Kids and work
I got an email from a woman last week who is embarking on a new journey starting a fund with three kids under the age of 4. When a woman tells you about their new entrepreneurial venture and then tosses in the addition of 3 kids who are still at home, it might seem daunting, but you have to follow that burning desire to build something and do something that you can call your own.
The question that comes to mind is why should women be held back in their careers and entrepreneurial instincts just because they have children? Men can’t have children but they should be as engaged as women in the responsibilities that come with raising children. That is one of the reasons I am a big fan of equal paternity leave for fathers. If men are home with their kids from the onset for the same amount of time as their wives then they will feel the same type of connection and responsibility to their children. This goes for same-sex partners too. Everyone needs to be home to bond early and that will carry forward as the family grows. It isn’t about sitting around and watching them sleep, feeding them, and changing their diapers the first 3 months, it is about emotional bonding.
I spoke at an event this past week and was asked about how we raised our children to have the relationships we have with them as adults. This was a room of people from the tech industry. The answer is simple family first. You can start a company, you can work like a dog but family always comes first. Companies come and go but family is always there and they should be treated with that in mind. And as leaders of companies, you should convey that message to the people that work for you. You will create a happier environment and a loyal workforce.
I made a conscious decision from day one of having our first child, that our family came first. It has worked for us, it has worked for them, it has worked for me and it did not hold back our careers if anything it made them much better.