The days of the father being the sole bread earner, spending the majority of his time away from his family are thankfully limited.
The modern man can now have his cake and eat it, a career and time spent with the family. This is down to a bunch of factors. Arguably, the Internet is the main reason why fathers, like myself, now have the freedom to work in a way which would have been unconventional just a decade ago.
The Internet allows me to work from my home studio, on my own schedule and with a worldwide reach. This has secured me clients in Singapore, the United States and beyond. Not only is the Internet my marketing director, it also functions as my retail manager, accountant and customer service assistant. It’s like magic. Time is a limited resource, so anything that saves me time and helps me scale is priceless.
Let’s be clear, whilst the Internet is great and it allows Chop Knives to grow, it doesn’t do the work. It doesn’t physically make product. I am not about to be replaced by a robot just yet.
So whilst I have the freedom to work on my own schedule, I still juggle with being a parent that is present whilst also providing for my family. Thankfully, my studio is located within my home so I am within nappy whiffing distance from my little sleep preventers.
This sounds like a dream but it does present a problem. Being so close to the twins does mean that I can get sucked into domestic life when I should be working. This requires discipline (and a very understanding and capable wife) and at times I struggle getting this balance right. I want to see the first steps, I want to help with the feeds and I want my children to know that papa is around.
The problem I have is the makers urge; the compulsion to make. There is also the fact that money needs to be made; but putting that aside, and even if I had unlimited money, I would still have the urge to make. It is this urge that keeps me awake at night, gets me rushing out of bed in the morning and is what I’m thinking about whenever my wife catches me staring into the distance. It’s a sickness which I hope there is no cure for.
So whilst I feel incredibly fortunate that we live in an age where this lifestyle is possible, it is still difficult. The temptation of a baby cuddle is just seconds away and the guilt of being absent can’t be fixed by the Internet or a new fangled app. I think the previous generation may think that us GenX/millennials have it easy, maybe we have.
We just have different struggles.