Location: The Residence, Central Park South, Manhattan
Today’s dad-hood has no precedence. Our dads wore different hats (as did our moms), and while they shared the same inclination to protect and love, today’s multidimensional dad-hood is lived in the trenches, right smack in the middle of a mixture of Diaper Genies, play dates, broccoli negotiations, conference rooms, Power Point Presentations and Pitch Decks.
Taking on today’s dad-hood and entrepreneurship at the same time isn’t a cake walk. It’s more of a wild off-road adventure through mud, puddles and Lego bricks.
As dad, and co-founder of Mr. Montrose, Frederick stands knee-deep in Lego bricks while growing a business from scratch. For Juliet’s Daddy Issue, I asked him some fatherly questions over croissants and espressos.
What’s your first memory as a dad?
Frederick: Right after Parker was born I felt all sorts of happy, all sorts of proud and all sorts of panic. Here I was, dad and supposed male role model to this innocent, tiny, baby blob. A blob who was about to start his 18+ years of due diligence to decide if I was worth his time and investment. What if he’d get buyer remorse around age 8 because I’m not the Ninja-Assassin-Jedi-Dad I’m supposed to be? What if he’d find out that I’m just dad with zero statistical significance in the arena of “cool sports.” So, my first memory as a dad is holding Parker and promising him that I’d do my best to be my best self every single day,…and I’d learn how to make the best Mac & Cheese ever.
Has fatherhood changed your entrepreneurial focus?
Frederick: I remember staring at a newborn Parker sleeping soundly in his crib, and for the first time in my life I felt this overwhelming need to protect him (from floods and famine to white shark attacks and lead paint toy recalls), my family, our life together. His safety, and basic and emotional needs took absolute precedence over almost anything else. And for some reason, that mentality transferred to my business as well. It became easier for me to push for better deals, be more proactive about protecting the best interests of the company. My focus shifted from immediate gains to living a fulfilling life that includes the professional satisfaction that comes with knowing that you have a positive impact on your family, community, and the world. I guess you can say that fatherhood made me more decisive, determined and more empathetic as an entrepreneur.
Also, being a dad improved my persuasive skills through debating the benefits of eating two pieces of veggies a day with a pretty tough opponent with pretty sophisticated arguing techniques: “There are no benefits, daddy, broccoli is stupid and tastes like a rotten leaf. An asparagus looks like it has hair, and even sounds like yuck. I can’t eat peas. I have a headache. It’s because of all the vegetables. I’m not a Brachiosaurus. I’m a meat eater kind of guy.”
How do you combine fatherhood and entrepreneurship?
Frederick: Entrepreneurship can be a tough grind but it also adds a dose of freedom to dad-hood. It allows me to leave the office to join Parker’s sports or school events, dentist or doctor’s appointments, and Parker often joins me in the office for lunch or just to play and have a chat with everybody.
What is the best part about being a dadpreneur?
Frederick: Building a business from scratch gives me the opportunity to teach Parker the financial, emotional and intellectual rewards of business, leadership skills, and accountability. As his dad I’m able to make him a part of the company I’m building and help him understand what it means to have a passion for and integrity in what I’m doing, and that a fail, or a mistake, isn’t the end of the road, it’s an opportunity to change for the better. To watch Parker grow into his own entrepreneurial growth mindset (adaptive to change, determined, gritty, passionate), is a pretty amazing journey, so far.
For this dadpreneur, D.A.D. stands for Driven And Dedicated. Both at home and in the office. Hats off to him and to all dads out there on this month’s Father’s Day and any other day!