In case you live under a rock with no WiFi, let me be the first to tell you that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is now a dad. In a note on Facebook on Tuesday (hey, notes still exist!), Zuckerberg announced the birth of his daughter, Max, with his wife Priscilla Chan. But the announcement contained so much more than just a cute family picture. In an open letter to the baby, Zuckerberg expressed the hope Max has given him for the future, and a desire to improve the world she’s now a part of. In order to do so, the couple has launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and plan to give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares, which are valued at approximately $45 billion. Whoa.
There’s no doubt that becoming a parent is a huge transition that can really change your outlook on life. The future seems more real once you love someone who’s going to be there to see it, and the world as a whole takes on a different air when you know you’ll be sending your tiny, vulnerable little child into it one day. But still, Zuck’s experience and your average parent’s are not exactly the same. He might as well be on a different planet from the rest of us.Here are just some of the ways Mark Zuckerburg’s reaction to parenthood is different from the average person.
The Chan-Zuckerberg family clearly hired either a professional photographer or a wizard to take this beautiful family portrait. You and I also posted a photo to Facebook, but it was a grainy cell phone pic taken under the fluorescent lights of the hospital room, and the baby looked sort of purplish-greenish.
It looks like Priscilla even washed her hair. Your average new mom doesn't get a chance to wash her hair until the baby is about 4 months old (and doesn't get to condition or blow-dry it until the kid's in kindergarten.)
Remember when the new baby would cough, or have a little goo in his eye, and you'd dash to the pediatrician? Remember keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer by the front door to disinfect your gross, bacteria-laden guests from contaminating your baby? Yeah, me, too. Mark and Priscilla want Max to be healthy, too, so they gave $75 million to a hospital. That'll buy a lot of Purel.
3Caring About The Earth
Sometimes, it's hard to take conservation too seriously. I mean, the Earth will still be here in 70 years, and that's all you really need it for. But then you have a baby, and you realize it's not your world anymore; it's hers. What kind of planet are you leaving behind for her? So you start actually looking at the bottom of plastic containers to see if you should recycle them. You buy a hybrid car. Maybe you even use cloth diapers. Or you call up your buddy Bill Gates, and a few other gazillionaires you know from the country club, and hire some scientists to invent clean energy.
4Investing In Education
Education begins at home. That's why you have those letter magnets on the fridge, and why you watch Yo Gabba Gabba all day long (definitely not because you're looking forward to Biz Markie's Beat of the Day). When your kid gets older, you'll probably volunteer at the school, provide brownies for the bake sale, or try to convince all your Facebook friends to buy overpriced wrapping paper and pancake mix from your kid. Chan and Zuckerberg, on the other hand, spent $20 million to make sure every classroom in America is connected to the internet. That's practically the same thing, right?
5Caring About All Kids
Once you have a baby, you realize that everyone is someone's baby, and you kind of feel responsible for all of them. You'll put bullies in their place on the playground, you'll donate coats and canned goods and toys at every opportunity, and you kind of turn into a mama bear for all the world's children. Maybe you'll also send 400 kids to college. No? Well, why the hell not?
Kidding aside, I'm very happy for Mark and Priscilla, and astounded by their generosity. I can't say I'd be as altruistic as them if I had that kind of scratch, because I really, really want a boat and a zebra. So good on them, and congratulations on Max's birth. She's going to grow up in an amazing world, thanks to her awesome parents.