Is it bad that I originally wanted my first kid to be aborted?

images (23)

Is it bad that I wanted my now ex-wife to have an abortion before she had my first kid? I don’t know what it was, other than stark fear. I was the worst husband. I would go out all night and play poker during the nine months she was pregnant.  I couldn’t handle the fact I was about to be a father. When she had the baby and after everyone (mother and baby) was given drugs to make them sleep I went out to play poker again. Ingrid, at the Mayfair Club on 25th street, refused to let me in. “Go to your wife,” she said, “she just had a baby.” But I talked my way in and even got a free meal out of it (the Mayfair had a great kitchen until the whole operation was shut down by the police).

I used to pretend to run errands (“Whoops, we need more milk”) and then sit in the café across the street and just read books until my ex would call an hour or so later and say, “Where are you?” All I wanted to do was read books and play games. But suddenly there was this tiny US citizen lying in bed. A new US citizen who looked like an ugly midget, who didn’t speak English, would cry all the time, and would occasionally shit on the floor. Would you ever invite a stranger to come into your house who had those qualities? Of course not.

Today I spoke to her, my oldest daughter.  I told her I loved her and I held her hand when we crossed a parking lot so she wouldn’t get hurt. I helped her buy a gift for a secret Santa thing she was in. She bought the latest “Glee” album.  I looked at a comic book she was drawing and told her it seemed to me like she was putting together a very  good story and I was proud of her. I told her it sounded like a great profession when she told me what she wanted to be when she grew up (“a clown”).  She told me that being a clown was like “free money” you get for making people laugh. Then I made her laugh by telling her stories about when she was a little girl and used to run naked around the house, giggling while I tried to catch her. I sang a song in the car to her, as a joke, because she knows I can’t sing although I like to try.

I don’t know anything about being a good father. So why not be like everyone else and give some advice about it:

First, when they are babies:

A)     Eventually they walk. By the time they are 18 years old and you have to kick them out of the house, they will probably be walking. No worries.

B)      Eventually they will be potty trained. Don’t rush this! Let them go in their diapers until they are begging to sit on the toilet. Less work for you.

C)      Eventually they will read. Every kid I know (except for mine) seems to have read the entire Harry Potter series by the time they were four years old. Eventually kids learn to read. No rush.  If anything, get them to read comic books.  Quick easy stories that they can absorb in quantity.

And when they are a little older:

D)     Take them for walks in the middle of the night outside while you are all in your pajamas. Takes them out of their comfort zone in a relatively harmless fashion.  Particularly if you are living in a city.

E)      The less they go to school, the better. If they want to stay home from school for a day or two and you can accommodate it, then great.  Lets not forget that we all hated school when we were younger. It was boring, the other kids are often evil, and its hard to sit still for 45 minute stretches listening to an adult talk about stuff you’re never going to remember.  There is absolutely NOTHING they learn in school before the age of 12 that they can’t learn later.

F)      Don’t travel with them. Traveling is boring, difficult, frustrating, tiring for kids. There is nothing good about taking a kid on vacation. All you are doing the entire vacation is preventing them from drowning.

G)     Tell them lots of stories about mistakes you made as a kid. Lets them know you aren’t perfect so they don’t have to be either.  Tell them about the time you stole money from your parents and that’s why you are now missing a finger (simulate lost finger).

H)     Make them laugh as much as possible. The only memories they are going to have of you are either you making them cry or you making them laugh. Prefer the latter. The best way I make my kids laugh is when I threaten to beat the shit out of them. Then they laugh hysterically.

I)        I asked my kids what I’ve done that has made me a great father and one of them said, “you aren’t strict” but I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe I should be more strict, like setting a bedtime. But I fall asleep by 8pm every night so its hard to enforce a bedtime.

J)       I don’t approve of them playing games of pure chance. Like the card game “War”. I like them to play Connect 4, Monopoly, and a version of chess where you just set the pawns up and whoever gets a pawn to the other side first, wins. Games of pure chance waste great opportunities to activate the neurons in the brain.

K)      I don’t approve of homework and don’t push them to do it. If there’s consequences to not doing homework then they need to deal with those consequences. But I’m happy to help them if they ask.

It feels weird writing these notes. Because what do I know?  I’ve been absent for huge chunks of time while building different businesses. I also never liked the morning routine with them. I used to wake up at 5am so I could go out for a coffee, newspaper reading, note-taking (and Scrabble playing, with the other neighborhood fathers in similar situations), and I wouldn’t return home until 8am, when I knew they’d already be off to school.  I didn’t like the chaos of their morning routine.

L)       Tell them you love them a lot. And always tell them they’re beautiful.  You’d think that’s obvious but not every kid is told that.

I see my kids every other weekend now. And sometimes during the week. But on a Sunday night, like tonight, after they leave (and the house was a tornado of kid energy since their arrival Friday) I sit on their empty beds (they have to make their beds and clean their room before they leave). I look at the stuffed rhino  and stuffed elephant respectively lying quietly on each pillow. I think back to when I was a kid reading my comics late at night, Invasion of the Body Snatchers stickers all over my wall, a globe of the world on my desk. My dad would check in and say, “you ok?” And yeah, I always was.

Enjoyed This Post? Get Free Updates

  • DaveyNC

    Startlingly close to some of the things that I have learned as a father.

  • soolebop

    “Take them for walks in the middle of the night outside while you are all in your pajamas.” is the best parenting advice I’ve ever heard…

  • http://www.mikefanelli.com Mike

    James – your writing style is amazing and you have a tendancy to make me laugh…which is not an easy task! Great article and keep up all the good work. I am a proud father of a one year old daughter and am learning as I go! I plan to visit your site often and wrote a brief synopsis of your bio on my blog.

  • Sooz

    A very similar thought crossed my ‘X’s mind but it wasn’t the first conceived..it was the third.
    I knew the moment I woke that morning, all morning sick and already very tired, as I began to prepare breakfast for my then 22 and 8 month olds that my marriage was doomed. When approaching the kitchen there it was..a message so bold that I barely made it to the bathroom to vomit for the second time that morning. It was the yellow pages opened to a specific page and the person who so coldly left it opened for me to veiw was not home to deliver the message in person. The father of my two healthy happy babies and one just 4 weeks conceived was out hitting little white balls. Something he did religously every Sat. and Sun. morning. A standing tee~time that could never be missed.
    I wonder if now 13,14,and 15yrs. later he looks at his beautiful children and imagines his life without them?

    He is a wonderful father. Although sad to admit but nonetheless true..he is much better at fathering today then he ever was when we were married.

  • Steven Goff

    “G) Tell them lots of stories about mistakes you made as a kid. Lets them know you aren’t perfect so they don’t have to be either. Tell them about the time you stole money from your parents and that’s why you are now missing a finger (simulate lost finger).”
    =======
    So true…good advice…And it hit home as I was reading it! This was a very touchy if not brave article/column to write. You did a good job of doing so! I cant imagine what your first born might think when she is old enough to contemplate and comprehend it’s meaning and the blunt honesty on your part at that time in you life. I also thought this read shined alot of light into what makes ya tick James. It was a real candid look into your life on many levels. I thank ya for that. You are almost the unfiltered stream of consciousness that I have become….;)…..But we are both far from a modern day Hunter S. Thompson

  • Thomas

    Whether it’s the first, second, or tenth child, at some point men crack under the perceived pressure of being a father. I’ve experienced it myself and can now pinpoint the breaking point in other soon-to-be dads. One of our friends is expecting triplets and I can just see the poor guy wilting under the pressure.

    Whether it’s real poker, online poker, work, golf, drinking, porn, an affair, etc, etc, there are is always an crazy outward manifestation of the internal pressure that guys feel. I think this is one of the biggest causes of failed marriages and relationships. It’s a common phenomenon that doesn’t get talked about much but probably needs to get some close attention from Dr. Phil. Kudos to sharing a very private failure that needs to be addressed a lot more.

    Oh…and your parenting advice is a teacher’s worst nightmare. I would expect to get a note from the teacher next time you see your kids.

  • A in P

    Altucher, I’ll see you in the soup kitchen! (just kiddin’, loved that interview). Two points:

    I have noted a common trait among all great businessmen: they spent little time with their children as they grew. From Warren Buffett to Conrad Hilton to Dave Thomas, you name it. It’s the price of success, and I think they all regret it later.

