I announced my wife’s pregnancy to my co-workers at a small party, but one of them made me think it might not have been the best idea. They later mocked me for choosing my family over them.
“John, what are we celebrating today?” my boss, Mr. Lewis, asked.
“Yeah, John, tell us!” other co-workers cheered.
“Well, I brought some snacks and beer to the office for a little celebration because I’m going to be a father. My wife is pregnant!” I said.
“Congratulations!” Mr. Lewis said. “You’re going to love being a father!”
Other co-workers approached steadily and congratulated me. “Tell your wife to call mine if she needs any tips,” Richie from I.T. suggested.
“Thank you, Richie. We might take you up on that offer,” I replied.
“Hey, man. Congrats, I guess,” Damon from Marketing said. He wasn’t my favorite person in the office, but he had never bothered me directly.
“I guess?” I wondered.
“Well, yeah. I mean… having kids is no walk in the park. It’ll change your whole world. You might not even have time to come with us to the bar anymore,” Damon continued.
“That’s fine. I’ll be helping out with my family,” I added.
“Nah, John. You’re going to be miserable sometimes. You need those bar outings, especially when you’re no longer attracted to your wife. Get what I’m saying?” he told me.
“Yeah, whatever,” I muttered, trying to keep my cool. I got his insinuation and couldn’t believe he would have the nerve to say something like that in the office.
“Trust me, dude. My brother has three kids, and it’s a nightmare. He loves it when I invite him over, and we spend all day playing video games,” Damon insisted. “He can’t do that at home. His kids are loud, and his wife became a huge nag too.”
Just then, our colleague Nick approached us and joined the conversation. “I have two kids at home, and yeah, I don’t have any time to myself. I actually love coming to work now. It’s peaceful,” Nick explained.
“See, John? That’s what I’m telling you. Be prepared,” Damon warned. Luckily, other people came up to me while Damon and Nick wandered off.
A month later, Ann gave birth to a beautiful boy. We named him Otto, and I couldn’t believe how much I loved my baby. My wife was even more gorgeous than ever, and I helped out, thanks to paternity leave.
When I returned to work, I realized that my colleagues thought this break was a holiday. No one knew that Ann was so far along in her pregnancy. But it was better to keep that a secret—no need to give Damon or Nick more chances to talk me down about family.
But they constantly invited me to the bar or asked about the pregnancy. “Did your wife ask you to run to the store at 3 a.m. for pickles and banana ice cream?” Nick asked. “Because mine did, and I was so upset when I returned because she changed her mind.”
Damon laughed, but I didn’t find it funny. I told him Ann had requested a few things during her worst pregnancy cravings, but I was happy to get them.
“That’s crazy, Nick. I wouldn’t have done it for anyone!” Damon exclaimed. “Anyway, John, we’re going to the bar this afternoon. You want to come?”
“No, thank you. I have to get home in case Ann needs something,” I answered.
“You know you’re allowed to have a life outside your house, right?” Damon said. “You need to take advantage while she’s still just pregnant.”
“Damon, I actually like going home. You can go to that bar and be miserably alone while I go home to my family and live happily ever after just like I always imagined,” I replied.
Both Damon and Nick frowned at me, but I left immediately, unwilling to hear more from them. I got home, kissed Ann, and she gave me Otto. “You know something, darling?” I asked my wife.
“What, honey?” she wondered with a smile.
“I will never understand men who get married and seem to hate their wives. They also have kids and hate being around them,” I started. “Being here with you and Otto is all I ever dreamed of.”
“I will never understand those men either. Their wives end up living miserably because their husbands don’t care anymore,” Ann added. “I’m glad I have you and Otto. Our family is perfect!”
“Perfect for us!” I exclaimed and kissed her while rocking Otto in my arms.
What can we learn from this story?
Value your family. Don’t be like Damon or Nick who talk horribly about their families.
If you don’t want that commitment, don’t get married or have kids. Otherwise, value them!
Don’t expect others to feel the same way you do. John’s colleagues tried to get him to feel like they did about family, but he didn’t. He was genuinely happy.