How can dads balance the pressures of work and home life? Jay Cooper says the answer is to become a DADpreneur.
—This is article #35 in our series of #100Voices4Men and boys
When people ask me what I do, I still have to stop and think. I don’t have an official job title. Founder & Director? Entrepreneur? Businessman? I’ve come across the job title that sums me up perfectly.
My wife, Kate, was furious when she was once described as a ‘MUMpreneur’, claiming it was patronizing. I asked her why she reacted so badly to the term and she replied that it implied she was somebody that makes her business life revolve around her children. To her, she is a businesswomen with children, not a mum who runs a business.
To me, that was exactly how I wanted to be seen – a dad who runs a business. That’s my focus, so I’m a DADpreneur.
Being an active dad is the business
I’ll never go to my grave wishing I spent more time doing work than spending time with my kids. One of the reasons I run my own business is that I can, to a broad extent, determine what I do and when I do it. It means that I am in the office 4 days a week – having one weekday day from 7am-7pm with my kids.
I still have to work evenings and weekends. But I also take on a share of being with my kids Finn (3) and Freya (1) when Kate has to work. I can run a business and be actively involved in my kids’ lives.
The day off can be a challenge. For a start, I don’t have the extra pair of hands to help out as Kate is at work! But for the most part, we plan our day – if it is raining, then we’ll head to an indoor play centre or if it is sunny, it’s a trip to the seaside to cycle along the prom.
I’m a man with a plan
These days are special as it is just me and the kids. The office can contact me as my smartphone is in my pocket. Generally, I use that to take pics of what we are up to, rather than constantly check my email. Emergencies rarely are that.
I do approach my days at home with the kids in a similar fashion to work and that is by planning. I have plenty of options planned for the kids, including plans for if one or both are sick, to plans to clean the loos in any downtime, through to planning evening meals.
Being a successful DADpreneur isn’t the easy option, but it’s personal goal that I am enjoying working towards.
Working four days a week is one thing, but I’m aiming to be down to a three-days a week so I can be the parent in charge of the kids two days a week and share the childcare “burden” with my partner.
How I profit from being a dad
Except it isn’t a burden, it’s a choice. I believe that being wildly successful in business and being a wildly successful dad aren’t mutually exclusive. If that’s what you want you can have it, if you set yourself the goal and start taking action to make it happen.
The rewards of being a DADpreneur are far greater and richer than the rewards of being a successful businessman who happens to have kids that he doesn’t spend much time with.
I benefit from time with kids, Kate benefits because she has more time to pursue her business goals and the kids benefit from having two parents who are tuned in to their daily needs.
Could I make more money if I concentrated purely on business? Maybe. Could my life be simpler if we got some home help – such as a nanny? Definitely. But would my life be poorer as a result? The answer to that is a yes, because I’ve found the career that I love and I want to continue doing it – the DADpreneur.
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—Picture credit: Flickr/Mish Sukharev
Jay Cooper and his wife Kate run Bloom Worldwide, an insight-driven digital strategy agency.
You can find all of the #100Voices4Men articles that will be published in the run up to International Men’s Day 2014 by clicking on this link—#100Voices4Men—and follow the discussion on twitter by searching for #100Voices4Men.
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