event for an hour a year, just to show people that you don't hate them. If you hate them, you'll sabotage everything they try to achieve, and will be a thorn in their side. So if you do have a reasonable issue with something that is going on, and you would like people to hear you out, they have to have visible signs that you don't hate them, to know that it's worth listening to your complaints. So you have to attend a minimal level of social events and take a minimal interest in their life, just so that they can know who is not their enemy, because a lot of people are petty and malicious and they cannot afford to let those people take control. Fair enough?

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1 minute ago, scorpiomover said:

just so that they can know who is not their enemy, because a lot of people are petty and malicious and they cannot afford to let those people take control. Fair enough?

The rest of what you're saying I get. But where did the word "enemy" come from? Is that really relevant in the parenting/teacher circles? What would being an enemy to them even look like?

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22 minutes ago, Antares said:

The rest of what you're saying I get. But where did the word "enemy" come from? Is that really relevant in the parenting/teacher circles? What would being an enemy to them even look like?

Oh, it's extremely relevant. I've known and been friends with many teachers. By far, their biggest complaint about teaching is the bullying from other teachers, which is extremely common. Many parents look for any opportunity to exert their importance and their power over others. Then you get the parents who refuse to hear any criticism about little Johnny. You get the parents who worry about every little thing and want to ban everything so they can wrap their children up in cotton wool.

It's extremely important to know if a parent/teacher is arguing rationally or just from their own biased emotions and narcissistic ego. You don't want to approve a plan that will affect your kids, that is based on irrational thinking and will probably make things much worse for your kids. Other rational parents also do not want to make things worse for their kids. So they need to get to know you, enough to know that beneath your gruff exterior, lies a person who is fully rational and would not say something unless it was relevant and useful.

Socialising is often not about being social, but about showing your personality, so people know that they can trust you. Here, you need to do a bit.

But less is more. If someone socialises once a week but half the time are ranting and raving like a crazy person, they've seen that person go bonkers 50 times in a year! If you can appear once or twice a year for an hour each time, and be the soul of rationality, brevity and wit, that makes everyone feel like they can trust you, then you have a 100% success rate of being reasonable, rational and worth listening to.

It's quality, not quantity, that matters more here, that every time you do appear, you seem rational, even if you are only there for 10 minutes.

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2 hours ago, Antares said:

But I don't want a social life that revolves around parenting more than strictly necessary. I don't want to make friends with other parents just because our kids go to the same school.

To a degree this is unavoidable. Your child will make friends, and so you will inevitably have social contact with the parents of those friends as you bring your kid over for playdates and suchlike. You will want to be friendly with those parents in order to facilitate your child's friendships. However, these other parents do not need to be in your inner circle or anything like that, so don't worry too much.

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18 hours ago, Major Chord said:

Ah, but there is a suggestion in your post that people with successful careers are less likely to be good parents than people with mediocre jobs.

People who's priority is their career. You can be (theoritically) successful without it being your major focus. It also depends on your definition of 'successful'.

18 hours ago, Major Chord said:

But then who do you think actually spends more hours at work - a CEO, or a poor guy who spends a full day at work, then works a second job at night as a cab driver or security guard? Do doctors really work longer hours than nurses? Does a restaurant owner necessarily work more hours than his chefs or waiters?

You're going from one extreme to another. Why would a poor guy that has to work and be away for so many hours knowingly have children, if he can provide for them with such difficulty? If he's going to be absent for the majority of the day, just to make enough money to support his family, why become a father? I find it repulsive  that someone would choose to fullfill their reproductive urges and priotirise it over the actual child's well being and quality of life. It's irresponsible, regardless of how well (or bad) it ends up going. Not to mention selfish. 

Being a doctor doesn't automatically translate to 'success'. It's how good (and successful) you are compared to other people with the same occupation, in this case other doctors. So yes, I'd argue that a successful doctor has too many responsibilities and work-related stuff to do, mostly because of how competitive the world is. Usually (though there are exceptions) you have to work hard to be successful in what you do. 

Also, it's not only how long you work, but how focused you are on your career and what percentage of your energy you choose to put in it (additional energy to what you already have to use by default) and to what extent it occupies your mind compared to other things.

And again, you were referring to people that want to be career focused, which would make their job a higher priority than their children by definition, which would lower the quality of their parenting, which is why I mentioned that factor as a very significant one.

18 hours ago, Major Chord said:

What is most likely to help you get ahead in your career? Working hard, or working smart? Or the possession of some particular special skill or talent?

Like I mentioned before, the job market is quite competitive, so if you want to be successful in your domain, you have to also work hard in addition to smart and having a special skill (with 'special' I assume 'above average'). I suppose there are exceptions though.

At least that's my general view.

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On 12/11/2016 at 11:27 AM, doll said:

i wrote a thing and hit the clear rather than preview button.  *sigh

For future reference... if you'd hit the Undo button right after the Clear button, you would have gotten your post back.

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Doctors, CEOs, and politicians hire nannies or send kids to daycare, or have a spouse who is home most of the time. That's how they manage both the workload and parenthood. They also tend to have much more vacation time and flexibility than your average worker.

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3 minutes ago, dala said:

Doctors, CEOs, and politicians hire nannies or send kids to daycare, or have a spouse who is home most of the time. That's how they manage both the workload and parenthood. They also tend to have much more vacation time and flexibility than your average worker.

So, it seems like they are not actively participating in the upbringing of their children. At least according to the bolded.

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4 hours ago, Nebelung said:

Like I mentioned before, the job market is quite competitive, so if you want to be successful in your domain, you have to also work hard in addition to smart and having a special skill (with 'special' I assume 'above average'). I suppose there are exceptions though.

I observed in my maths degree in university, that those students who did better at the subject, put more hours in, and and those who put less hours in, did worse. The top guy in the year used to be found in the Maths department, either in lectures and assignment classes, or studying in the study area, 9-5, Monday to Friday, every week during term time, even during revision weeks when there were no lectures at all. Amongst the students in my degree course, you could pretty much grade someone by the number of hours they put in.

I've watched documentaries on top soccer players. David Beckham, who became one of the top soccer players in the UK, used to practise for hours after school, when his friends were out having fun. Maradonna was discovered as a dirt-poor Argentinian boy, who did nothing buy play and practise soccer all day long, every day.

I've also watched interviews with top snooker players. They practise snooker shots over and over, 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even when they've got to the top, they keep practising. It's how they stay so good.

Even Richard Feynman said in an interview, that the difference between him and a plumber, is that he studied physics more than the plumber. He thought that were the plumber to have studied physics as much as Feynman did, then the plumber would be as good as he at physics.

So it seems that even being smart and having a special skill, is caused by hard work.

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24 minutes ago, scorpiomover said:

So it seems that even being smart and having a special skill, is caused by hard work.

I both agree and disagree.

Someone with an innate talent requires less effort to reach a certain level of proficiency than someone who lacks it. 

Problem is, relying only on your talent isn't enough. You have to compete against other equally (or more) talented people, and hard work is what actually makes the difference in that case.

(Though sometimes pure work and effort on their own can surpass talent).

Edited by Nebelung

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