Darren Rowse of ProBlogger on Parenting – An Interview

darren rowse pictureWhat Darren Rowse is famous for is blogging but this article is none about that.

In this interview, we get up close and personal with the guy who founded one of the world’s Top 100 blogs – Problogger.net – on being a stay at home dad, his toddler son, and family life. According to Technorati, Darren’s blog is currently at the 24th spot. Besides Problogger, the Australian is also the co-founder of b5media, a network of more than 100 blogs.

Enjoy the interview!

1) You work from home and many parents want to be stay at home dads too. Would you encourage them to do so and what advice do you offer them?

I have found working at home to be a rich and wonderful experience in my first year of fatherhood – however I suspect that it wouldn’t be for everyone because at times it can be challenging also.

The challenges come on two fronts:

a. The temptation not to work. When your wonderful little boy is in the next room doing things for the first time (smiling, rolling over, crawling, walking and talking) it’s very tempting to abandon work and spend a lot of time with your family.

b. The temptation to ignore family. On the other hand, when a crisis hits at work the temptation is to immerse yourself in that at the expense of family.

I guess the advice would be to think carefully about boundaries and how you communicate them to your family. I’ve developed a bit of a signal system for my wife to signal that I’m at work and can’t be interrupted (unless it’s really important), when I’m working and it’s OK to interrupt etc. It’s taken us a while to find our rhythm on this but it seems to work.

2) What’s your biggest parenting mistake and what did you do to rectify it?

I’m not sure yet. I’m sure I’ve made some – but there’s not been anything too major yet.

3) How do you balance between your work and family and how much time do you spend with your family? Also what are your favorite family activities?

I try to set aside time every day to spend time with my son and wife. It’s not always easy for this to be extended time – but one of the things I’ve tried to do more and more is go for walks. Sometimes we go as a whole family and other times it’s just me and my son. We tend to go to the park or a local cafe. I also block out significantly longer times on the weekend and then take longer week long breaks throughout the year for holidays.

4) What’s the best way to teach children about business and money?

My son’s probably a little too young for this but looking back at my own experience as a child my parents gave us pocket money and gave us incentive to earn more by doing jobs. I remember from a young age saving money, keeping a ledger to help budget and working towards goals. This is the type of thing we hope to do with our family.

5) The biggest problem you ever faced as a father and how did you overcome it?

So far it’s probably been the work life balances. Before becoming a Dad I was a real workaholic. These days I’m much more balanced, however the temptation is always there to work stupidly long hours. The best way to combat this so far is to allow friends and family to keep me accountable to not working such long hours.

6) You have a one year old son. What’s your advice for new parents?

We worked hard at getting ourselves into a routine in the early days of his life. We had a fairly structured sleeping and feeding plan that worked very well for us and got him sleeping through the night after just a month or two. This enabled us all to be well rested and able to cope with the extra pressures of life. I’m sure this is partly good luck but we did work hard in those early days to get him settled into this routine on the advice of friends.

7) If there’s only one thing, what would be the best gift you give to your child?

Probably time. I was fortunate to have a father who worked close to home (and at home for periods of time). While he was a busy man he was very actively involved in our lives growing up and I appreciated this and this has been one of the main reasons that I’ve tried to structure my life similarly.

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