    And I agree, the path to great success, regardless of the endeavor, takes intensive focus, which demands time, and it takes time away from your family. But you have to decide, do I want to be that wealthy at the expense of losing my family? I look at it this way: my kids are my greatest investment. Everything else is subordinate to that.

    And as for vacations, we have traveled with our then two year-old to Disneyland and little getaways to hotels. Yeah, there are episodes of misery, but the impression on the kids is priceless. I remind myself that we are still downloading software on to his little brain and the more I can get in before he starts filtering the better.

    Best,

  • pjc

    Good article James. I’d add “hang gymnastic rings from the ceiling” to your advice list. My kids spend forever playing on those things – it’s like cirque de soleil in your living room.

    I know you’re not into home ownership, but having rings hanging from the ceiling is a big plus. Although you could probably pull it off in a rental – just don’t ask permission and putty up the holes when you move out.

  • Rico

    A fine article, but I’d go simpler.

    Pay attention. Full stop, period. Just pay attention. Let your son/daughter know that what they’re doing is important.

  • rrose

    Great stuff, it reminds me a bit of my own growing up! (And I guess I turned out alright.) Spot on with point E–this is something my own parents believed in deeply, which meant I got to miss tons of school to do much more interesting things. Fifth grade: “Why weren’t you in school this week?” Me: “My parents took me to the state Democratic convention.” Tenth grade: “Are you feeling better now? You must have been really sick!” Me: “I was in Malaysia for two weeks. Didn’t my dad send a note?” And when our teachers protested my mother pulling my sister and I out of grade school three weeks before summer break started to go to Europe she said, “Well, if they haven’t learned what they were they supposed to by now, it’s probably not going to happen anyway.” (Obviously, they didn’t agree with point F.) Not only did we have lots of fun, but these absences taught us that life is bigger than what you are “supposed to do” and you don’t have to accept everything at face value. Important lessons, I think, and obviously ones you can’t learn in school. :)

  • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

    @rrose, denis johnson in 1997 in Slate.com (or salon, i forget) wrote an excellent article about the benefits of home schooling. It ended up not being about how to ‘replace’ school (which is what denis initially thought it would be but how useless school was to begin with. His kids basically hung out all day and as long as they read 4-5 books a week it turned out they were doing ok. Sounds like you had a great childhood. I’m jealous of the travel.

    @Rico. Thats good advice. But hard!

    @pjc, I’m going to do that! Hmmm, I do rent but i’ll figure it out.

    @AinP, thats a goodpoint about vacations. I just can’t get myself to do it. Everyone seems so miserable. I’ll have to figure out other ways to build impressions on their little brains. And you me going for a second on the soup kitchen line.

  • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

    @Thomas, i bet most marriages break up because it provides a real test of what the couples are made of. Throwing them an unexpected situation that basically lasts forever. Many couples can’t (or shouldn’t) survive.

    @Steve, thanks! I like a lot of Hunter S. Thompson’s early stuff.

    @Sooz, i’m sorry to hear that. It is a painful thing to have to go through on either side, no matter what the causes. but the most painful part always revolves around the kids and all future interactions with them. I only hope my kids are happy now to have two happy parents. I live very close by so I can see them more often (i used to live further away)

  • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

    @Mike, Thanks a lot. Good luck growing up with that one year old.

    @soolebop, I used to do that with them more often. They were also so shocked. “Are you sure we are allowed to do this?” and now its old hat to them. I have to think of new things to take them out of their comfort zone.

  • Joey

    My first child is due in April, I’m scared out of my head. I just hope I end up as half the Dad you are.

  • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

    @Joey, the fact that you are scared is a good sign. It shows that you are thinking about it. I was in denial and wasn’t even thinking clearly back then. You’ll do well.

  • Stacy

    Being a parent is one certain way to find our what you’re really made of. I have three kids and it’s been a lot of work, but I know it’s made me a better person, and I can’t imagine life without these magnificent young people. They are the greatest joy.

    A word about home-schooling: we have been doing this with our two young boys (now 8 and 10) and the results have been much better than we anticipated. Their curiosity and creativity are dramatically enhanced because we don’t need to waste time on administrivia and all the useless busy-work crap that public schools require. We are free to study various subjects whenever they feel like it during the day, or go outside and find a turtle in the bayou, watch a Netflix documentary about something that interests them, go to the public library, stay up late and read together, etc. Someone once said ‘don’t let schooling get in the way of your education’ and I’m learning this is a very wise distinction to make. It applies to us adults too: keep learning, because life is fascinating and it’s a privilege to be alive.

  • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

    @Stacy, I totally agree with you the schooling. How do you deal with the common critique of home-schooling that they don’t get “socialized” enough.

  • Stacy

    @James, I think the socialization critique has become a mindless question repeated by people who haven’t really thought it out. What does it even mean? I question the base assumption that more socializing is always a good thing. That said, there are other local home-school groups who occasionally get together for field trips and such, so there’s no shortage of opportunities.

    We don’t live like hermits, and we don’t home-school for religious reasons (i.e., “saving” our kids from the Big Bad World, etc) – on the contrary, we want them exposed to more of the world, within age-appropriate limits, of course. The neighbors’ kids get home from school in the afternoon and they all get out and play together like they normally would. Home-schooling is not synonymous with being a social recluse, although many people may believe this to be the case.

    One other important thing we’ve learned is that kids WANT to learn, they’re naturally very curious. After working on the basics (reading, writing, math) we let their curiosity lead the curriculum a bit and we’re never disappointed with where it takes us.

  • Virgil

    I was a single father for many years with full custody of my youngest daughter. I wouldn’t trade any of those years for anything in the world. If anything, she taught me more about being a dad than anything else. Now days it still amazes me just how much I look forward to hearing from any of my kids and watching my grandson grow.

  • http://tonx.com tonx

    James,

    I have been visiting and reading as of late. The topics outline the ‘James Altucher’ I never got to see hanging around the offices of reset. I really appreciate the time I spent there more and more. You were a terrific boss James. I think I focused on learning more ‘hands on’ stuff from Adrian and regret not making the same effort with you.

    I’ll never forget the visit to Kenneth Cole where you showed up with unpolished, [almost] unserviceable shoes, with several knots highlighting how many times the shoelaces had broken and been tied back together. Quite possibly with mismatched socks. They offered you shoes and you brushed it off asking, “Whats wrong with my shoes?”

    Happy Holidays!

    tonx

  • Mike

    Here is a great post by Wayne Allyn Root. It’s political in nature (not always the greatest topic for public discussion!), but scroll down and read the Homeschool to Harvard about how he homeschools all his children and how his oldest was accepted to many fine universities and she decided on Harvard.

    http://www.rootforamerica.com/blog/index.php?m=05&y=10

    Keep up the great posts

    Mike

  • James Altucher

    Mike, great article on home schooling. Thanks. I think this is the direct link you intended:
    http://www.rootforamerica.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry100504-210053

  • Steven Goff

    I have something to say about home schooling. What do you think of some states legislation madating that the only way YOU can home school your kids, is if you posses credentials to do so from an accredited facility? Do you think this is laid groundwork so to speak for ALL schooling from elementry to collegant bieng done the via web in the NEAR future. I have a fe thesis that are for the obsolessence of school as e know it today. Mainly because the technology is now in place to do so. And yesssssssssss of coarse the children for the time being will be a little more desocialized as a species due to the advancments in technology and it’s release and use into society. Stae budgetary reasons/issues will be the straw/excuse that makes this a near reality. My opinion.

    • Penelope

      Spell check. Use it.

  • Steven Goff

    I always say when people ask me my education credentials….I reply > I have a Masters from the School of Hard Knox…and a Double Doctorate from Google University….like most if not all will have in the future.

  • Steven Goff

    Wasn’t it James Altucher who said “people only go to college to establish future bussiness contacts that hopefully can be exploited when the grad”…I even think you or I used the term Syndicate in the conversation a few years back on Pickr.

    The same can be said for law school….”ya go to law school to learn to be a lawyer…not to learn the law”

  • James Altucher

    @tonx!

