A good dad? Sure. But I don’t know if I'm a great dad. If I was a great dad I’d probably spend more time with my family than I do. I'm an extremely ambitious person. I want to achieve great things in the office, not just to make money, but I want to make myself and my family proud. Looking back I want to say I have achieved everything I set out to, with a growing company there’s the opportunity to set my family up for life. If I was more relaxed about work I would be a “more present” dad, but I've consciously decided this is the right thing for me and the family now.
With what makes me a good dad though, it’s listening to my kids, having fun, trying to be attentive and not to be grumpy or tired when I'm with them. I don’t get that perfect. But I try.
It’s not just about being a good dad, it’s also about being a good husband. It's about spending time with my wife, making her feel special because she’s the one bringing up our family most of the time. She’s incredible at it.
I think that if you can get that right, you’re on your way to being a good dad.
When we found out she was pregnant, I remember that day because I knew life was going to change forever. On one hand excited, but on the other, running your own business, I was thinking ‘oh shit, how’s this going to work?!’
I've always been a bit of a risk taker, starting your own business, it goes with the territory. But since my son was born I'm a lot more aware of taking personal risks because I've got a lot more to lose now. They do too. Even if the risks are tiny, it’s about whether it’s necessary or not.
For the first few months after our eldest was born I was impatient, always looking forward to the next stage and thinking ‘I can’t wait for him to crawl, walk, talk`. The first 5 - 6 weeks of a child’s life is interesting, but I thrive on interaction, so I didn't enjoy it as much as people say you're supposed to. My wife gets much more joy in those early stages than I do. I realised very quickly though that every single stage is great fun in its own way. Life keeps moving on, you shouldn't wish any of it away. Now we've got two, and the eldest is so much fun to be with, the challenge is making sure I spend time bonding with our youngest.
The other big challenge is work-life balance. I remember being in the hospital for our first. My wife was asleep and my phone kept vibrating, so I checked it and ended up doing work emails. It was a good distraction and kept me occupied during the 25-hour labour when there was nothing else to do but watch her sleep. It was better to have got it done than doing it later when I’d rather be spending time with my new son.
My wife is an absolutely amazing mum and my kids are an absolute joy to spend time with. I also have 30 employees so have a responsibility to them too. Getting the balance right between them both is tough. I’d love nothing more than to get home and put my kids to bed every night, but in the fast moving technology sector if you don’t move quickly you’re going to fail. I try and get home once a week to put the kids to bed, but don’t always make it. When I do get home a bit earlier, I just catch up with work once they are asleep.
I've always been bad at time management and getting organised, so I think it’s about being strict with yourself. Being home one night a week, and make sure you’re with them the whole weekend when they’re awake. If you need to work, do it after they’re in bed.
All you can ever want is for them to be happy, it’s not about being successful, being married or them having their own kids - it’s about them being happy. Happiness is very much defined individually so as long as they’re happy, I’ll be too. All I can hope for is to look back on their lives and remember their smiles and laughter. That will be a good job done.
My wife’s the primary carer, so she deserves far more credit than I do for where we are now. We've adopted a gentle parenting technique. We listen to our son, we don’t enforce our own routine on him. It’s about letting him define how his life will pan out. He decides when he wants to go to sleep, which has fallen into a 7 – 7.30 routine. He decides what cartoons to watch (when we let him) and what books to read. It’s important to us that our children’s time is spent with their parents and peers. It seems to be working out pretty well so far.
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