When my wife told me she was pregnant I felt immense joy and also some worry over how a kid would impact my work habits. Would I be able to run a successful business while being a good dad? Would I be able to start new businesses and still be a present husband and father? What would I need to change?
These questions weighed heavily on me. I started asking other entrepreneurs these questions and I got some great advice and stories. My son is now 14+ months old and I am feeling confident that I can be a great dad and entrepreneur. Being a parent has definitely changed how I work, and it has had the positive influence of making me more structured, more disciplined, and better at picking the most important items to focus on. I do not pull the late nights that I used too, and my hours are a lot more set now that I have a family.
We asked our community fo entrepreneurs this question, and here are some highlights from their experiences…
Barry had some great advice on not being too hard on yourself because you are not going to be perfect:
Perhaps more important than any of this was understanding that I was going to screw it up. What we were doing was hard and no amount of tech or effort was going to make it easier. It would barely make it possible. My wife and I made time to listen to each other and to talk about our fears and failures in as constructive, blame free ways as we could find. Some days were better than others.
Having a routine. I hate routines, to be honest. After my kid was born it wasn’t really practical for me to live without a routine. I was not able to work whenever I want. Just like a business, he needed a lot of attention. First few years, I wasn’t able to do justice and it made me guilty. Once the routine was in, things were a lot better for me, my wife and my kid.
The biggest thing I changed was making a concerted effort to separate my home and work spaces. Pre kids, I spent a LOT of time working at home and my personal life and work life blended seamlessly. This wasn’t an issue because really love what I do and so spending a lot of my “home” time working was just an extension of what I love.
Once we had kids – and especially once they got to the 1-year old stage – I had to make some changes. I didn’t want to be that Dad who was always on the phone, always saying “one second!” and making my kids feel like they had to fight with technology for my attention.