    Thats a funny story. You got my wife to laugh when she read it. I miss the Reset days. We were all working hard and scared. I remember that one time we were doing a website for Primus (the group that sings the South Park theme song) for Interscope. We were going to some concert on 4th street. The next thing I knew, you had gotten kicked out of the place somehow. But that was the story of Reset. It always felt like we were sneaking into places and then getting kicked out. Then we had to dust ourselves off and try again. What are you up to now?

  • Sue

    Guys let me tell you this is no way near exclusive to fathers. My mother told me my little sister and I were unplanned and that her doctor refused to abort us in the 60’s. She says she loved us the moment we were born but she frequently talks about sleep walking through life after she gave birth to 4 babies in the span of 5 years. I know my dad didn’t even want to have kids so I can’t imagine his horror. Let’s face it, having kids is no easy accomplishment, parents end up loving their kids despite the hell they go through but it’s filled with hardtimes. Who ever said love was easy.

    • James Altucher

      @Sue, I agree that its amazingly difficult for the mother as well. Probably more so although I cant say from personal experience. I can’t even imagine.

    • Kimbalyah513

      I am not interested in going through the HELL. There are lots of other things to love that don’t require a lifetime committment to take care of them. I am glad that we have birth control today.

    • Kimbalyah513

      I am not interested in going through the HELL. There are lots of other things to love that don’t require a lifetime committment to take care of them. I am glad that we have birth control today.

  • Pingback: What I want for myself in 2011()

  • Pingback: Here's How I'm Going To Improve Myself In 2011 | Simple is best()

  • Anonymous

    M) Write an essay (that your child will eventually read) about how you wanted her aborted.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I think i did that above.

      • Jean

        My two cents, for what they’re worth: I was the kid whose mom wasn’t overmuch convinced she wanted a baby.  She had an abortion between me and my three years younger brother.  She told me once that she couldn’t wait for me to grow up and become interesting, and she still looks completely lost if circumstances force her to be in the same room as anyone under the age of about 16.  We weren’t really close while I was growing up – we’re two people made of fundamentally different stuffs, genetic material notwithstanding, and our only solid common points are independence, quiet stubbornness and unflappable self-assurance.  I never doubted that she loved me in some ungovernable, preternatural way, but we didn’t have much to say to each other for a long time.

        The thing is, I’m 30 now, and married and living my life 1,500 miles away, and I’m closer to my mom than anyone else in this world, husband included.  We weren’t the best match as parent and child, but as two adults alive at the same time, breathing air and eating toast, we click.  I wonder sometimes if it was her un-mothering that gave me the utter freedom to shape my crazy life?  She never idealized the baby me, so I fear no judgement from her for my adult choices.  She will never be disappointed in me because she wasn’t sure what to do with me in the first place.  She wants me healthy and happy and safe.  She’d like for me to look out for my little brother.  That’s all.  Do you know how wonderful that is, to have someone who can listen without any judgements or expectations?  We talk every day. 

        All that mess to say, don’t worry about your daughter reading these thoughts.  She’ll be an adult one day, and she’ll see your uncertainties in the expanding context of her own.  She’ll learn to separate love, the emotion, from love, the verb, and both from love, the dreamy oxytocin hit that makes new moms functionally retarded over their babies while they’re breast feeding.  Except mine, apparently, but whatever.  A correlation between “good person” and “good parent” does not imply a causal relationship. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I think i did that above.

  • Anonymous

    M) Write an essay (that your child will eventually read) about how you wanted her aborted.

  • Annthrope

    Some of this I love, and some I absolutely do not. It seems, when taken as a whole, that you are a great father to visit every other weekend. You’ll give your daughters perspective they won’t have anywhere else, and you’ll be the one they can talk to about things they dare not say to their mother.

    You’re the fun dad. You tell great stories. You’ll help them think big. But you’re not suited for the day-to-day business of raising children, the often tedious job of teaching responsibility, setting a regular routine, feeding breakfast and shepherding development. It’s very hard to raise kids, and it’s fine to recognize your limitations.

    One parent who doesn’t care much for set bedtimes, homework, school attendance and morning routines can be a great thing. But I hope there’s another parent who does care deeply about those things.

    • http://twitter.com/jaltucher jaltucher

      I think maybe you are projecting a little. While I have my opinions on things like homework, attendance, etc I do think its important to set strong boundaries. But yes, often I miss out on the day to day routines except for those weekends i have them.

  • Barrie

    I guess you get points for being honest. But not many. What you did sucks the big one. And don’t ever forget it, or think being honest or apologizing makes up for it.

    • http://twitter.com/jaltucher jaltucher

      I agree with you 100%

    • Kathrynjohnston

      Asshole.

      • Commentador

        Miserable kat lady. 
        Throwing excrement at those with more wit than herself. D :

    • elizp

      Good grief – GET OVER YOURSELF!
      Who the Hell are YOU to judge?? You’re probably some nut-less arm-chair quarterback who doesn’t have a clue what the hell he’s talking about!

      • Amelie

        what’s wrong with judging the actions that hurt other people? why is it worse than actually hurting people? i think that by letting people “forget” or “get over” their jackass moves you encourage them to be assholes all over again.

    • Bazoonawoman

      I guess you don’t get points for being a Judgmental asshole. Not nearly enough of those in this world, glad you really went out a limb and stepped forward.

    • Cyclist Who Gets in Your Face

      Barrie sounds like the Church lady. Good to hear you thinks you are perfect…the people who loathe you in your life for your insecurity manifesting as constantly being a whining prick don’t agree.

      • Commentador

        Cyclist sounds like a leprechaun, no matter what you think when you first see one, it will run up to you, kick you in the shin, and yell obscenities at you for having the misfortune to having crossed paths the insecure, miserable little creature.

    • Aa

      Faggot.

  • http://twitter.com/dfstone32 David Stone

    So I’m reading your blog this afternoon and my 8 year old daughter comes home from school, crying and yelling at me, accusing me of lying to her. Great, now what, I think to myself. Seems that she entered the house through the cellar and found the boxes that the presents she had previously thought came from Santa came in, receipt with my name on it still in the box. This is the second Santa episode. We deflected the first one pretty well I thought when she hammered us on the logistical aspects of visiting a couple billion children’s homes, fitting through the chimney (we don’t have one), flying reindeer, etc. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Without the support of my spouse I was a sitting duck and sang like a canary. What could I do. Take care.

    • KWiley

      Hey, don’t sweat it too much, my then eight year old had clung to the belief in Santa right up to almost getting into fights with kids that tried to say it was parents….where I messed up:
      His little sister lost her first tooth and when in private he asked me to come clean, confess that I or Daddy was actually the tooth fairy. I should have just admitted to the tooth fairy and shut up, unfortunately, he took that so well I flippantly threw in “you wanna know which one of us is Santa?”…Just one look told me that I had completely crushed him. Sobbing he told me he couldn’t believe I had lied to him….he also said he wished I had just told him the truth from the beginning (When queried in the past I had always just told him to decide for himself, but did he really think I would get him ____ (toy that I had been saying no to, but caved and got him for X-mas via “Santa”)) After six hours of “working through it”…by reading him Yes Virginia there is a Santa, and viewing old X-Mas videos of him racing into the living room ….I asked him if he would have really wanted to take all of those fun memories away from the little boy in the video (him)…teary eyed, he said no, but wished I had waited a little longer to tell him about Santa. In the end we figured out that he was most hurt that the one person he counts on to tell him the truth, always, lied to him “for years!”. He recently turned 9….there’s not a lot of “little” left to my boy.

      • AliWell

        KWiley! Heartbreaking.  Those are the moments I hate the most, when wisdom did not step in and shut us up.

        I often wish I had an ‘Omega 13′, a device in the movie Galaxy Quest that reverses time 13 seconds, enough to take back something you wish you had never said…..I always get a good laugh out of my teen when I declare ‘Activate the Omega 13!’, as in, I wish I hadn’t said that.

        You know what they say about wisdom, it’s easy to come by, just think of something stupid to say, and then, don’t say it.

    • Monica_417

      I say honesty is the best policy when it comes to breaking their little hearts about entities such as Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc…once they are old enough to start asking, just tell them the truth! Better yet, don’t start the lies in the first place…I wish I would have figured that out before I had kids, but I had to make up a lot of creative stories myself. Good luck!

  • Ilyce

    Loved it! Thanks for the honesty!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thank you. Was nervous on this one because of title but I’m trying to be honest and my oldest knows I love her.

