What do parents beemind?

Hey so this is kinda fun my wife and I are having a baby!

And in the midst of the joy and the research and the morning sickness and the rest of it, I wondered two things:

  1. What do beeminder parents beemind?


  1. How did you adjust your goals when you went from zero kids to not-zero kids?

The only thing specifically baby related that I’ve beemound is taking a picture every week during the pregnancy (https://www.beeminder.com/drtall/bump_to_baby)


Congrats!! Mine is 15 months old, and I can’t say I beemind anything particularly parent-y (for a while I beeminded the vitamin D drops, but it turns out those probably don’t do anything so can’t recommend that one). As far as 2) goes, however, I DEFINITELY lowered my standards. A lot. I also derail a lot more.

You’ll have to figure out how you want to judge derails from things like “went to put the baby to bed, fell asleep too”, or “everyone’s fine but we spent the evening in the ER” or “got nothing done because someone decided to scream inconsolably from 10pm to 2am” (or, in the short term and depending on how the childbearing partner is handling pregnancy, “got nothing done because I was so nauseous I couldn’t stand up”). Basically, figure out how to structure your goals to account for a LOT less control over your life and a LOT more unplanned emergencies.

Fortunately, I have mental health issues that meant I had to structure my goals as such before I had a kid, so my advice is: structure your goals so that doing the bare minimum to not derail is SUPER EASY. No, easier than that.

For example, my anki (flashcard) goal is 10 cards a day. If I get started and it’s not midnight, I often do a lot more than 10 cards in a sitting! But if it’s 1:20am and I just want to die/sleep, I can do 10 cards, check off the goal, and it’s done.

For a second example, my “primary” beeminder driver is a “do everything on my daily will-do list”, which sounds scary, except I define “do” as “touch”, so if one task is “write an email”, it TOTALLY counts to open up a blank email and enter the send-to email address and save it. Again, this means that even a to-do list of 10 things takes me maybe half an hour, tops, to touch everything sufficiently to mark it done for the day. I also have some daily goals that I am allowed to “punt” on, but not twice in a row (so I can check off “journaling” as done, even when I haven’t done it, as long as I’ve done it yesterday, and will make it up tomorrow). (Why yes, this backfires when tomorrow is even worse than today!)

Ideally, worst-case, you want all your beeminder goals (except possibly work-work related ones, which you will be doing away from the entropic force of Baby) to not derail with an hour or less of effort total, on your worst days, because on your worst days, that hour will be hard enough to find.

Congratulations again, and best of luck. It’s an exciting adventure, and like all exciting adventures, it’s a lot of work!


Haha oh thanks for the great response! I got weird looks for laughing out loud in a coffee shop…

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Ooh, smart!

I knew my life would change a lot when I had kids, and I read a lot about it, and I talked to people I admired who had kids and still did awesome engineery things, and… It was dramatically different than I expected. We had a second child, and… again.

Beeminder is a critical aspect of me getting back on track when life throws a curve ball. Pre-kiddos, that happened maybe once a year, or even less. Now, it seems to happen monthly.

I would see if you could spend a bit of time learning about how you act when you have a big safety buffer, and or a low rate. You may need to pad some of your existing goals with more goals.

But parenting can be a pretty drastic metamorphosis. In a few months, you may find out that some things you find important now, end up not even being important at all.

This may seem scary, but I find it super awesome. Good luck! I’m bound by parent code to say “enjoy it, the days will zoom by”.


Oh! I do beemind dates with my wife, and for a long, long time I beeminded hugging my wife and kids every day.


Congratulations! Babies are great!!

I second all of this :slight_smile:

Beeminding pass-times or entertainment I think is a nice thing to do. I view it as giving me an excuse to sit down and read, or knit, or watch tv, or whatever, even if things are crazy and busy.


I’ll echo a lot of what others folks have been saying — Beeminder makes a great safety net for taking care of yourself and keeping space for your own interests. Kids need parents who are also whole people!

A couple of specific family and household goals that have helped me:

  • grumps: “Do Less” irritably snapping at people — it’s easy for my nerves to get frayed around family, so this goal forces me to build skills for managing that (h/t @adamwolf for this idea)
  • chores: “Do More” for time doing dishes and other household chores. It’s harder to stay on top of this stuff with kiddos around!

I have remembered some more.

I beemind weekly family meetings, a critical part of how we parent.

I also beemind getting my wife out of the house without kids so she can be an adult without kids in tow. I hate this goal, and thinking about it makes me feel horrible, but I’d be even worse without it. The slope is pitiful and I/we still struggle to make it work.