The four lessons I’ve learnt from being a dad

lessons I’ve learnt from being a dad orange wealth michael chew

August 29, 2017 The four lessons I’ve learnt from being a dad

Being a dad.

Where do you even begin?

It’s a mix of being the most amazing experience and the most challenging at the same time.

In fact, it’s difficult to put it all into words, actually.

Parenthood’s something that you don’t fully appreciate until you experience it.

The joys, the trials, the tribulations, the challenges – things you can experience together all in the space of half-an-hour.

As clichéd as it sounds, to say that becoming a parent is life changing is an understatement.

And I mean that in the most positive way.

My wife and I have two daughters.

One’s three, the other turns one this weekend. It’s been a busy few years, between becoming parents and me getting the business off the ground.

Challenging? Totally. Rewarding? Absolutely.

To be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I actually can’t remember our lives without kids.

A mate of mine (who doesn’t have kids) asked me the other day: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt since becoming a parent?

I rattled off a couple of things, but it really is a tricky one to answer, particularly if you’re put on the spot.

Which got me thinking, hence why you’re here reading this article.

In fact, there are a few things I’ve discovered since becoming a parent, having two children under four notwithstanding.

Before I get to them – and there are four key ones – the one point I’ll make is that the biggest thing I’ve discovered is that it’s far better to focus on a few things, rather than spreading yourself across a multitude of things.

For me, that’s family, business and health, which I’m sure you’ve heard me say before.

It’s really a case of learning to make trade-offs and, importantly, prioritising.

Four lessons I’ve learnt from being a dad

Work’s not the be all and end all

My family comes first. No question.

Sure, work is important, but it should never be to the detriment of your family.

Gone are the days where I felt like a slave to my career. In saying that, my work ethic’s actually stronger now than it was in my corporate days.

It’s more focused, and the reason why that is, is that I’m now really finely attuned to building the future we want for our children and for my wife and I.

All I can say is that nothing makes you more laser-sighted than being a dad.

I’m way more capable than I thought I was

Which was something I discovered once I worked out what trade-offs I needed to make and start prioritising my time.

To be fair, you don’t really have a choice but to prioritise – averaging four to six hours a night sleep over a month will do that to you.

Again, it’s the focus that being a dad gives you.

I’ve been able to balance family, business and my wealth in a way that I don’t think I ever would have been capable of, pre-children.

In fact, it blows me away how much I can actually get done in a day – all while striking a genuine work-life-balance.

You become more conscious of time away from your family

Jason and I have headed on interstate trips a couple of times over recent months.

The trips were very fruitful and productive, but, while you’d think I’d been craving time away from the kids, I couldn’t stop thinking about them and couldn’t wait to get home.

In saying that, I think it’s really important to take those opportunities to get some time to yourself.

What I found interesting is that, while it’s difficult to see when you’re in the throws of daily family life, being away from my wife and girls really drove home what I have and how lucky I am.

I have a newfound respect for my parents

When you’re a kid, you don’t fully appreciate what your parents give up for you.

And I’m not just talking time and money.

It’s the sacrifices they make to give us the best shot at life they can. That’s really acute for me right now, given that we’re laying the foundations, financially, to ensure we can send our girls to the school we want and give them the best education we possibly can, as well as building our family’s wealth.

I also now understand why our parents were always loath to let us have too much sugar.

If you’ve ever experienced a kids’ birthday party, you’ll know precisely what I mean!

Michael Chew
michael@orangewealth.com.au

Hi, I'm Michael!I'm a Dad, writer and finance expert.My priority is making the most of what I have for my family and finding the balance between all of life's competing priorities.

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