Posts Tagged being a dad

Sunday Column (425)

A funny, mixed week that was. Lots of things going on at work and at home. Discussions, ideas, strategies. My head was spinning most days, days turning into a big blur. After two full packed days in the office where we made a lot of progress, I went off to lovely Milan. In the meantime the team even made more progress. I have the feeling we are winning. I know it is early days, just about a month in, but it seems like we are ‘getting shit done‘. It feels good.

Ever since I helped getting Milan and Madrid off the ground for a company I worked for a few years ago, I love going to Milan (and Madrid). It’s the people, the city, the smell, the taste, the food, the wine, the atmosphere, the alps – and being able to visit my new company’s regional office there and spend some time with the guys, was wonderful. I truly enjoyed the trip, and I found it very useful and fruitful to bring things together, learning a lot too. The team is super advanced and I learned a lot.

The flight was fun. After a rough night with kids waking me up at 3 am and a 5 am pick up by my taxi, I slept through the whole flight. Yet when approaching the airport we pulled up again last minute. Another plane was given priority due to a person falling sick on that plane. Fair enough. So we turned up and around and landed on the second attempt. That was a first for me. Next week I am going to Germany, which in regards to culture will be at the other end of the spectrum to Italy I suppose. I really enjoy those travels again and being part of a bigger international team. Working in international companies is fun, and we have some very smart people in the company.

Anyway, let’s not talk about work every week 😃 I spend most of my time with work, so it is good to get some downtime now and then. Last weekend I got little. Last weekend I was very jet lagged. This weekend I had to go to the Apple Store because my MacBook Air gave up on me, I cannot start it any longer. Maybe I just give it back and trade it against an Apple TV? However it turns out that the repair is probably more costly than it is worth in value, as I don’t really need it anymore. So before I find out next week, I got the new Apple TV and the kids (and I) are happy. New games, new fun. There are not many Apple products left I adore and would like to have. Maybe the new MacBook, the slimmer and nicer one, yet having an Air from work suits me fine. If I have to upgrade my iPad mini, I would potentially get a iPad Pro. Never mind, not for a long time I hope.

The main challenge is to see my boys so little at the moment. Because of travel, late trains home from work, them getting up later etc. And yet, when I do see them they seem to change so quickly. It is difficult to keep up with their development, their latest ideas on toys, their wish list for Christmas (already!), the things they enjoy doing. Although they spend most of their pocket money on toys this weekend, leading into half term. However, every night when I do see them, it is a new miracle of thoughts that are coming out of their head which I enjoy exploring and questioning. One responds nicely, the other one doesn’t like it. They are like chalk and cheese, so different, so differently motivated, it is a joy to see, however painful it can be too.

Balancing their needs and mine. Wondering if I am a good dad, do I do a good job? It is a job or is it fun? What is the desired outcome for the boys? You cannot treat it like a work project. I listened to a lot of podcasts travelling, and one of them was about a chess player. He got involved in chess heavily at the age of 6. Should I push my boys more into that? Anyway, just when you think things are going well, I ended up listening to a podcast of a woman who lost two husbands and had two kids, one from each. At least I think that’s what it was, as I lost track a bit dozing off. But it is a sad podcast about a family with lots of challenges.

Those are the moments I thank the greater universe for the health we have. I remind myself to eat healthier and drink less. To look after myself and the family more. To be a better dad. A better husband. To have more time for things. I am sitting next to someone on the plane who seems to write an academic article. Should I have written a phd after all? Should I have gone into academia? I sometimes wonder but I am very happy with what I do and the progress I am making in my career. So life is good and most people I know are healthy. I am blessed, truly thankful for what I have and hopeful that it stays that way.

It has been a good week. I am content and life feels right. I sorted my citizenship ceremony and look forward to become a full blown Brit. Did I mention there is another 88 GBP fee to attend the ceremony? It really seems as if getting the citizenship is also a money making machine. Never mind, I am almost there.

Have a great week, make sure to give your loved ones a big hug.
Volker

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Sunday Column (179)

The Olympics seem to dominate London’s life. Transport so far had been little affected, at least for our guys in the office journeys to work are ok. The odd lateness and leaving early but nothing out of the extraordinary if that makes sense. We expected worse.

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I was asked a couple of times which team I support. Really, I am not overly interested in the Olympics despite the fact they are happening in London. Whilst it might be a chance of a lifetime to go and watch an event, I am really not interested. Maybe sad but that’s the way it is. And if I had to cheer for a team, believe it or not, I would cheer for team GB. I arrived.

Btw arriving. You probably saw that we got our front and back door now. Finally peace. A few more decisions like garden, heating, decorating and loft insulation but that should be it. Now we are looking at the inside. Decoration, efficiency, warmth, beauty. My wife, and to a certain extent myself, are fed up. 8 weeks of constantly managing builders, receiving quotes, doing DIY. But we got there at the end. Look at what we all achieved. Life is good. The kids settling in. We feel home. We are happy!

