I’m not proud of this, but every now and then, I’m prone to bouts of self-righteousness. More than a few of my fellow PS writers have in fact encountered this, and to all of you, I apologize and want you to know that I’m working on it. Really, I am.

Then again, as a parent, sometimes I just can’t help myself. Raising children is difficult, especially when you’re the primary caregiver. With this in mind, is it so unthinkable to feel some tiny degree of self-adulation, even for the simple act of surviving to parent another day?

That is not to say that parenthood is for everyone, and though I constantly search for some means to validate my existence as a father, the reality is, some people just don’t want to have children. For that matter, maybe they shouldn’t have them.

This point was really reinforced for me when I read the book, Maybe Baby. Lori Leibovich, a senior editor at Salon.com, has compiled a series of essays regarding the pros, cons and maybes of having children. I found them to be candid and personal, ranging from humorous to heart-wrenching, uplifting to cynical, with poignant tales filled with redemption, disappointment, anger, frustration, and hope. And even though the writers are not necessarily a representative cross-section of middle-America, they bring up a lot of interesting points about having children.

Now I have to confess, in true priggish fashion, before I had even cracked the book, I had already rallied my support for the pros because, like me, they had taken the plunge and knew what it was like being a parent. Meanwhile, I was nursing my disdain for the cons, who unlike me, didn’t know what it was like to be a parent. I mean, come on, every parent knows what life was like before they had children, but how can a childless person, having never done it, possibly know for sure whether or not they want to be a parent?

Well, as it turns out, they can. At least they know what they want, as well as what they don’t want, and what many of them don’t want is children. It helps when they are professional journalists that write well and can present a convincing argument. In any case, what it really clarified to me was that not only is everyone entitled to their own opinion, but everybody is different, and there is no universally right answer.

This, of course, flies in the face of self-righteousness and begs the question, why do I have all this insecurity about how I live my life, or for that matter, other people live theirs? If I’m happy and comfortable with myself, who cares what other people do when it has no bearing on my own life?

Well, unfortunately, life is never that simple, and for whatever reason, I guess I need some justification for my decisions, especially when it’s such a profound, life-altering one. Who wouldn’t want some sort of reassurance that they’d made the right choice, knowing full well that once you decide, there is no turning back.

Parents today are under an incredible amount of scrutiny, and everywhere we go there is some cause to question the things we do. Experts weigh in on everything from the foods we feed them to how much we should help them, telling us what’s right and wrong, and then changing their minds. We suffer from having too much information and advice (much of it contradictory) that is way too easily accessible at all times of the day.

Couple this with the fact that many of us are surrounded by people who have opted out of parenthood and are consequently enjoying many of the things that we used to take for granted and pine for now that they are gone; things like naps, relaxing meals, alcohol consumption, and taking part in activities that may or may not require us to have our clothes on (while this might not be absent, it surely takes a hit).

In lieu of all this, how can we not feel some anxiety about the decisions that we’ve made?

Personally, when our daughter was born, I wasn’t emotionally prepared to become a father, but I also realize that I probably never would have been ready. There is no perfect time, and maybe therein lies the problem. Many of us are looking for perfection where perfection simply doesn’t exist, and because of this, certain things just never happen.

At some juncture in our lives, we are faced with the important decision of whether or not we want to have children. Along with that comes the possibility of either missing out on something that might give us immeasurable joy and satisfaction, or burdening ourselves with the most difficult job that we’ll ever have. To complicate the issue, the only way to really get the answer is to dive in, head first.

I will say this - although Ruth and I love being parents, before we had children we had more than our fair share of skeptics, and if we had listened more carefully to what they were saying or read more books like Maybe Baby, coupled with the exciting lifestyle we were living in New York City, perhaps we never would have taken the leap of faith and had children.

But we didn’t listen to the naysayers, or for that matter, never read any such books. And do you want to know something? I’m glad we didn’t.