Last week, as I reflected upon this blog’s shining moments from the year that went by, I realized I had many things to be happy about: an international following of readers, some pretty active followers, and precious personal time of people spent reading the stuff I write. A true blessing indeed! But one particular point on my gratitude list matters to me more than the rest.
Im deeply grateful for all the traction this blog is gaining, but I’m left speechless and at awe every time I receive a message through the Contact Form from someone; be it a Mom or a Dad, Parents are slowly but steadily beginning to reach out: to communicate, to chat, to comment privately on something I wrote, to send me feedback, to send me feelings and reflections, to seek connection.
This is the most powerful and rewarding part of my journey with Project Mamager: the people I get to connect with along the way. The stories we get to share. The similarities. The Analogies. The Debates.
This is the reason why it seemed fitting to kick-off this new decade of openness, togetherness and gratitude with a very special “How He Does It” interview from Adam Goodsearls, Learning Partner at Multiplex.
Adam was the first person ever to reach out to Project Mamager, eager to voluntarily share his Parenting story. Up until that point, I was in the habit of cold emailing my connections, asking if they wanted to participate. But Adam’s message signaled to me that this dynamic was changing. And it is: Parents have been messaging ever since, requesting to open up, to share their stories!
I’m so grateful and happy that Adam reached out: I got to briefly chat with a fellow comrade whose kid had a rough time sleeping, and his practice with the 15 minute soothing intervals exchange (that you will read about soon) resonated so much with our own experience! I am equally thankful for his patience too: I took my time to publish his interview, but I was saving it for this occasion!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Currently I’m a learning partner for Multiplex, a premier global construction company. I own the development of our Technical and SHEQ (Safety, health, environmental and quality) capability. I work with those areas of the business to solve their problems and improve performance.
Me and my wife Libby have recently become parents to a lovely daughter, Ruth, who’s now 15 months old, and we live in Kingston-upon-Thames, London.
My superpower (and passion) is helping people and organisations develop. I love learning and developing my own skills, and helping others do that gives me the warm and fuzzies! Outside of work I’ve recently become an enterprise adviser for the Greater London Authority where I help develop schools’ career strategies.
Stemming from your personal experience, what is the toughest part of being a Dad, and how do you manage it?
The toughest part of being a Dad is when my daughter’s upset and I can’t do anything to solve her problems. To manage it, me and my wife have to work together. Sharing the responsibility and the pressure you can experience as a new parent makes such a massive transition possible.
As an example, like most babies, my daughter found it really difficult to go to sleep. For about 3 months we used to have 1-2 hours of inconsolable screaming every night. Any parent will know listening to your child cry is a harrowing experience so we needed to share it so we could cope. We used to do 15 minute shifts with her, calming her down, encouraging her to go to sleep and sometimes just listening to her cry, but it was all we could do to help her adjust to her new surroundings.
Who is (are) your go-to person(s) when you need support as a Father? What type of support are you mostly in need of?
My wife, fellow dads, fellow mums, Apps and Insta. (#weanin15 haha!)
The support varies, sometimes I just need to know what to do in a situation or what to expect. When I was weaning Ruth I just needed to know how to get started, the do’s and don’ts, and what kit to buy so the bounty app and instagram was really helpful for that.
When the “mom guilt” sets in or I get worried about her development, sometimes I just need to share that with other mums and dads or with my wife. Talking about their kids and what they went through helps me worry less and lets me know that every baby is different, and they all progress at their own pace. At least I’m yet to meet an adult who hasn’t had their baby teeth yet!
What’s the No1 Skill (or Ability, or Knowledge) you have found handy in your role as a Dad?
The most important skill as a new dad is to learn to “check your ego at the door”.
As adults a lot of things drive us that we’re not always aware of; status, power, money etc. But none of those things matter to kids.
I led Ruth’s weaning and for a while how much she ate and how she ate it really mattered to me because I felt it reflected how “good” I was at being a Dad. I’d take it personally if she didn’t like the food I’d made or if she’d spit it out after I gave it to her.
But kids aren’t like that. When I saw it for what it was, a momentary feeling, I could stop being stubborn and try new things. That often had a better effect on both me and Ruth than sticking at the same thing!
What advice do you have for a new Father?
My advice would be to do what you can to take some time off with your new baby.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have 5 months with Ruth, and it’s been some of the best times of my life. I’ve learned a ton about her and about myself, and it’s really helped my relationship with my wife because I’ve been able to truly understand what it’s like to have sole responsibility for my daughter. Trust me you won’t regret it!