Recently my life has become much busier. Why? Well, I, like many of you reading this blog am a parent, but I am a bootstrap entrepreneur as well (that is to say, I run a self-funded business). Bootstrap entrepreneurs are typically very busy, sometime more than typical entrepreneurs. Their products are good, they meet needs, but the product is low revenue at first, and that's ok, as it takes time to build a community and a sizable user base. This revenue and user-grab is something that I call "the grind."
I digress. Recently I have had to take another job, so now I have two "day jobs": one during the day working retail, and the other until 11 p.m. or so cleaning an office building. When I get home, I sit down in front of my laptop and answer emails or answer questions about my app, fledgling podcast or I do strategic planning for my third job (my bootstrap startup). So I have become exhausted and my job as a parent has shamefully fallen to the sidelines.
When you find yourself in this grind, you can become easily distracted. It is hard work to build a company, but sometimes you find yourself making up excuses to keep your life segmented and you focus on one aspect of your life (in my case, my company), and elect to put other segments (parenting) to the side so you can focus on one thing at a time.
I am guilty of this. What caused me to realize it was when I was told in a teacher's note that my oldest son, Deacon, was starting to bring homework home for the first time. Exciting to be sure, but when the time came to help him with his homework, I told myself I was "busy" doing "work." What was I doing? Answering an email and checking my app's Facebook page. *Facepalm*
This is something I really don't want my kids to remember about me. A guy who was too busy or just didn't care enough to actually parent. I love my kids. I really do. I work very hard to provide for them, but what really matters more is that I lay aside my pride and hubris and get to the job of parenting first and worry about other "busy work" later.
Will this be difficult? Absolutely. I am a control freak and want to get things under control as soon as they pop up. I have a wonderful 5-year-old, however, who needs help with his shapes, and that is causing me more joy than playing at being "busy."
For some this might be self-evident, and to them I might appear to be a self-obsessed dweeb, but to them I would say that just like everyone, I am a work in progress and have to learn things just like they have had to in their lives. I guess I wasn't blessed with the natural "common sense parenting gene." I am learning at least though, and want to be the best parent I can be, and no one is perfect, least of all me.
So, parents, take some time to teach a new word, shape or math equation to your child. They will learn more from you than in the classroom anyway, because they love you and want you to be around, even if they don't always act like it.
Stick with the grind, but enjoy being a parent. Have a great day.