Honey, I'm Pregnant

Joe Scharf

Joe Scharf

4 min read

Kids Playing - Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

Note: This article was initially published on Indie Hackers site and began its life as a comment to another poster about indie hacking with children.

For many of us in the Indie Hackers community, the urge to build can seem like our greatest calling in life. It can satisfy a thirst for learning, achievement, financial security, a measure of personal success and a legacy to establish.

Honey, I'm Pregnant

And then these life-changing words are spoken for the first time and a few years later the realities of young children hit home. You begin to question your choices. Indie hacking on one side, kids on the other. Something has to give, right? Isn't indie hacking my greatest calling?

As someone who has experienced this first hand - attempting to indie hack side projects with young children - and now has his first child about to head off to college in two months, I thought it might be helpful to share some of my observations.

Early Years are Hard

The early years (0-7ish) are hard and there are many times you question your reasons for having kids. You experience FOMO as you observe those without children who are creating startups, having interesting experiences, and doing all the things you wish you were doing.

The mind numbing tv shows, long hours entertaining, caring for, and watching after young children make the escape to indie hacking a ever present desire justified by the siren song of "If I just get this on feature completed, this one app launched, I'll have so much more time for that little child..."

It Gets Better

But it gets better, much better. And I know it's trite, but it does go by in a flash. Reflecting on my past, I was lucky to have been able to spend a good amount of time with my children. Most of this happened in the last seven years with COVID bringing us even closer together as a family.

In their earlier years, I could have done better but I was consumed with school, crazy startup life with nonstop travel, and grinding out side-project startup ideas for fun and hopefully profit.

Maintaining Perspective and Balance

You don't have to give up on indie hacking, but I would try to put it in perspective and not let it consume you. Create some balance, give yourself some time, and try to remove internal pressure and expectations. Realize that, especially when kids are young, they're going to monopolize a lot of time. Accept this and don't resent it.

From a financial perspective, indie hacking promises financial security and time freedom, but it takes a lot of effort to get there. If you're struggling to achieve this while busily involved with raising kids, find other ways to make ends meet.

Don't get caught up in buying crap and getting into debt. Find a way to get to a single earner family as soon as you can, if you aren't there already. You may need to be extra frugal as a single earner family, but let me tell you - having one parent earning and the other managing the household and kids (activities, education, college admissions process, etc...) is worth a million billion times more than expensive cars, trips, gadgets and other material nonsense (often requiring two incomes to maintain).

And Then They Grow Up

Finally, they do grow up, and when they do, you can't rewind the clock. You only have one shot at this. I consider myself lucky to be arriving at the end of this journey with a really good relationship with my two daughters who have turned out to be wonderful human beings.

I'm extremely proud and excited to see my oldest head off to college, but the realization that we won't be around each other on a daily basis going forward is emotionally intense, to say the least.

Good luck to all the parents and enjoy the journey,

Joe