  • http://twitter.com/annmariastat annmariastat

    I had three kids in four years, a fourth 15 years after the first one and never gave a thought to having an abortion. I haven’t made $100 million but I felt a bit sorry for you reading this that you seemed to have missed out on the flat out joy children can bring. Friday, I played hooky from work and went biking along the beach with my youngest, up through Malibu and just rambled on about nothing important – she hates coconut, how fun our trip to Hawaii was, etc. I’ve traveled all over with my kids (and fished them out of the water) and that’s fun, too.

    I have to agree with you on the mornings, though. I just hate mornings. My husband takes her to school, comes home and brings me coffee. In return, I’m on the hook for all after-school activities.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      annemaria, I agree with you. I sort of missed (not completely but sort of) those first few years. Now I’m trying to make up for it.

      • Jen

         You know, we’re not all “baby” people.  Some of us just relate better to older kids than babies and toddlers.  And others really love the baby stage in our kids.  Still others are able to appreciate all the stages equally.  All of those things are fine, just different approaches.  Personally I am not one for  babies.  I have a 5-year old son and I like being able to do things with him now that we weren’t able to do before, and I really look forward to when he’s older.  It sounds like you might be kind of the same way.  I also agree with you about not taking them on vacation (at least not very often).  They don’t appreciate it and you spend the whole time worrying that they will drown or get lost in the airport or whatever.  And no one sleeps.

  • Kathrynjohnston

    I’m amused at the people who are all outraged that you wanted your wife to have an abortion. Lots of women have abortions, including me. I don’t feel at all guilty, and these self-righteous types can kiss my ass if they don’t like it. But, it was never your choice, because you weren’t pregnant, she was. It was her choice, and she made the one that was right for her. If you don’t want to be a father again (and this goes for any man) wear a condom or get a vasectomy or preferably do both.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I agree with you. And just to state for the record, I am very happy to be a father of 2 beautiful children right now. My first kid turns 12 today.

    • decalog

      At least you have an ass we can kiss….. after you killed your child

      • Cyclist Who Gets in Your Face

        Given that we can now clone a “child” from the cells in your cheek, by your vapid thinking you killed a few children this morning when you brushed your teeth, genius.

        • Commentador

          / Situational Sadist.
           |
           |

    • Art

      These the same people that are always pushing small government and cutting Head Start programs. For some reason having the government controlling a woman’s uterus is ok with them.

    • o, ba, ma

      you have no problem with an abortion and seem to have no problem being a feminist liberal too. haha, i dont care if you do or dont kill a baby but save the “wear a condom” “it isnt your choice”. you dont look very smart kat.

      • Cyclist Who Gets in Your Face

        Speaking of children, can we get a kindergartner to translate this shithead’s prose for us?

        • Commentador

          Translation:
          You ma’am, hold to a viewpoint on practical practices that I associate with a particular political leaning that I am predisposed to having a prejudice against. If I may be quite frank, it would be wise to withhold comments concerning whether some persons ought to or not wear a welly during acts of rodgering and whether or not a chap ought have input when the synthesized sterility of the previously mentioned rodgering is ballsed-up. I hold to the humble view that some of my advice may allow one to divest themselves of having a gormless appearance.

    • Kimbalyah513

      I agree with you 100%. It really comes down to the woman’s choice and what she wants to do. Have the kid or terminate the pregnancy. Most men bail at raising kids because they all want to party and run around with their friends, instead of staying a home and taking care of a baby. Some women have a hell of a time getting child support from a deadbeat dad. Everyone has their opinions on abortions, me personally I feel that it is the woman’s body, it is her life, then it is her choice. Some single mom’s can’t afford their kids and their father does nothing to help out.

      • Commentador

        One needs to be careful though where one draws the line on how long into development a pregnancy can be terminated, there actually exist sick people who derive sexual satisfaction from inducing and terminating pregnancies regularly.

         “The very fact that we argue about wether a particular reason is a good one means that we believe that a good reason deserves universal sanction. If a reason is valid, it is universally valid.”

    • Kimbalyah513

      I agree with you 100%. It really comes down to the woman’s choice and what she wants to do. Have the kid or terminate the pregnancy. Most men bail at raising kids because they all want to party and run around with their friends, instead of staying a home and taking care of a baby. Some women have a hell of a time getting child support from a deadbeat dad. Everyone has their opinions on abortions, me personally I feel that it is the woman’s body, it is her life, then it is her choice. Some single mom’s can’t afford their kids and their father does nothing to help out.

    • Moonboots

      “if you don’t want to be a father again” – if you’re talking about a woman having aborted a baby from him, then he wasn’t really a father in the first place. The woman seems to have made that choice for them both…

      If you don’t ever want to be a mother, then get on the pill, tie your tubes, be celibate, or make sure you refuse to have sex with any man who doesn’t use a condom. Preferably all of the above. To know you don’t want the gift of motherhood and to then CHOOSING  to engage in reproductive activities, only to kill off this newly created life as an inconvenience is irresponsible and foolish at best, monstrously unethical at worst.

      • Commentador

        It does not stop at mere recklessness or irresponsible, some female creatures whose appearance would confuse one into thinking they are of the human race regularly engage in what is known as an abortion fetish, where one purposely induces and aborts a pregnancy for the psychological and visceral thrill of growing close to a life through hormones a pregnancy introduces and then removing and killing that life as though one felt they were committing a premeditated murder. If for a second someone reading this thought somewhere in the practical side of their mind, “at least this kind of woman isn’t off murdering someone somewhere,” they could be forgiven by the human race because we are all likewise scared of such a psychopath for whom, by definition as being a psychopath, emotions and abortion are a means of sexual gratification. This kind of person is not recognized by the government as having any sort of directly diagnosable mental incapacity or disease, for now they are left to their fetish as the topic is too sensitive.

        (it would behoove someone to point out that a small minority has once again ruined something for those who do not abuse a morally questionable substance, device, or operation)

    • Clarniluan

      Ditto agree. But clearly he went on to enjoy being a parent once he got over himself, as many people do. Someone mentioned unplanned pregnancies – probably there are more unplanned pregnancies in history than planned ones, some have ended in abortion (from time immemorial) and others have gone on to produce babies, some of whom – probably most – are loved, in some cases by adoptive parents. But before that, when they first discovered the pregnancy, probably most of those parents – fathers and mothers both – went “Aaaaggg shit!”

  • Expectus

    Well, it depends. They are quite ugly and carry your genes, so in your case, no, abortion was not a bad idea.

    • Frump

      Uncalled for. I don’t agree with many of James’s ideas either. That doesn’t give me the right to attack his innocent children.

    • Nan

      I think his daughters are beautiful – they remind me of my girls when they were little.

  • decalog

    It’s bad.. but not as bad as going though with it

  • Tony

    WTF. Why do people write blogs like this?

  • Sh’mu’el Cohen

    I had my wife abort our first kid. I don’t feel bad. We weren’t prepared then. She wasn’t the same after, until the birth of our lovely daughter.

    • Muzjik

      She’ll never be the same.  Every milestone your daughter reaches, you wife will think of the child who she aborted.  Your wife may be hiding it well, she may tell you she’s okay, but deep inside she knows she ended the life of the brother or sister of your daughter and she will never be the same as she was before.  

      • Nan

        Yes, it likely still bothers her.  We all do regrettable things  – i’t’s part of being human.  No one can change the past, but we can all improve TODAY by forgiving ourselves and others. Muzjik suggests that your wife should be consumed by thoughts of a child she aborted.  That is a very bad idea. Better to apologize to God, and move on.  God knows we all do things that we later wish we hadn’t done.  Ask God to forgive you, and he will (even if you don’t believe in God). God forgives and loves us all (whether we had an abortion or not).

      • Cyclist Who Gets in Your Face

        Horseshit. Do you mourn every time you ejaculate for the untold lives you’ve just crushed?
         
        Come to think of it, maybe you do, idiot.

        • Commentador

          What a pile of festering bog roll. Do you mourn the untold unused sperm that fail to be _the_only_one_to_fertilize_the_one_egg_! Or possibly a lucky second if it’s to be fraternal twins.
          No, you’re happy that the excrement of your rodgering is able to possibly create a healthy human life that might resemble yourself.

          You are the sum of your scars. 
          Cyclist, how hard did you fall off your cycle?

