The desire to propagate genes and produce descendants is one of the most basic desires there is. Our children are our legacy, most of us anyway. For those of us wealthy and/or famous enough to get a street/building/school/hospital wing/museum named after them, I guess children are less important with regards to leaving one’s mark on this world?
We slog through our jobs, keep some semblance of household together, make sure our children have every advantage we can think of and afford, and we gain a huge amount of satisfaction when we see positive results from our hours of toil. Seeing a child eat well, sleep well, speak well, learn quickly, and enjoy their life makes me feel enormously happy. The very idea of creating a home, family, and therefore legacy is such a strong one that most people never question it.
But we also bitch about this work as well. And make no mistake, you are making gene multiplication your life’s work if you have a child. You have decided that ensuring your genes carry on is more important than anything else you could do with your time. Sure, there are lots of successful people who have a child and also conduct ground-breaking research and do other amazing things; but those people are usually married and usually their partner does most of the child rearing. One example is Kevin O’Leary, who has published some books, in which he has said his wife was a single parent for most of their kids’ childhood. At least he is honest about it. Compare a Nobel Peace Prize winner’s mention of their kid’s 3rd grade holiday concert that they left work early to attend, or their kid’s love of cheese, with your own conversations and thoughts about your kid. There isn’t a comparison to make.
My point is, that if you have a child and you are involved in their life an average amount, you don’t have time to do anything but work to provide for yourself and your family (including your eventual retirement), plus physically take care of that family. And when those offspring are old enough and self-sufficient enough to live on their own without any help from you, you will be old. If your offspring aren’t ‘successful’ in the way you would define success, you will feel disappointed and cheated, unless you change your attitude regarding the worth of your own years or your idea of success.