Ross, aka The Stented Papa, recently gave up start up life to become a stay at home dad (SAHD). Reflecting on his previous and current role, he found more in common than he initially thought. Over to Ross…
I’ve mentioned Pubble a few times in previous posts. Before becoming a SAHD, I worked there for the last 5 years and loved every minute of it, it was a big part of my life.
So I’ve decided to list a few key lessons I’ve learned from working in a ‘tech startup‘ which are helping me as a SAHD.
Lesson #1 – Startups are just like children, neither are a ‘9-5’ role
Since becoming a SAHD, I’ve learned this fairly fast! Of course I knew it theoretically, but only when you are 100% committed to looking after your children full time do you fully get it.
With a start up, you’ll often find yourself sitting with your laptop in front of you trying to get something done long after your work day has finished. In fact, the only break you’re likely to take is to have your supper & spend some quality time with your kids. Once they’re in bed, the laptop is glued to you again until it’s lights out time.
With kids, picture the above, but swap the laptop for one baby strapped to your chest and, the other toddler literally stuck to your leg shouting ‘do the robot again daddy, again!‘ Either that or she’s crawling all over my shoulders grabbing me by the neck and trying to remove my adams apple via a primitive form of surgery. After that, trust me, you’re too tired to go online, and your lights will go out while you’re still on the couch with the TV on and the gob open. Gotta say, feckin love it though.
Lesson #2 – Do your research
If you were a researcher for a radio or TV show and you didn’t do your researching properly, they’d fire your lazy ass.
In Business Development, you need to do your homework on any industry you are targeting as potential business. You want sales and they’re not going to just fall into your lap. So when you engage, you need to know about your potentials, you need to have done your research.
But when you become a SAHD, failure to research certain information – e.g. finding out info on kids food, potential allergies, education, having fun with crafts & games to play (etc) – well, you might as well scratch your balls off a grater. If you don’t, your missus sure as hell will.
In all seriousness, failure to do this is a major injustice to your children’s development, fun & growth and you don’t want to be that SAHD.
Lesson #3 Scheduling:
In work, it’s so important. When you work in a startup, it’s more so. When you work remotely from your home (albeit in an office converted room), it’s doubly important.
You schedule your day – arrange meetings / reply to unanswered emails / make calls for new business / send follow up emails / request PO (purchase order) for new sales / prepare invoices / chase payments / training calls / demo calls / promote events / confirm renewals / update social channels etc. Your day is structured. You feel the benefit from it. You feel satisfaction. You feel good.
On a personal level, scheduling has always been my achilles heel, my missus will vouch for that. I get that’s it’s important – pretty much essential actually – but knowing it & implementing it are two very different things. But since becoming a SAHD, let’s just say I’ve had a change of heart – and not just cause the missus told me too. ?
So far, I’ve scheduled swimming lessons / ballet classes / baby massage classes / playdates / zoo trips / Grandad visits just to name a few. And now that the summer holidays have just begun, I’ve to get me finger out and schedule some more.
It’s gives you a clear structure as to what your day looks like. That then allows you to pack/prepare correctly for whatever you have planned. You will also have a better day with your nippers. Like work, you will feel the benefit. You’ll have satisfaction. You will feel great.
Lesson #4 Internet dangers (for kids)
‘This feckin internet thingy won’t work, what’s wrong with it?, sure it’ll never catch on‘ says my Dad a few years back. To be fair to Dad, he has gotten a good bit better. But it’s a generation thing. It’s what you have been brought up with, what you are (or in his case, are not) used to.
I’m also amazed at the amount of people in my age bracket, even mates of ours, that just don’t know how to navigate their phones and the web efficiently. Bar Facebook and WhatsApp, forget about it.
How the hell are you suppose to understand what your children are doing online (or will be doing when they get older)? It’s so important cause they will run rings around you, especially if they get a whiff that you haven’t a baldy what they are on about.
Depending on their age, you bet your ass they will be stupid and naive online (at some point). It’s so important that we as parents know and understand the different platforms they are using, know (at the very least) the basics of navigating from A to B on whatever platform they are on. Online bullying is massive and in the worst case scenario, can & has led to teenage suicide. If you arm yourself with the knowledge, hopefully you’ll smell what’s happening and then act on it.
Don’t be one of those who say ‘agh that thing, jazsus, sure I know nothing about that‘. Learn, it’s important.
Lesson #5 Likability
In sales / biz dev, likeability cannot be underestimated. It is crucial. Building & developing relationships (weather on a personal or business level) goes a long way in generating new business. Basically likeability is great for sales – ‘You don’t just back the horse, you back the jockey’.
The same likeability is great when it comes to being a SAHD. It’s great for getting to know other parents you meet when dropping your kids off at creche. It’s great for getting on well with teachers / instructors / GP’s / dentists / sports coaches etc who deal with your children. It helps you get to know these very important people, it builds trust and trust is what opens doors. That door could be for a playdate & coffee or for a business deal.
Where trust is what opens doors, it’s likeability that knocked on the door in the first place.
& so to summarise
Prior to working with Pubble, I worked in the Pensions industry for 10 years and holy shit what a different mindset that industry has VS a startup. It’s polar-opposites. But ya know what? There are way more similarities between being part of a tech start up & being a SAHD than I thought. I get social media, I understand it. I will keep myself up to date on new platforms and how to use them. I will know what my children are up to in the future. And you know what, it will serve me (and my kids) well, I hope.
Ross Good. Aka, The Stented Papa.
Follow me on Twitter, Facebook or my Website.
More about Ross (in his own words): I’m ‘The Stented Papa’, Ross to those who know me. Recently gave up work due to health reasons & I’m loving being a SAHD with my two girls, aka ‘The Nips’. So follow me for Tales, Stories & Opinions from a new Stay-At-Home-Dad, The Missus, Our 2 Beautiful Girls, The Woofie and oh yeah…..My 4 Stents.
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What a pleasure it’s been working with you guys & with Han-Son in particular, many thanks for sharing my thoughts.
Really hope my experiences can help and that other Dad’s can relate to some of the above.
All I can say is that I’m a SAHD for just a bit over 2 months now and it’s been the best journey I’ve had. And you know what, nothing beats satisfaction…..well, nothing apart from family satisfaction that is. .
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