      • Sari

        Absolutely not true.  There are many women who view abortion as the best decision they made.  Way to be completely judgmental.  All these homophobes and pro-lifers say they believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, yet are the most condescending and judgmental people around.  “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

        • Commentador

          Absolutely misinformed. There are many women who have never seen the byproducts of their abortion and so remain innocent to the vulgarities of their decision. Way to be completely judgmental. All these hippies and pro-choicers say they believe in a woman’s choice, yet are the most condescending and judgmental people around. “Let he who is without ignorance pos the first comment.”

          At the very least those responsible for a decision, if not forced to view the byproducts of an abortion, ought to understand what the processes of an abortion do to a developing body.

          Unfortunately in this world there are some depraved and mentally malformed people who have an abortion fetish. While so extremely rare, they have nonetheless found a legal manner in which they can exercise a sort of premeditated murder regularly on a developing life form on the grounds that this creature’s life is subject to the jurisdiction of “their choice” having taken up residence in their womb. Make no mistake, I am not somehow reverse-euphemising a ‘normal’ abortion as if it were a fetish. I am actually speaking of those derive carnal gratification from the practice.

           “The very fact that we argue about wether a particular reason is a good one means that we believe that a goo reason deserves universal sanction. If a reason is valid, it is universally valid.”

          Sanction – authoritative permission or approval, as for an action; a provision of a law enacting a penalty for disobedience or a reward for obedience.

  • Dawn Swann

    Huh. I don’t know why all the anger in response to this post. I guess a few nerves were hit… Or a few people reading the words without comprehending the message. The post reminds me of the guilty mixed emotions I had before i became a parent. And THE OBVIOUS HUMOR in the list cracked me up. A few days ago I read an article about how parents delude themselves into thinking that the best thing they ever did was have kids. I’m deluded. The best thing I ever did was have kids. It’s also the hardest, most frustrating, most anxiety producing, most heartbreaking most exhilerating…right? It’s everything. And to capture that while maintaining honesty, originality and the freaking story arc of a reluctant father making good is brilliant.

  • Dawn Swann

    Huh. I don’t know why all the anger in response to this post. I guess a few nerves were hit… Or a few people reading the words without comprehending the message. The post reminds me of the guilty mixed emotions I had before i became a parent. And THE OBVIOUS HUMOR in the list cracked me up. A few days ago I read an article about how parents delude themselves into thinking that the best thing they ever did was have kids. I’m deluded. The best thing I ever did was have kids. It’s also the hardest, most frustrating, most anxiety producing, most heartbreaking most exhilerating…right? It’s everything. And to capture that while maintaining honesty, originality and the freaking story arc of a reluctant father making good is brilliant.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Dawn, thanks. Great comment. And yes, this article seems to provoke a lot of emotions.

  • http://twitter.com/herstoryhere Tracey McCormick

    “There is absolutely NOTHING they learn in school before the age of 12 that they can’t learn later.:

    You seem smart and your writing is fun, but stay out of education. Kids learn to read when they’re 5 or 6, learn the rudiments of the circulatory system when they’re 10, and learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide–all before they’re 12. Step telling them what they’re learning is useless and figure out how to make what they’re learning useful.

    Sheesh.

    • autodidact

      Um, all of these can be learned without school.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Well, too late on one of them (she just turned 12). But I never got worried about them learning to read. They don’t learn it in school. they learn it by being interested in something enough to read about it. And they get that from parenting rather than school.

      But point taken: they do learn about the circulatory system. Although I might’ve missed that one in school. I bleed too easily.

      • Monica_417

        James, I agree with you on a lot of these issues, especially your attitude toward school. I hated school and took every opportunity to ditch it when I was young, and would have no problem with my kids missing school except after about 12 days of missed school, they start sicking the school police on you. My son had some issues this year and has missed over 30 days this year, he is brilliant though and bored in school and doesn’t learn a whole lot when he is there. He’s 11 and in 6th grade, by the way. I did homeschool him for about 2 years, between grades 2 and 5 and was very lackadaisical about formally instructing him, and he basically taught himself or we learned through every day life. He was still way ahead of other kids his age academically. He hardly did any work while he was out of school for 2 1/2 months this school year, and he had no trouble jumping right back in…what were they doing that he didn’t get left behind?? Crazy!

        I do have to agree with some other people on here though, that luckily there was another adult in the equation that was there and willing to take responsibility. And I am reasonably certain you recognize that you were fortunate to be able to check out a little during your then-wife’s pregnancy and your daughter’s early years and that not everyone is in a position to be able to do that, so I don’t think you need to be blasted about it.

        I appreciate your perspective on life and the humor you bring to it. Thanks!

        • Commentador

          I would caution you to somehow teach your child about homework, or at least how to find answers on Google and Cramster etc.
          I too had a very similar background as a child, missing a month as a 6th grader and coming back still ahead of the class.
          However, at this point in time (sophomore in college) I find myself behind in the organizational and scheduling skills needed to finish homework when I have no motivation by way of curiosity or otherwise to engage in the practice. One needs to remember the importance of getting a kid to work consistently on something that _they_will_not_enjoy_. Work over the summer, make him an apprentice to something, do homework, read tough books and get him to write papers about them for you (what my parents did here and there). Any of these are the least a preteen needs to get accustomed to while they still have time outside of school and while their brains are still malleable and able to make the mental associations they finishing hard/grueling work has to meeting and fulfilling responsibilities they owe.

          Honestly chores aren’t enough especially for this (my and future ones’) generation, information comes too easily by way of google, and public schools are no longer tough. Competition from other students, at public or private institutions, is forecasted as nonexistent with smatterings of genius’-driven-to-greatness-that-will-drive-those-with-not-enough-drive-into-the-ground.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pam-Ward/1580583217 Pam Ward

    It’s a balancing act between giving kids the freedom to grow at their own pace, and in their own ways, and providing firm guidance. In certain ways, kids need help and support of the parent’s inner drill sargeant. At other times, kids need to be reassured that if they try and fail, they will still be loved. It gives them the courage to heal and get back into the fray. As my children approach adulthood, I see them “showing” me the ways I goofed up, but in a wonderful way. They seem to have extraordinary talents that they developed by witnessing me make my parenting mistakes. So their talents seem to grow out of my weaknesses. Weaknesses I didn’t even realize I had. Weaknesses I didn’t choose. Weaknesses that popped up even though I was giving every ounce of every bit of my best energy to them. I never thought I would be empowering my kids by failing them. But those things gave them the firm desire to not repeat my mistakes.

  • livin it an lovin it

    So why “every other weekend”? Oh yeah, you were too busy loving yourself that you forgot to love HER – which by the way was the BEST thing you could have done for your kids. Too bad. Grandbabies are even funner. Your story ain’t over yet though… You should go back and finish writing it.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      One day at a time.

    • http://www.facebook.com/shelbydhall Shelby Dyan Hall

      you have no right to criticize a marriage or custody arrangement. He obviously loves his kids.

  • stargirl

    wow. another whiny guy who thinks the universe revolves around him…yawn.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Actually, I’m pretty convinced it revolves around you.

      • Eric Lane

        With all these blog entries, and all these comments, you’ll probably never see this but I laughed out loud at your retort! Ha!! Touche’.

    • http://twitter.com/_lawri lawri!

      said “stargirl”

  • Guest

    Enjoy this time when they are young and it is easy.

  • Twila

    K (big audible sigh) – I LOVE reading your blogs. Really – LOVE. You always look at things from a unique and very honest perspective. That said… “I wanted to have my oldest daughter (burned alive in salt…)?”

    You may not want to be declaring this, but I’m afraid the science here is what it is.

    Just because something is socially acceptable doesn’t make you ignorant of the actual moral reality. If someone wrote, “I wanted to kill some Jews, they were making life inconvenient and were taking all the jobs,” this would have been perfectly acceptable in Europe just a few decades ago.

    Just because a society currently accepts a certain behavior doesn’t excuse you from using your own logic and good judgment to recognize that the behavior is immoral. I want you to know that your candor is always appreciated, even in this rather harsh blog – but to so flippantly declare that you were all for killing her? Maybe your post could be about how wonderful it has been having her? I’m sure it doesn’t have the shock value, but aren’t some things more important than getting hits on your blog? – and to this I have to add, I can’t stand to be away from my kids for more than an hour or two. I’m not sure it is healthy to be so ok going without them for two weeks at a time. I think that if you really love them, this should be pretty heartbreaking. (It likely is for them).

