One day I was listening to an interview with Apple’s Steve Jobs and he mentioned something about how he didn’t think one can become successful at business while having a family. As much as I respect and admire his work, I didn’t want to take advice from a man that disowned his daughter for most of his life and realised later that it was a mistake and tried to make amends.
When my son was born, I have to be honest, the first month was hard. But I told myself that he was the best thing that came into my life. I had to get used to his presence and ended up accepting that he is a person who is a part of my life now and who needs my time and commitment.
After research, time, trial and error, here’s what I learned. Hopefully these tips help other fathers and dads-to-be.
Accept your child
If you are a new parent you know that you no longer sleep eight consecutive hours but now have to negotiate two hour installment naps. Hopefully within a 24 hour day you can manage to accumulate 6 hours. From the day of birth, my son Ray would wake up about every other hour. I had to help from the get go because my wife had just given birth and was exhausted. I remember it hit me, there is no way of sending him back. This is how it’s going to be, he is here to stay.
Sleep according to their schedule
As soon as Ray was born he was the boss, we had to adjust to his sleeping schedule in order to insure his healthy growth and development. Basically, sleep when your children are sleeping because when they are awake they require your full attention.
You are equally responsible
Both my wife and I work so we have to share the responsibility equally. Our schedules are very similar and so we both have to compromise and meet each other half way. Baby duties are to be shared.
Leave work at the office
I am a workaholic , I used to work every chance I got , I used to work till my wife asked for my attention. I learnt that there has to be a balance between work and family. When I get home I try to give my family my full focus. When I am at work I focus on my tasks. It is also about the quality of time not just the quantity.
Allocate time to your family (Child & Spouse)
Once you have accepted your role in your family, it’s easy to spend time with them. Understand that you are not there to just provide financially for them but to also bond with them and provide emotional support by investing in your relationships. Free your weekends for them and give at least 3 hours a day to your family. I like to invest in two hours in the morning and another in the evening.
Remember humans need interaction and connection, not just work. Time is precious and limited. What you lose you can’t get back.