Episode 11: Sir Lunch-a-lot

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In this episode, I interview Sir Lunch-a-lot, father of 2 and someone whose job involves a lot of overseas travel and eating out! We talk about frequent work travel, flexibility as a person in a leadership role, and family teamwork. His wife Kathryn’s episode can be found here: http://www.headofacodfish.com.au/kathryn.

The Lowdown

– Family of 4
– 2 working parents
– 1 full-time
– 1 part-time
– 2 school aged children


2:42 Sleep?
2:48 A reliable 8 hours
3:14 Who are the people in your family?
3:34 What is your parenting superpower
3:50 It’s a joint effort and joint superpower
4:18 Partners parenting super powers?
4:38 Novelty factor when dad is around
4:52 Framework of expectations and behaviours
5:02 Developing independence in children
5:56 Masterchef!
6:38 Partner is better at fostering independence
6:58 I am the mother hen
7:06 How is the childcare managed
7:20 9 day fortnight and reduced hours
7:28 I do drop-offs and wife does pickups
7:36 A lot of work travel so wife does all when overseas
7:52 Stress on wife and relationship
8:00 The reality of 2 working parents with different demands
8:40 Transitions between all family home and someone away
9:16 8 weeks stint overseas
9:50 Sir Lunch-a-lot
10:20 Which country are you going to today dad?
10:30 Ability to choose your path?
10:46 Very much a team effort
11:00 Putting the kids first
11:14 Wife ends up bottom of the list
12:28 Flexibility in office work – not rigid shift work
13:16 Life would be very different without that flexibility
13:36 What works well?
13:56 School hours and weekdays are structured
14:00 Being particular about social life and weekends
14:14 Weekend kids sport
14:32 Comes at a cost
15:08 Things you learn beyond academic pursuits
15:16 Downsides
15:26 Wife misses out a lot
15:34 Work means I have to go back on home commitments previously made
16:28 Book club villain
16:36 I also would like to do more stuff outside work
17:22 Learning the guitar in your 60s
17:48 Learn a language in the car
17:52 The cheese is old and mouldy
17:58 Next steps in the evolution of family?
18:18 Greater level of independence
18:40 Wife could go back full-time
18:54 Wife has positioned herself well professionally to go back to other challenges
19:06 Not losing career momentum
19:38 Do you feel like your family responsibilities are supported at work?
19:42 Technology is great for working and family
20:16 Outsourcing domestic work, shopping deliveries
20:50 Parents have very traditional roles and couldn’t conceive online shopping
22:02 Do the people you work with understand your dual responsibilities?
22:14 In a leadership role
22:18 Open about the reason when absent for child-related reasons
22:28 Make sure productivity and outcomes speaks for itself (not hours)
22:40 Not clock watching and empowering other to focus on outcomes also
22:54 Producing a high quality of work done more important than clocking on at exactly 9 am
23:20 The difference between men and women being open about family responsibilities
23:40 Mothers hiding evidence of children
23:54 Does hiding it make is less acceptable in the workplace in general?
24:04 A bit like smokers and smoking breaks
24:40 The sickness in the first 6 months of childcare
24:50 Negotiating who takes the day off with the sick kids
25:34 Important that leaders walk the walk
25:50 Sends emails to all explaining a child-related absence
26:03 Someone in the team doing that first 6 months at childcare is going to feel much better when they have a sick child
26:14 Funny or disastrous moments?
26:20 Both parents turning up to school pick up on the same day
26:48 Is work and family what you thought it would be?
26:58 Life had always been mapped out
27:12 Throwing kids into the mix changes things a bit
27:24 How many kids? What gender balance?
27:46 Living overseas, work, babies = extra challenge
27:57 Premature babies
28:45 Taking leave when out of hospital instead of when they were born
29:26 Challenges with pregnancy and premature babies, so you want to roll that dice again?
29:46 Any advice?
30:04 Open and regular communication
30:18 Have the discussion before the child comes on the scene
30:22 Not always an easy discussion when talking about careers
30:44 Get information and look at other experiences and have an open discussion
30:48 What works for one family is going to be different to what works for another
31:18 How do we address a problem as a team, not as an individual
31:40 Ground rules and regular open communication
32:24 Falling into an arrangement without really discussing it
32:50 If you look a the big picture and map it out you would often come up with a different path
32:54 Years later feeling stuck in a part-time role
33:14 Try to have the conversation earlier!
33:42 Use examples as a framework and not a template
34:14 There are very few wrong answers, it’s OK to be doing something that seems out of step with your peers
34:40 Different generation of friends and all families are different
35:14 Make sure it is fit for purpose for what you are trying to do

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Try and make sure there is open and regular communication. So before a child comes on the scene, have this discussion as to how we are going to manage our time   When we hit speed bumps int he road, we come back to the notion of team work. We are part of a team. If there is a speed bump or a challenge that is met, it is not up to the individual to hit it and mange it, it is how do we address that as a team