    Hope you can forgive my candor here, and I know you were likely trying to be humorous and honest about your flaws and ineptitudes as a father. You did have some -as always – good advice and funny observations. However, this is one blog I hope you will do some soul searching on. You clearly are a spiritual man (in a vague hippie new agey energy-light sort of way), and the treasure of life can’t have been lost on you. Nor the urgent need to burry your love as deeply and securely into the hearts of your little ones as possible.

    • Cyclist Who Gets in Your Face

      Nothing you bleat has anything to do with “science”. By your silly definition scraping the inside of your cheek of cells when you brush your teeth is the Holocaust.

      Please, preach stupid somewhere else.

      • Zacwalden

        Stop saying that please, cheek cells inserted into a uterus cannot produce a baby.

        • Alis Gray

          Not yet.  Bet they will be able to soon, with enough money.  It still astonishes me that so many people who are so sure that ending a pregnancy at early stages is murder are (A) all against teaching about birth control and creating access to it, (B) incredibly judgmental about people (especially women) who turn out to be bad or reluctant parents.  If you want people to be in solemn awe of human life, why not start with the ones who are already here.  How hard is that.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U2G6L6LFHAZOSWWTIDOX2DCOP4 Russell Taylor

        She makes a valid point Cyclist and just because she says something that you disagree with doesnt mean you have to command her to “preach stupid” somewhere else. Your insecurities to rebuke would have been much better masked by just calmly disagreeing with her like most all secure people do. Nice post James and nice post Twila I appreciated both of them. Bad post Cyclist, I did not appreciate you but Im sure handling conflict is something you can work on.

  • Fred

    Hang in there James….. it only gets worse…. I mean better…. no worse, definitly worse. Cat’s in the cradel with the silver spoon little boy…. something about a man on the moon. All water under the bridge… can’t undo the past…. it is what it is. Oh, and remember, they go off their friken rocker between 13 and 19…. then it gets better…. no worse, no, definitly better…… maybe! : )

  • Arcreated

    brilliant

  • Arcreated

    brilliant

  • Jayvee7777

    That last image is so sad, it made me want to cry.

    • Jayvee7777

      By “image”, I meant the image in my mind reading that last paragraph, not the picture…

  • Exlibris4

    You sound like a thoughtful father, actually. My ex-husband was disappointed when I was pregnant and not up for doing everything we’d done before, and he was fully miserable from the moment our first child was born. He spent as much time away as he could. Infants aren’t “fun,” and some people aren’t gratified by being part of a family, for various reasons. He left, came back, we had a second and he was an involved and loving dad. But the dynamics of the marriage were permanently changed by having become a family. He stuck it out another ten years, but wasn’t very happy being paired with an aging mom rather than an independent girlfriend, and finally left for good. He remains a devoted father. I consider my children lucky to have him.

    • Conrag

      I aspire to be like this guy. Unfortunately if this behavior is replicated, future generations of women will be screwed. Oh well, I guess that’s why there’s welfare. Lets see how many decades this country can handle it until the international citizens bail.

  • ChuckZ

    I’m almost positive there have been other people before Altucher to consider abortion. Or maybe even had one. What’s with all the angry responses?

    I believe it’s OK to acknowledge thoughts you’ve had, even if they may contravene some current law or government statute, somewhere….

    Turns out oral sex is actually illegal in Washington DC (some kind of sodomy thing). But thinking about it didn’t make me want to turn myself in to the cops.

    OK to acknowledge your thoughts, and courageous to share them.

    And sharing is beneficial. Think about what it must have been like to be a homosexual in some small unenlightened town somewhere, before the internet, or even before popular literature…you probably thought you were crazy, or some kind of monster. Thanks to freedom of expression, gays no longer have to feel like they’re some kind of peculiar freak. Just an example.

    • DorothyP

      Not everything that pops into your head needs to be publicly expressed. This isn’t “sharing”, it’s showing off.

      • NealDeesit

        “Not everything that pops into your head needs to be publicly expressed.”

        In logic, this is an example of a self-verifying proposition.

  • http://profiles.google.com/gabsi77 Gabrielle Miller

    I really liked this article. I think it was honest and it shows that you’ve come around. I also liked the advice you gave, it doesn’t coddle them or lure them into a false sense of security. Your advice teaches them how to think and it also teaches them that whatever their choices there are consequences (both good and bad) and that they have to learn to live with them. I think another good piece of advice would be to show them rather than tell them things. When I was about seven I went through a phase where I wanted to run away from home and one night (while in my nightgown) my father took me for a walk about the city and showed me the homeless people sleeping on the street, thus showing me the likely consequences of my actions had I chosen to run away.

  • Walou

    How stupid can Americans be. Still talking about ass matters and abortions. I guess the immigration process to America somehow selected the most stupid desperate Europeans and brought them here. Oh shit we’re branching out to Darwinism now. Oh boy, an other issue americans are still sunk in.

  • Walou

    How stupid can Americans be. Still talking about ass matters and abortions. I guess the immigration process to America somehow selected the most stupid desperate Europeans and brought them here. Oh shit we’re branching out to Darwinism now. Oh boy, an other issue americans are still sunk in.

  • Anonymous

    Monopoly is a pretty bad game design. Try Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, etc. There are a lot better board games out there than Monopoly.

  • Parenthood is a Choice

    Most people don’t think before they jump off the cliff of parenthood. I have noticed lately how all the women with small children in my neighborhood are overweight/obese, frumpy looking and speak/nag in the most shrill and horrible tones. Then you look at the men at these households, they are all out of shape with huge guts and look tired.

    The world doesn’t need anymore children, especially ones born to those who didn’t think about what having kids is really about. SO DAMN GLAD I thought about it. For the record I am female, have been married 14 years, have 0 children, have never been pregnant.

    Condoms, helping people avoid abortion, pregnancy for the last 400 years.

    • Jay

      That’s funny, I have a young baby (who was conceived while my partner was wearing a condom, shocking!) and I’m thinner than I was before I was pregnant.

      Don’t generalize. It makes you sound like the braying ass you truly are.

      • lyderbug

        Thank you! You took the words out of my mouth!

      • Ahatfullofsky

        Funnier than that is the fact that she called them on their bad parenting, and yet you only took offense on being fat.

    • Kimbalyah513

      I agree with you. Some people don’t think about kids and the responsibility before they have them. Then some people are genuinely miserable being parents. I am also female and have never been pregnant and have no intentions of have any children. I don’t want the responsibility and I don’t have the time and patience to deal with raising a kid. Parenting is not for everyone. I think that the world would be a better place if all the pregnancies were intentional. We know that at least half of the pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, and at least half of those prengancies are aborted. Maybe we should focus more on birth control and affordable birth control for everyone because prevention is better than cure.

      • http://isomorphismes.tumblr.com isomorphisms

        Many people who are reluctant to become parents change their minds once they meet the kids. See above.

        • schlaflosig

          And if they actually don’t – well, that’s too bad, right?

          • http://isomorphismes.tumblr.com isomorphisms

            I don’t know how to respond to that. A lot of nasty things happen in the world. I wouldn’t shrug about it…

          • Nia

            They realize it too late to give their children a good start in life

    • Kimbalyah513

      I agree with you. Some people don’t think about kids and the responsibility before they have them. Then some people are genuinely miserable being parents. I am also female and have never been pregnant and have no intentions of have any children. I don’t want the responsibility and I don’t have the time and patience to deal with raising a kid. Parenting is not for everyone. I think that the world would be a better place if all the pregnancies were intentional. We know that at least half of the pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, and at least half of those prengancies are aborted. Maybe we should focus more on birth control and affordable birth control for everyone because prevention is better than cure.

    • Yourmail

      I like this comment. That means your genes are remove from the gene pool.

      Good.

  • Faelerin

    I feel like I just got enumerated for me a list of painful or foolish things some parents believe when they don’t really care about their children’s futures along with a handful of genuinely truthful and touching things that really should be common sense. Way to go, lamedad.

  • Dharber906

    James,

    Seriously?

    You are shamming, here, because your daughters are lovely and your relationship with them seems intact.

    Still fun, but I sometimes worry about you.

