Being a work-at-home dad makes it hard to be there for my kids
If you're a work-at-home parentpreneur like me, you know how hard it is to get your hustle on and take care of the kiddos. It’s kinda like being a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest.
Seriously though, I'm a dad of 2-year-old twins and I work from home on my tech startup, WeMontage. The kids are in day care all day twice a week, which is great for everyone, and they are in pre-school twice a week for an hour and a half, which means that for the rest of the pre-school day, I take care of them. They are home all day on Friday, which means I don't get a lot of work done.
Being a tech entrepreneur with no employees currently means that when my customers are emailing, calling and instant messaging me for help all day long, I find it difficult to be fully present for the kids. And I constantly stay in the doghouse with my wife.
Toys + diapers + hustle = no bueno
Everyone knows entrepreneurs must hustle to make the connections needed to grow their businesses, and having kids around all day doesn't change this. My kids seem to know when I'm trying to get my hustle on because when I'm doing so, their shenanigans get kicked into high gear.
It used to be we had the living room "fenced off" and when a customer would call, the kiddos would start laughing as loud as possible and start climbing over the sofa to get past the fence.
Thankfully, the fence is gone!
But now, it never fails, I’ll get a customer's instant message or phone call, and at least one of my twins will start "wilding out." Here's a video of my daughter crying about her toy while I’m hustling to do research for a cold email I wanted to send to a TechCrunch editor to try and get some much needed PR for the biz.
I know I'll look back on these days and laugh my butt off.
There was the time I was waiting on a morning show TV segment featuring my company to air. I always record segments in which my biz is featured for social sharing and marketing. I noticed my daughter's saggy diaper needed changing.
Normally, there is a "coming up next" teaser before a feature segment. Thinking I had a little time to spare, I put my computer on the fireplace mantle near the changing station and proceeded to change my daughter’s diaper. Five seconds later, the TV segment was on air, without any prior notification!
I’ve got a naked baby on the changing station and I’m not recording the segment. I fastened my daughter down, climbed over the gate that keeps the twins from mucking around in the changing area, grabbed the laptop and put it at my daughter’s feet and hoped she wouldn’t kick it off the changing station while I was recording the segment and changing her diaper.
Like I said, I'll look back on these days and laugh. The truth is, because of the business, I haven't really figured out how to be fully present for the twins and my wife. My intentions are good, but if I don't hustle for sales, it makes it harder to do my part to help take care of the family financially. Failing to do so would mean creating extra stress in the household.
How does one balance the tension between those two needs? I have no idea.
I wish I had a few pithy tips for work-at-home parentpreneurs to help juggle their business and be more present for their families — but I don't. Sorry. I'm still trying to figure it out.
Wish me luck! And good luck to all you work-at-home parentpreneurs out there!