All Eggs in one Basket

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A Mum and an Accountant last blog post got me thinking about all eggs in one basket.

Just Lilac1's blog title says to me that her time is spread between these two key areas of child care and her career. Before I go on, please note this blog post is in no way of criticism of Lilac1 blog posts.

If I had a children I just wonder what it have looked liked if my blog title was A Dad and an Accountant? I do not think it would have gone down well with the readers. The key reason for this is as a male I am not expected to be the key child carer trying to balance child care with a career. Of course there is a very good reason for this, which is most men do not do the juggling act.

Most men tend to have all their eggs in one basket. I think that is what is expected of us. Generally it is not sexy for a guy to say I am trying to build a career with challenges of child care? More likely unsaid response from others would be - what a wimp?

I think it is best not to have all my eggs in one basket. It means I need to find something else in case the practice world does not work out?

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21st Jan 2013 09:24

Caveman attitude?

Most reasonable people (regardless of sex[***]) would see this as someone doing their best, within their current situation, to care for their children, regardless of whether it is the man or the woman caring for the kids.

If the woman has the better paid job, or the job that has the better prospects, then it is sensible for the man to take over the childcare, unless they are both happy for the children to be cared for by other family, or professional child carers.

Don't worry about what people think. Be true to yourself, and what makes you happy.

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21st Jan 2013 10:29

Men juggle as well

At the moment, my wife is the full-time and main carer for our kids (aged 11 and 5, growing far too quickly.)  Because of this, she also has time for other bits and pieces - helping at a toddlers club at our church, being a school governor etc.  She stays busy.  Her doing this is a decision we both made.  Fortunately we're able to do it financially (thank you, accountancy career), and although we've made some sacrifices (a second salary would be nice), it works best for us and we have, we think, a good life.

I'm responsible for pulling in the pennies, and as such I'd argue that I'm probably the one that has to juggle a bit more.  I want to be able to collect my son from school sometimes, attend parent 'evenings' that can start anywhere from 3.30 onwards, do school runs when wife is sick, go to Christmas and Summer concerts, spend time with them during school holidays. 

Running my own small practice gives me more flexibility than I could ever dream of in a standard job, but also means that I'm never really off duty.  Technology assists greatly with this (email, Blackberry, call answering services), but has led to a nervous tick whereby I'm checking the blackberry for flashing red lights every minute or so.

If I stay as I am, I know this will always be the case.  Only if I expand and build a system-driven business with capable team members, can I leave the office and completely switch off.  Or go on a month-long holiday to America or Australia (it WILL happen one day, I tell you.  It WILL.)

All of the above is simply to point out that, men or women, we all juggle to some extent.  The trick is to not let one part of your life dominate to the detriment of another.

Now you'll have to excuse me.  It's ten days to go to the end of January, I'm working from home instead of the office because of snow, and my son wants to go sledging.  (Hosted desktop solutions are looking very good from where I'm sitting at the moment.)


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21st Jan 2013 11:25

Another view of being in business

My family are my main drivers, followed by my interests. And I learned the hard way to put family first.

To all of you who think that the way to have more life is to grow your business and have more staff and systems, you are wrong. 

I have built a large practice (sole prac doing £3mill) and I have signed up to do this again, and I have worked with others who have built huge businesses (one chap I have worked for went from £0 to £800 million net worth in 15 years) and the bigger your business, the smaller your world, and the more work you have to do and the less opportunity you have to live.

Yeah, the work may no longer be ticking up bag fulls of crap, but its still work.

At the height of my first round, I outsourced everything (laundry, housecleaning, car washing, gardening, cooking, child care and birthday presents) worked 15 hours a day, 6-7 days per week, 50 wks a year and did nothing but work as even my hobbies became entwined with taking people out or meeting them to play golf (which I hated) or watching football at a box of a team I did not support.

We all need dreams, and in a weird twisted way, I came back to this life after 5 years because I kind of miss it, but know what you are getting yourself involved with. Growth is not the answer. Accept that you want a lifestyle business. Live the life it creates. Do things which are to you, fun. Don't believe that 50 staff, city centre offices, aston martins and a bank balance will solve everything they will not.

I am not sure if I wrote this or read it, but when I quit in 2008 I came across this in a note book in my hand writing:

"Without desire everything is sufficent

Only by seeking do things become poor

And whilst plain vegetables will sooth hunger

Myriad things creates more"


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21st Jan 2013 15:10

Be true to yourself

I agree with Shirley that you shouldn't care what other people think.

I also disagree with you when you suggest you shouldn't have all your eggs in one basket. You should work at something wholeheartedly. When you decide on a career path it is sensible to consider what affect failure would have and sometimes consider alternatives that wouldn't lead to absolute disaster but by trying to do more things in case of failure will make failure more likely.

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21st Jan 2013 16:25

Things are changing

My kids & step-kids are in their late 20s early 30s and whilst as yet, childless, we're anticipating grandparenthood in the next year or two.  All 4 are in "fast lane" jobs or business but they and their partners/spouses (well 3 of them anyway) are far more tuned into a healthy balance of work & home and I have no doubt that sharing the childcare or even swapping the traditional role mentioned above, will not be questioned, it will happen if it makes sense.

When I was their age I let the business come first, with classic consequences, I just can't see it happening with the next lot.

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22nd Jan 2013 09:42

Flattered, not offended!
I think that there are generally more women than men who are in charge of childcare at the moment but it wasn't meant to be an exclusive blog just about mothers. It is just about me I guess. And I have had responses from fathers who do juggle childcare and career, well just one so far. I think being focussed on one thing is good too. Even before I became a mum, I was wondering where to take my career and I still haven't decided to be honest, but setting up my own practice seems to give me the flexibility I want at the moment. I have to say, the kids grandparents have been very helpful too.

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22nd Jan 2013 09:30

I'm more of an animal person than a child person

When I saw parents leaving their children with grandparents I thought the parents were being selfish and imposing on their grandparents.

Now my wife's daughter brings her puppy to me and my wife before she goes to work and picks her up on the way home and we couldn't be happier about the arrangement!

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