Being a father is not just about being given the opportunity to raise and take care of kids. It’s much, much more. We don’t bring children into this world out of a sense of reproductive duty or obligation. We bring them into this world to love them and share our lives with them. The days where the mother would assume child-rearing activities with the father’s responsibility being purely financial are dead and gone. Nabil Rostom, the entrepreneurial businessman and co-founder of Jumpsuite, made a conscious decision when he and his wife, Norshek, started a family that both parents have to be equally involved in their children’s lives. It is the only way to raise emotionally secure, happy, healthy individuals with a strong sense of family. Parenthood is impossibly hard, overwhelming, all-consuming, scary, challenging, beautiful and rewarding all at the same time. Nabil found this out when he first became a father. Here are his 10 tips for dads and parents in general to be more involved in their children’s lives:
  1. Accept the change – When Norsek and I found out we were having a child I instantly felt a wave of fear, because I knew what a huge responsibility it was and I couldn’t imagine that I would some day live up to it. At first you can only see all the changes required of you but not the beauty and happiness that goes hand in hand with having children. However, once you embrace the notion of having kids, you will realize that the fear of becoming a parent is much greater than actually becoming one. A whole new world will open up to you and you will become a different person accordingly.
  2. Your routine has to revolve around them. We went the extra mile and decided that we will be full time parents. This meant that we would even adapt our careers so that we are both able to be there equally. I know this seems impossible and sometimes it was. However, we were lucky enough that we were able to do it and it really meant the world to me. The sleepless nights, the meal preparations, the doctor appointments, the dirty diapers, the cozy showers, every moment was as magical as the one after.
  3. When you decide to be there, be there with all your mind. I see many parents with their kids but they’re not actually there or mindfully present with them. Many don’t indulge in the moment with them. I realized that they grow up really fast and the perks of being a full time parent is that you get to see the first moments and then the second and how they suddenly became better and better by the third. The first time they crawl, walk, run, or ride a bike. Be there and be present with all your heart and mind.
  4. We have a 50/50 rule meaning everything Norshek does, I have to do. All responsibilities are divided between us 50/50, no exceptions. Any given task, I have to pitch in 50% of the time… except the breast feeding part of course.
  5. We make sure that most of our meals are together as a family, at the dinner table enjoying one another’s company. One meal is sometimes eaten in front of the TV, but the main ones are together at the table talking, singing, playing etc, but without technology.
  6. Kids need routine!! Its the ultimate rule of parenting. Your life will and should revolve around them: morning routine, bed time routine, eating habits and, most importantly, involve them in as many diverse activities as you can. But don’t force them. It took us 20 times going to ballet until Tala finally completed a whole class. But we went 3 times a week and she had the option of going in or watching. That’s what routine is all about.
  7. Find new parent friends. As much as I love my old friends and they will forever remain in my heart, once you become a parent your routine and pace really changes, so expand your circle of friends to include those who are in a similar situation. You will find support, your kids will have company, you will share great moments together, and most importantly, you wont be burdened by the fact that you can no longer keep up with your old friends. Don’t worry, once they become parents they will join your new gang.
  8. ‘Goodnight, I’m so proud of you and I love you’ are the most important words you can say to a child. Make sure you make time everyday for their bedtime routine. Read them a story, make one up or even just sing them a lullaby.
  9. Tell them that they grow up when they learn new things and make sure that every week or every other week you provide an environment where they can explore doing new things and venture out. Join in on the fun, you will be surprised how this effects you personally and as a family. Hiking, biking, going on boat trips, kayaking, paddle boarding, arcades, parades, music schools, art classes… the list is endless if you’re looking for fun things to do.
  10. A happy wife is the key to a happy marriage and healthy kids. That is one of the most important pieces of advice I can give. The main pillar of any family is that the parents must be happy and healthy. Kids are like a sponge, so make sure you are setting the perfect example and environment to watch them develop. If you are happy, they are happy; if you are calm and loving, they will be too. It’s really simple, change yourself from within and they follow in your footsteps.