Regarding the Olympics I found a great article about what it means from a coaching perspective.

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For every Olympic gold medalist there is a team of trainers, coaches, parents, friends and supporters that encouraged and challenged them through the stretching and growth process. And for each one of our greatest accomplishments in life and work there is a story and group of people that made it possible.
If we try to stretch ourselves without the support of others we either won’t go very far or we’re likely to snap.
But when we have support and encouragement we are able to stretch ourselves and reach farther than we ever thought possible.

I see this at work. Summer months are slower in terms of revenue. But having the support structure, mentors, co-workers and good managers, coaches or family of course, will give you and each individual a support team to achieve your goals and aspirations.

It is like being a dad. I was made consciously aware this week how much Colin wants to be like his dad. Starting from the underpants. Of course you know about that. Kids using their parents as role models. But wait a second, that is me. I have this responsibility of what my kids want to be like. I cannot have a cigar around them or get drunk. I cannot shout at someone or be rude. I am in charge of my own life and the development of two little people.

And you know what? It is fantastic. You can be a mentor, trainer and coach. Every day. Every night. Hopefully for another 30 odd years. A helper, friend, buddy, dad. A mentor. A role model. A leader.

That is what I enjoy. That gives me inner satisfaction. That is what makes me tick, this gets me excited. I love to manage and coach. I arrived.

Team VB.

This week concluded a roller coaster ride. Nothing I’d disclose here but I am working on a few challenges. They make me stronger, smarter, better. So it is good.

My sleeping routine will change again. After a week of looking at my hours of sleep versus my energy level I believe 6 hours are my optimum. So this gives me another hour to work on stuff.

Have a fantastic week.

Volker

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Just a few thoughts of being a dad…..

I has been almost 20 months now that my son Colin was born. And I remember what stage in life I was in. I just got made redundant from a company where I put so much hard work and effort in, hoping we could turn it around. I was sitting in “a car I knew that would crash” and before the company reached the wall, I was pulled out of it.

Partly glad to have left, I was more anxious than ever to not find a new job. We were in the middle of the recession then. I now had to support a family. I didn’t want my wife to worry. I spend days and nights preparing interviews whilst Jenny, my wife, was preparing for the birth. It was easier then than it is now. We were just the two of us. My wife had a job, was on maternity leave, so money was coming in. At least for a while. But all those worries.

So when Colin came, I was happy. I loved this bundle of joy but didn’t really know what to do with him. I was a first time dad. That was new. That was for my wife, wasn’t it. And, I had an interview to go to tomorrow. So luckily I found a new job quickly, just a few days after Colin was born, and then off I went to work again.

It took me 6 months until I realised two things. The job wasn’t made for me (or vice versa), and I just missed out on the most beautiful time of my life. My first son, and his first few months on this planet.

Now, looking back, you will always find excuses. Many excuses why life determines what you do. And more often than less it is the job or some kind of commitment you made. And it is all about the balance but also about the compassionate love for your children.

It is the mother that loves a child unconditionally, like we all should love each other. It is the mother that has this great relationship with their kids. But, it is up to us blokes to make the most of it, and show our unconditional love too. I guess it just took me some time longer. Maybe I wasn’t ready. Also, as a man, and maybe that is another excuse, you look after the pennies, you are the bread winner, so that comes first, doesn’t it?

Maybe. For me clearly. I am very passionate about my work, enjoy working, and of course having a career. But, I more and more understand dads that take some time off. Or start working from home, making their home life a priority over work. I just couldn’t imagine that for me. I guess it is good that we are all different.

Now, I don’t have regrets. And, I don’t have plans to change anything in the near future. I see Colin as often as possible in the morning. Usually about an hour or just more. We play, we have nutella bread and a good laugh. Then I see him at the weekends, hardly at night. But that works for me. That works for many busy dads. As a former boss said “make sure you see your kids in the morning, you never know how long your working day will be”.

The next two weeks will be different than the first few days with Colin. I have a job, and a job to go back to. I have more responsibility which means I have to work a bit, but as little as possible, during my time off. I have staff to look after, I have things to take care off. But I can also turn the phone off, be at home, and just spend the whole day bonding with my new baby. Just cuddling up.

I am in control of what I can do. This time I am ready. I know what to expect. I have changed numerous nappies, bathed Colin a few times, have prepared bottles and know how to dress a baby. And I am loving it.

I am truly in love with Colin and will be with my next child. I pray that my wife and boy will be safe and that we can return from hospital soon after the birth. I just want to spend time with the family, protect them, cuddle them, and be there for them. Just 2 weeks of my life. Just a few days. No worries, no regrets. Just unconditional, compassionate love. I want to show love that is normally reserved to a mother for her children.

And from this intimate family time, I want to raise and carry that love with me. In my heart. As I will return to a new routine, a better routine, which leads us back to our normal life again….

I cannot wait for number 2 to appear.

Volker

PS: I write this post on Sunday, 6th of February, and it will be published tomorrow 12 pm. Maybe it has all happened already?

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