‘There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall’, wrote Cyril Connolly.
Luckily no one in advertising produces good art (not in the advertising part of their lives, anyway). But does the arrival of a child make a difference to your outlook on working to produce ads?
Well, of course it does, but in many different ways. Choose one or more of the following:
You feel less inclined to flog your guts out because you want to see your kids.
You feel more inclined to slog your guts out because you want give your kids nice things and they cost money.
You feel horrified when you see the barefaced manipulation displayed in kids’ advertising.
You stop fancying your wife and have an affair.
You fancy your wife more because you are now bonded by your child.
You spend six months on maternity leave with your kid, realise there’s more to life than ads and never come back to work.
You spend six months on maternity leave with your kid, realise you are bored out of your mind and run back to work.
You take jobs based on money because you need more of it.
You refuse to work on nasty accounts that peddle shite to innocent kiddies.
You observe 9-5:30, or at least you try to. This may well be resented by more presenteeist colleagues.
Anyhoo, what I think I’m trying to say is that it can go in all sorts of different directions and depends on many things, such as: who is the primary breadwinner; just how much are you earning; do you have available childcare; are you a wanker; were either of your parents wankers (I think I may be going too far back in the process here).
Speaking as someone with a little boy (see picture above), I’d say it did all sorts of things to me. I was keen to miss his bathtime as rarely as possible, but fortunately I was a Creative Director during much of that period, so I could choose to leave work on time, then catch up later in the evening if necessary. Nothing seemed to collapse because of this, although I was the only person in the whole agency with a young child. Overall, I do think I started to prioritise that part of my life, but that meant both working harder and being at home more (Work/Life balance, I think they call it). It’s harder to be in control of those matters when you’re not the boss, especially when you’re freelancing, but in the end, you know when you have to make the important decisions; the only thing that makes a difference is your definition of the word ‘important’.