Watching my husband become a father was the most amazing transformation I have seen him make. When we met in college, it was clear that he was a hard worker and that he was going to be a good businessman. But even as we got married and started talking about kids, I wasn’t so sure how gentle and loving he would be. I was wrong. The same skills that make him a great businessman are the same skills that make him a great father to our boys.
He takes care of things when others can’t. When I had to have a last minute c-section with my first born son, I was pretty knocked out on some serious drugs during and after the birth itself. Fatherhood came quickly for my husband. He was the first to hold our son. They had an instant connection. He was the one who took care of the baby for the first few days as I recovered in the hospital. He changed his diapers, made sure he got enough sun to fight off the jaundice ,and took walks with him around the hospital floor all while I recuperated. Just like in the world of startups – if you want something done, sometimes you’ve got to do it yourself!
He cares. Being a good father takes a lot of caring. You really have to want it. Just like he wanted to start his own business and build it up, he cares about building up our family just as much. And it matters to him if he gets it right. He wants to raise kids who are good people and who also care about their own families (and/or businesses!) one day.
He is confident. Being the father of two boys and an entrepreneur, he is able to instill values in them like hard work, respect and humor just by being himself. Yes, my husband travels a lot for work, but he also takes my youngest son to school every day when he is home, takes care of the kids when they are sick (thank you, flexible work schedule!) and is home in time for dinner and bedtime most nights. His decision to start a business took a lot of self-confidence, and the decision to say no to work because it’s family time also takes a lot of confidence. He is showing them how to find that delicate work/life balance that we all strive for.
He teaches them new skills. There is always something new going on when you run a startup company. My husband is constantly traveling to networking meetings and conferences. Two years ago he went to Boston for a week in the summer to attend a higher education class for business owners. He still talks about the influence that one week course had on him. As a father, it’s important to teach your kids that learning never stops. You’re never “done.” New skills learned in the classroom or at a conference influence him to teach our kids new skills like how to hit a baseball and how to swim. His actions teach them how to find what you love and really go for it.
He is committed. Before we got married, my husband and I had some long talks about our future. We decided then and there to commit to each other and our future kids. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns every day, but we do what it takes to keep that promise that we made. Fatherhood has solidified this commitment in every way. Similar to being a business owner, you don’t just give up when times get tough. You take the good with the bad. You figure out a new solution to keep the business going and set it on course to flourish.