Now I Pronounce You…
Father and Husband. Same company, same coworker, same direct report, two different roles.
I haven’t been seeing the two as different actually. Not until recently. Not until the days when my marriage life started to become gloomy and the agree-to-disagree situation keeps piling. Not after a few tragedies compel us to abandon love and be skeptical to each other. There’s a broken relationship, it’s obvious. But on daily basis, we have good communication, planning and executing things for the family.
So there’s harmony. There’s also disharmony. So what is this, actually? That’s when I kinda realize. I have two roles. A husband and a father.
As a husband, my role is to be the partner of my wife in venturing her life. Seeing her through her career, her passion, and her spiritual and personal needs. In that context, I understand that I’m extremely below standard. I failed to build a cheerful, trustworthy, beneficial relationship with my wife.
As a father, my role is to be the partner of my wife in raising a proper family. Build a safe life for the members, prepare for the future necessities, and make sure the basic needs are fulfilled. In that context, I am not so lousy. It’s a rocky road but I’ve been able to perform and cooperate well with my wife to nurture our daughter.
Contemplating the start of my 30+ life, I’d to give those roles performance some scores. My current score for the father role: Good. And my current score for the husband role: Bad.
Now for the new decade, I need to set up OKRs.
Objective: Upgrade to the Next Maturity Level
KR1: Upgrade Father score from Good to Great
KR2: Keep Husband score from becoming Toxic
KR1: Great Father
It’s a great challenge and I’m quite obsessed with this. As a product manager, our child is the single most important product that we need to pay real attention to. I’ve built vision for products. Implement framework. Measure things. Why shouldn’t I do the same for my child? Hence this KR, a framework implemented to start planning things strategically.
Few user insights that I’ve observed: she started to become more demanding, crying for things that she wants. More emo too. She also started to stop doing her puzzle halfway and not really learning some new skills. She started to develop likeness to object but not sure if she has a hobby yet. She’s going to be 3, her formal education will be starting soon.
Here’s my initiative.
Morning stand-up session. To have a more reflective, deep thinking baby, that will dare to solve tough problems and be iterative in her actions to perform better. This retro session is a session where we’re gonna talk about what happened yesterday and the meaning of it. Through that, we will see how we can do things better and try to shape a preferred value that we will keep in the future.
Also, we’re gonna talk about what happy things that we want to do today and what important things that we should learn.
Build an exemplary habit. Lead by example. I don’t have the best of habits now so I’ll start some new ones that can act as an example.
First, daily workout and a few times a week cycling. Sport is important and the habit should start as soon as possible. Secondly, reading. I neglected this activity for a few weeks now and I need to establish this routine so she can see reading as normalcy.
Have fun with a hobby. She hasn’t started to have one yet, but showing her to do things that bring fun can be a good start to help her understand her passion. I don’t have any particular hobby. I watch movies a lot, play games, but that’s not a hobby. That’s what I do to kill time. I think I’ll start gardening. Taking care of things might be a good way to show that humans are powerful and we need to use our power to nurture others.
Be a smart parent, read books. More and more reading books. My wife is better than me on this. A lot of literature is here at my house, but I’m too focused on reading work-related stuff. I should try to at least read before making decisions. Picking schools, picking toys, need to have a reference for those.
KR 2: Not Toxic Husband
Actually, I’m already toxic.
Me and my wife. We’ve gone through not just one, but multiple worst times. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger they say. Yet, ours were so dark that currently whatever happened, our current feeling and issues, they don’t seem to be reversible. The future is bleak, we don’t expect anything rosy.
But the silver lining is, after going through some discussions, we committed to be a professional father and professional mother and stay away from being a jerk husband and jerk wife.
So for that, here’s the list of initiatives:
Respect each other passion and support it. Learn stuff related to her life goals. If we can’t do this, how awful we are. I’ve been so bad at this for the last few years and I committed to fixing it. I re-read the manifesto from Lean In a few months ago and I renew my spirit of feminism. For her to step up, I need to step down. We’re equal in our marriage and I’ll be supporting her in reaching her annual goals.
While on that, be a better listener. Start a bi-weekly discussion. It’s the core value that we need to establish. An ear to hear is better than a mouth to shout. Respect grows from empathy. Empathy starts with listening. Also a thing that I neglected these past few years. A bi-weekly discussion session will help this. A session where listening is the only norm.
— — — — — —
So there they are. My notes and my initiatives for my first 3 headed age.
To you my current wife. I’d like to say a deep sorry. Bad things that I’ve done can’t be undone. Our feeling might not grow back. But keep being a best friend for each other is one thing that we can depend on. As it is the best thing that we’ve been having in our relationship for the last 13 years.
We don’t know what the future holds even though we keep on guessing them. God is a masterful director. We may not be able to love each other anymore, but we should be able to not hate each other. We may be disappointed from time to time, but we should be able to give support all the time.
I know what I’ve written here might be extremely naive. But here’s a cheer for a hopeful tomorrow. Let’s wish we can support each other to be the best possible version of ourselves.
And to my daughter. Hey, the future is exciting, isn’t it? I’ll always be with you as long as I breathe. And I’m gonna make sure you have a highly functioning, loving mother too. Let’s keep growing, shall we? I’ll give you something to learn, and you teach me your wisdom. We keep on improving ourselves until we die.
Future, can’t wait to see you. 30 here I come.