    D

  • Dunkmaster

    First…I am a dad and second husband (no kids with the first).  I am not perfect nor am I some whiny feminist or self righteous fundamentalist.  I am just (compared to you) a normal dude.
     
    You should be ashamed of what you felt and did but don’t appear to be.  It is not as if you are presenting this as a confession but more like a statement of fact (of course it is fact…but there should be some genuine shame associated with it) as if it was a perfectly reasonable emotion for a well-adjusted person.  It’s not.
     
    – on parenting – Children will (only in very exceptional cases) attain a higher moral character than you expect of them and present to them as an example.  The idea of stealing from my parents makes me sick.  Stealing from your parents makes you laugh … and what is worse you think it should make your children laugh.  Good luck with the outcomes on that.
     
    Etc…

    • Patrick

      Then hopefully your kids will be just a little bit less condescending and self-righteous as yourself.

    • Cyclist Who Gets in Your Face

      No, you actually don’t sound like a normal dude. You sound like a self-absorbed moron without any parenting skills whatsoever.

      • Commentador

        No, you actually don’t sound like a condescending bleeder. You sound like a nihilistic arm chair tosser without any cycling skills whatsoever.

  • SicSemperTyrannis

    A great father would keep his kids out of school entirely.

  • Dave

    Awesome. Thank you for this.

  • Catarina

    I don’t think that you are bad because you considered having your first kid aborted. When faced with an unplanned pregnancy, I wager that many -if not most- women and men consider that option. But have you considered how painful it will be for your kids knowing this, now that you have posted it on a public forum? Imagine if your father had published an article a syndicated newspaper when you were born, announcing to the world that he had wanted you aborted…

  • Exhippiex

    I’m all for ‘E’! I finally put my 15 year old in school for the first time. He’s doing great, he finds the whole thing exciting. It blows his mind how all the kids are bored.

  • KLo

    Actually not all children end up walking, potty trained, or able to read.  You’re very lucky to have healthy children, even though you weren’t the best parent at first.  Imagine if you had disabled children?  My son will never be independant, and most likely I will be parenting my toddler-minded child for the rest of my life.  I’m lucky to be married to an incredible man who has always put his family first.  So many of my female friends, however, have had their husbands leave because life with a disabled child meant the husbands had to put their needs second.  It seems we have a case of arrested development in our society today, so many people want to fulfill their immediate needs and are not able to cope with the demands of parenting.  Too sad. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/Robertbobby91 Robert Gorman

    It’s inherently bad to want to end a life. It’s inherently good to take up a challenge. Never forget that humanity remains the only species that can make their offspring more than themselves outside of normal evolution. That remains the fact to why human life is so important. You may be told “overpopulation! Too much responsibility!” and many other things, but all you have to do is be a good parent, and your kid might just end up curing all those things. Problem is, too many don’t know how to be good parents.

    • schlaflosig

      “all you have to do is be a good parent” You make it sound as an easy thing.

      • Commentador

        ” ‘all you have to do is be a good parent’ You make it sound as an easy thing. ”
        You make it sound like a bad thing.

  • mare

    hope your kids never have to read this……………..cause it doesn’t sound like you really want them in your life. (Maybe thats just your style?) It just sounds like you’ve accepted your fate. Instead of loving your kids and being happy that they are here. If my dad wrote this i’d be upset. I mean, you barely see your kids, yet you think you have the right to bitch about them and put it online? Like what if there friends see this? That just seems cruel. But hell my parents actually seem to give a damn about me. So maybe I just wish your kids have the same.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Based on your last 2 sentences I think your comment might be more a projection than a reflection of what you think of my post. I love my kids and they know it.

  • Angela

    I’m glad someone in your household (your wife I’m assuming) was willing to do actual parenting while you were off having coffee or playing games or just hiding from your family.  It seems weird that people will suck it up and do things for work that they don’t want to do because it is part of their job, but then won’t do the same to be a decent parent.

  • Toinu

    Clearly you are an idiot.

  • Spraydissinfect

    your such a faggot I hopeyou die, and stop sucking steve jobs cock so hard

  • RealParent

    Boy do I understand why you are divorced!  It’s all about you – the hard work of parenting is just not your thing. Skip the morning routine (too chaotic?), forget bedtimes (you need your sleep!), don’t make them do things they don’t like (school is dumb after all..and how old are you?).  As a happily married Mom to three my husband works all day, travels a lot, and still manages to be great, involved, helpful funny Dad  the kids adore him.  We have two in college now and I can tell you that your kids teenage years will be back to bite you big time – or maybe not as that is the really hard part which I suppose you will just opt out of.  Give up your games and toys and invest a little more in really being a parent. And don’y tell the world you wanted to abort your daughter – hard enough getting through life feeling attractive and wanted for a girl in today’s world – your daughter just does not need to wear that ‘bon mot’ (and she will trust me) just so you can have a catchy sound bite for an article.  Stick to the Steve Jobs reporting and leave the parenting to parents not wanna be’s.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thanks for the lecture. 

  • Bystander

    We are all human, we make mistakes, we learn from them and we do the best we can. No one is perfect and we all fail ourselves and others at times. That’s how life is.  I think the key is to recognize our shortcomings, admit them and try to move forward in whatever way we can.  It’s so easy to judge others from an anonymous place (as in these comments that people write) but for those of you with such negative comments, i challenge you to take a long hard look at yourselves and ask yourselves if you have ever made mistakes in your life and if you have ever had enough insight to recognize them and change them?  
    For those of you who are so negative and spiteful, what kind of example are you setting for your own children?

  • Kimbalyah513

    I wonder if he ever told his first kid that he wanted her aborted. I am sure that would serve well for her self esteem. Eventually she will read he article and know the truth. The author really sounds like a bad dad and taking care of the kids is something he is forced to do rather than something that he wants to do. Some people are never meant to be parents and should not be parents. His ex-wife should have put two and two together when he was never around when she was pregnant. I hope that they would haved talked about having kids and find out if it was something that they both wanted rather than something that only she wanted and also sticking him the with responsibility. At least now he is stepping up for the most part and seeing his kids and taking care of them on a regular basis. I think that people initially don’t realize that having a kid means taking care of them for at least the first 18 years of their life, and you will always worry about them and the choice that they make for the rest of your life. More power to people who can make that committment. I am the kind of person that won’t make that committment because my life is about me and want I want to do therefore I have no desire to have any children, but I commend people who are willing to make sacrifices and make time for their children and honestly want to be good parents.

  • Kimbalyah513

    I wonder if he ever told his first kid that he wanted her aborted. I am sure that would serve well for her self esteem. Eventually she will read he article and know the truth. The author really sounds like a bad dad and taking care of the kids is something he is forced to do rather than something that he wants to do. Some people are never meant to be parents and should not be parents. His ex-wife should have put two and two together when he was never around when she was pregnant. I hope that they would haved talked about having kids and find out if it was something that they both wanted rather than something that only she wanted and also sticking him the with responsibility. At least now he is stepping up for the most part and seeing his kids and taking care of them on a regular basis. I think that people initially don’t realize that having a kid means taking care of them for at least the first 18 years of their life, and you will always worry about them and the choice that they make for the rest of your life. More power to people who can make that committment. I am the kind of person that won’t make that committment because my life is about me and want I want to do therefore I have no desire to have any children, but I commend people who are willing to make sacrifices and make time for their children and honestly want to be good parents.

  • DorothyP

    Not travel? That’s crazy. My kids went lots of great places–Cuba, Paris, London, Rome–before they were out of middle school and more than anything else in their lives–these are the experiences that they remember most fondly and well.  But, then, my kids are in their 20s, and James here has many more years to mess up. I hope his daughter never reads this,

  • Novus

    I think it’s a normal response in most “I’m not ready” situations. Abortion crosses the mind of a lot of people in that situation – whether they choose to admit it or not.

    In the end, it is the path not taken, and there is no point worrying about it. You have a daughter you love very much due to the path you did choose to take.

  • Boo

    Too bad your father didn’t have the same idea

  • Evyw64

    At first, I thought I’d absolutely hate this post because of the title but what he says makes a LOT of sense. Sure some people are going to say his advice sucks or he’s trying to take the easy way out by being permissive (not setting a bedtime, not enforcing homework, etc.) but you know what? I was the same way. I was probably more lenient than I could have been but, now that they’re adults, it doesn’t matter. They are all happy, well adjusted, loving, intelligent human beings that care about others and this planet.

