Our 80th Dad in the Limelight is Problogger founder and professional blogger, Darren Rowse. I want to thank Darren Rowse for being a part of this series. It has been great connected with him and now sharing Darren Rowse with all of you!
1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
Hi, my name is Darren Rowse and it’s been 15 minutes since my last blog post.
I’m a professional blogger that blogs about numerous things including blogging, photography and twitter. I also have written a book (about blogging) have co-founded a couple of companies and am pretty active on social media.
And in my spare time – I’m a Dad and Husband!
Actually – my family is not relegated to spare time really – I’m lucky enough to work at home and am pretty involved in the day to day of that aspect of life.
I am married to ‘V’ (as she’s known online) and have two little boys – Henri (2) and Xavier (4) who are both bundles of energy, discovery and creativity.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
I guess as kids grow they present you with different situations and challenges that you need to work through. As they grow and move through different aspects of their journey and as your life progresses through different stages – there are all kinds of little minefields to traverse.
Perhaps one of the on going challenges that I face is the balancing of work life and family life – particularly because they intersect at home.
In many ways I have three young children – my two boys and my business. My business only really got going around 5 years ago and as a result of being so young it (like my kids) is undergoing constant change and presenting me with all kinds of challenges. It sucks a lot of time and focus and so while my priority is my family – it can at times be something of a juggling act.
I feel I have the balance a lot better these days because I’ve put more boundaries around the different activities that I do – but there are still days (and weeks) which are tougher than others!
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
I think as guys we often feel we need to have mastered the different aspects of our lives and as a result sometimes feel inadequate or failures if we need to ask for help. We do it in our businesses, in relationships and sometimes in our families.
One of the best things I’ve done is put myself into parenting classes. I’ve been involved in a couple of local ones and while a lot of what is taught is fairly common sense and basic – being reminded of it and being in a room with others who are facing similar challenges can be helpful. So swallowing our pride and putting ourselves in a position to learn and share the journey with others can be a lot of help.
5) Seeing that you (or your position) are in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? If you are currently not in the limelight per se, please still answer this in regards to how you balance parenthood and outside life.
I think for me it is mainly about knowing my values and priorities and filtering the opportunities that come my way through them. For me my family is number 1 so if I’m asked to do something that is going to clash with keeping my family healthy then I know which has to come first.
Probably the best example of this that I can think of is that I’m asked regularly to travel around the world and speak at conferences. Being in Australia this almost always means overseas travel for a week at a time. While they are great opportunities and would grow my business (and feed my ego) – the disruption on a young family is too much so we’ve set a boundary around how much I’ll travel each year and when I’ll do it.
Oh – and having a strong wife helps – she’s good at reminding me of the priorities that I have 🙂
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
For me I guess I learned a lot from my own Dad. He was a very patient man who put a lot of time aside to ‘play’ with us. This centred a lot around playing sport and was a massive part of my childhood. I think having that foundation of so much time together was important for my sense of security and well being growing up – it’s something I want to give my own boys too.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
It is one of the hardest things I’ve done. There are a lot of great times and loads of laughs – but I think it’s worth acknowledging that it can be pretty tough too. I am very aware of my own inadequacies as a Dad and guess I want to encourage other guys to not feel alone when they have those moments of it being tough work.
The other thing that I guess I’ve learned is that my boys just want to be noticed, listened to and the centre of my attention. While they could suck up every spare moment of my attention each day – even just a few intentional moments of play and conversation scattered through the day gives them a great sense of job and peace. I often realise in the times that they are acting up or misbehaving the most that it’s often on a day where I’ve been preoccupied.
So for me I’m constantly trying to remind myself to ‘be present’ with them (put the iPhone away!) and enjoy each others company.
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
We just returned from two weeks at the beach as a family (plus my Mother-in-law came too). It was a crazy couple of weeks of early mornings, ice-cream, beach days, theme parks and eating out. The boys thought it was great to have the attention of 3 adults 24/7 and we had a load of laughs.