As requested, here’s a little bit from Andrew reflecting on parenthood (and some other things)… xo EG
(minutes after Henry was born and met his Daddy)
To say that this past November was a pivotal month in my life would be a monumental understatement. The world aligned for me as the two things I have been putting my heart and soul into over the past 3 years materialized. My son was born and my company I’ve been building finally received funding.
They have a remarkably similar feel. Before it happens you are confident, calm, and cannot wait for it to finally get here. And then they happen. And in both cases you are like, “Holy shit now what do I do?”. I have to find a way to keep this alive (still talking about both…). I am still trying to find my Chi in this new state of chaos. But through it all I have never been happier.
But I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I have learned over the past few months:
- I have been a shitty friend to my friends who have children. I was stunned by how many of our friends came out to see Henry, bring food/gifts, call to ask what they could do, etc. I can honestly say I have never done any of that for any of our friends when they gave birth. Erin has sent gifts, but we never “popped-in” to bring food. And our friends are doing it with a car full of children on their way home from the grocery store. Hello New Year’s Resolution – Stop sucking as a friend (could also be “Stop being so self involved”).
- Time is my most important asset. Whether at home or at work, I have become so aware of how and where I am spending my time. I am working hard to cut out the “fluff” from my schedule. This is not because I want to schedule every part of my day with tasks. But I have things I want to accomplish and to do so I have to be very careful where I spend my time. This includes ensuring downtime. Perhaps even more than before. Making sure I have time to workout. Making sure Erin does. Sitting down to relax and not picking up my phone or computer. Avoiding time wasters (at work).
- I am capable of so much more than I realized. Erin is capable of even more than that. Women are amazing. More amazing than I realized and I felt like I already knew that. Nope…not even close. Truly amazing what Erin did and is doing. Again, I am referring to both her role as mom and entrepreneur. I continue to be in awe.
- Poop isn’t that gross anymore. And when you have a baby, your dogs tend to offer more poop for you to clean up in more places too. So exponential poop in our life has made it as common as coffee in the morning.
- Spit-up/Dog barf: See poop.
- Being tired is dangerous. This may be the hardest part of being a dad and entrepreneur. Being tired is not a good excuse for slacking on your job. Even for a moment. You have to be “on” whenever engaged. Slacking off for even a moment can mean disaster. Your son, wife, employees and clients depend on you. You cannot let them down because you are tired.
- You have to have help and know how to allow people to help. This is critical to avoiding the problems of #6. Let your employees do their job. Allow family and friends to help raise your child. Erin and I take turns with Henry…so the other can turn off for a few minutes. For Type A personalities like Erin and me, this is hard. But we cannot do it all and we are not less of a parent or leader by letting others help or do their job.
- Surround yourself with people who know more than you. Soak it up. Our nanny has been around kids far longer than we have. So we listen to her. I hired people smarter than me and better than me. At least at their job, but in many cases I am learning how to do my job better from them. The challenge me to raise my game. So I listen to them. Again, the Type A in me wants to tell the pilot how to fly the plane, but that won’t get me to my destination.
- Question everything. This is exactly the opposite of what I just said. The experts can be wrong. So when you don’t understand something, ask. If you feel stupid because people are looking at you like you don’t get a simple concept, push through that. If you don’t understand what is happening and why for your child, company, or job then you are not doing yourself any favors. Ask the questions until you understand the answer. It makes everyone better. Just because it “was always done this way” doesn’t mean it should be. Nor does it mean it is wrong. Find out.
I will leave you with a couple of thoughts about being a dad. I love being a dad. I love changing Henry’s diaper. I love waking up at 2am to do it. I hate when I don’t know what is wrong with him. I love when I figure it out. When he smiles at me I am done. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for him. I am determined not to let work interfere with being a dad. It will be hard, as I love what I do. I love him more. I look forward to all the stages he will go through, but I am doing my best to appreciate the stage he is in. I am stressed that we are not doing something right. I am convinced we will be fine. I am terrified about dropping him. I am jealous of the time and bond he will spend and build with our nanny. When he is asleep in my arms, there is nothing else in the world. When he is nuzzled up on Erin, there is nothing else in the world. I have never been more tired, more hopeful, more stressed or more excited.
Ok. That’s all the time I have. I have to go get Henry so Erin can sleep in a little longer. Until next time, thank you all for everything you’ve done for my family. Whether you know it or not, you are a huge part of our lives and we couldn’t be happier about it.