    Let me set the record straight, I absolutely ADORE my three adult children, but when I learned I was pregnant I initially considered an abortion. Maybe not as seriously as this author, but it did cross my mind. But now, I absolutely cannot imagine my life without my children. My life revolved around them (and in some ways it still does). I have been told, “I’ve never seen anyone more in love with their children than you.” Now how’s that for a compliment?! 

    My oldest just graduated with her Master of Fine Arts and the other two are in college. They turned out just fine, even better than fine, and they didn’t have a set bedtime until they started school. We took them everywhere we went, because we simply adored spending time with them. We traveled with them (many times across the country), laughed with them, played with them, disciplined them, but always loved them. And you know what? My oldest daughter said that she can’t imagine better parents than we are! We didn’t worry what others thought of us and how we were raising our children. We did what we thought was right. And it worked! So, if you think that you have to do everything “by the book” to raise your children to be caring, loving, honorable citizens, you’re wrong. And I wholeheartedly agree with L. above, tell them you love them ALL the time, when they’re being good and when they’re being bad. Love unconditionally. And always set a good example. 

  • Tt

    I found the parenting advice in your article funny and entertaining to read. Obviously, you’re having fun being a father. As a parent of 2, I have my own versions of each advice you’ve given and, ultimately, we make up our own rules to follow.

  • Anonymous

    I have just recently started reading Mr. Altucher’s blogs, so I guess I am a short time listener, first time caller.

    First off I am a father of three boys under the age of four, and compared to the other people out there, I could be perceived to be a bad father. But, Ie do what I can with what I have, knowing full well I am probably doing it wrong. Sometimes people will stop me and say “wow, what a good kid you have”, while other days they shake their heads in disgrace.I can tell you that the good days are not days I was ‘parenting’ differently than the bad and people that do not get to see my kids often enough to know that they have both days, have no reason to comment.

    Back to the topic… Most of us have looked for the ‘undo’ button at different times in our lives (mine was this time as well) and I for one was glad it was not there. I am happy that life is not like that, because sometimes getting what we ask for is not always what is good for us.
    If you read this post and were horrified that someone could feel that way, you are not alone; others have felt the same way you did. I however, am not sure if I should be happy for you that you have never had to feel these feelings, or sad that you may never truly appreciate how happy you are now given that you have never been that unhappy before.

    As I type this I think of some of the other things Mr. Altucher has written and I am going to choose to be happy for you as I know what it feels like to take the path most traveled.

  • So Much For Subtlety

    I am fairly appalled by this.  But I am not sure that is the issue.  The real issue is why would anyone think this is a sensible thing to post?  I mean, the girl is now 12 years old.  Which means in a matter of months she is going to find out her Father, whom I assume she loves, wanted her dead.  Her classmates are going to find out.  They are going to let her know that they know.  Did none of this occur to the OP?  Anyone like to guess what impact that is going to have on a girl?  And remember, thanks to Google, this is *forever*.  Anyone, from future boy friends to potential employers, with the slightest desire to search are going to know.

    • guest

      I agree she will read this all one day.  Yes, great that you post freely.  I am all for it, but the one boundary is that you should not post anything that could hurt a child.   She will absolutely read this one day-that is the world she lives in and is growing up in now.  I love your blogs and I am not judging because I respect your candidness.  That being said, it is very clear you did not think about her and sit with it before you posted this.  What if one of her classmates finds this article first?  You are smart enough to know exactly what her teen years are going to be like once her classmates discover this.  I am very concerned for your daughter.  Also, I am concerned for you that you could not sit and feel why this could hurt her.  It does say a lot.  

  • http://blog.mummybrain.com Ms Kate

    Sounds like your ex-wife is doing an awesome job on raising your kids. Good on her!

  • http://www.ryan03rr.info Ryan03rr

    Thanks for being brutally honest :) people needs to stfu and realize things like this happen alot more than anyone wants to admit:(  atleast you came around and took care of the responsibility you created! That’s better than some!
    -RT 
    p.s. you should really enforce a proper diet to them… best thing for little ones !

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=732244537 Priscilla Paredes Wood

    This brought tears to my eyes, as a parent and now a single mom I can relate to this completely. What’s most is not the fact that you describe yourself as a horrible father/husband but the fact that you have gained so much insight from your mistakes and are honest about it. No one is perfect, however fearlessly putting oneself out there is something I can learn to do.

  • Diana Bridgforth

    One point: Traveling with kids IS messy and IS difficult, but most of my favorite memories happened outside of my hometown. And yes, at one point, I got dropped in the ocean and breathed in a bunch of salt water. But they yanked me out in time, and it made a funny story (“Remember that time you dropped me in the ocean, you big jerk?”). 

    Your kids need to see how mind-crushingly beautiful some part of every state in the union is, even the states that you assume will be so boring you will die. And your kids need to spend at least a day or two on another continent, walking around among people who speak only one language (and that language isn’t English) so they can truly understand what perspective means. And when I use the word “need,” I mean it is essential to the development of their humanity.

    The only vacation I didn’t like was the first one, to Disney World. Everything that was supposed to “come to life” was only made of plastic and concrete and garish paint. But we had to cross an enormous bridge over the lower Mississippi River to get there, and that is one of the most indelibly exquisite memories of my life.

  • Bolutife Ogunsola

    Lovely list apart from your take on homework. It consolidates knowledge, that is its usefulness.

  • Kristieeanderson

    HAhahaha I Love the honesty. I adore my daughters but no one in their right mind would knowingly enter in to parenthood if they knew how much work was involved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1054091433 Matthew Hill

    OMG people. Choose to read his comments or not. He’s honest, down to earth and getting by. Too much venom. Anonymity has turned many into snarky, judgemental twits.

  • guest

    I liked J.  That was a pretty good point.

    I can see why you aren’t married anymore though.  

  • Enzian

    Reproduction is slavery.
    “Planned parenthood” is a criminal act.
    Emotional involvement is torture.
    Avoid sexual contact, without exception.

    It works for me.

  • Popo Sheesho!

    Pretty sure James isn’t your father. Maybe you should call him and address whatever issue is really bothering you. Or you could call people names on the internet for having the audacity to admit the less than sparkling thoughts and habits they live with. I’m not usually one to cluck at the pointless activities people choose on the internet, but c’mon! You’re mad at someone for admitting they have selfish impulses? You’re pathetic. What austere “reality” of yours is he threatening?

  • T. A. Dyer

    What deeply fulfills a woman is NOT what fulfills a man. If a wife is fulfilled, then why not a husband. Why sanction men to women’s desires? If this is an ex-wife, and she had a child that you didn’t wish to have, that speaks volumes for the dissolution of the relationship based on divergent needs. Nice to hear someone being honest. No judgement here. I’m glad for your eldest’s mother-daughter connection. May you foster and keep your own connections with your daughter over the days you both have left.

  • http://self-displacement.blogspot.com/ Kat O

    lol. you remind me of my dad who is an engineer. when he was with us, he would prepare me thing so i would learn to be independent when he’s gone. i became way too independent… lol.

  • Pete

    I was an accident. My mom was on birth control when I was conceived. And then my dad wouldn’t let her have an abortion. They got divorced (obviously). I really enjoyed your post. Very honest. I’m sure my parents post would be pretty similar haha. Might not be a bad thing you missed large parts of your kids lives. If you weren’t capable of being a good father than probably a good thing you weren’t there. Doesn’t mean you’re a bad father either.

  • Cierra Butler

    My dad may not have told me I was beautiful every day or encouraged stimulating games that promoted reality instead of luck, but at least he was there for me every day, not every other weekend. At least he took care of me when I was a baby and didn’t practically abandon my mother while she was pregnant/when I was an infant. As a young woman I pray never to meet a man like you- one that loves his kids for two days once every two weeks (sometimes for a few hours on weekdays!) and creates a post titled “I wanted to kill my first born” that brags about what a good father he is.
    While you get pegged as the fun dad, think about your ex, who’s probably thought of as Mommie Dearest because she makes her kids do homework and attend school on a regular basis, God forbid. What an ass. Thank goodness not every guy in America’s like you. The young women of my generation aka future mothers would be in trouble.

  • albert mark