Pretty much everything I wear screams “dad,” whether it’s my Rod Laver Adidas or any one of my dual-purpose work/golf half-zips. There’s no denying I’m a dad, and I have the terrible jokes to prove it (Why aren’t the elephants allowed at the pool anymore? They kept dropping their trunks).
When my wife and I had our first child, I had just been a part of the sale of Offermatica to Omniture in 2007. The integration was in full swing, so it was a very busy time. Even eight years ago at Omniture, the culture Josh James created was one that celebrated employees and their families. At the time, even as a new parent and new employee, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now.
Now, with three kids, my free time has changed drastically. I can’t get extra work done on the weekends like I did 10 years ago. My priorities have changed, and it’s now family first, work second. In California, especially, people are becoming parents later in life. I want to live as long as possible, not just so I can shoot my age on the golf course, but so I can have as much time on earth as possible with my kids.
And while the last 10 years might’ve put some gray hairs on my head, I’m lucky that in that time, advancing technologies have allowed for greater connectivity, especially for working parents who are away from home. At the Duskin household, we’re all about FaceTime. Video is so easy now, and my kids have grown up on it. It’s as close as I can get to them some days, but it usually works. And when it doesn’t, my kids can text from my wife’s phone. It was a proud papa moment the other day when I got my first text from my four-year-old daughter. It turns out she can’t really spell yet, but does know how to use the iPhone voice recognition to dictate messages.
I can’t remember the last time that my wife (whose income is just as vital to our family as my own) or I did laundry or went grocery shopping. We use Wash.io and Instacart, and I use TrunkClub instead of shopping. In San Francisco, it’s commonplace to outsource activities such as these, all the way up to cleaning out the gutters. Would it be nice for my children to have that kind of experience like I had when I was growing up? Yes, but by outsourcing tasks, we’re able to have different and more mutually enriching experiences together.
In that respect, working parents today, and dads in particular, have the ability to work smarter—not just harder. For many of us—myself included—our partner’s income and professional success is as important as our own. The gender balance has changed dramatically from my parents’ generation to mine, and treading that new ground is a huge responsibility. If we can find tricks to make that easier, be it outsourcing tasks to using FaceTime, we’ll take all the help we can get.
Chris Duskin is VP of marketing at Extole.