Kids are the future.

As a working parent, I've learned there is no such thing as work/life balance. Society is not set up to cater to the needs of todays’ parents, one who values their contribution to the world via work but values their family life more. Who seeks to create a new generation of people who are doing better than themselves.

I found out the hard way, juggling being a father of two young boys while at the helm of a fast-growing technology company. It took me a long time to move past the idea that you have to be continually working to be successful. You see, your work and your personal life aren't the same. You are not your work, and you should treat each different. I didn't know this at the time, though. It's easy to get caught up in the bullshit of life and neglect others just as crucial areas.

I doubted myself and wore a mask to the outside world. I became a caricature of myself who was optimistic and full of energy. While at home, my family experienced the worst of me. I was exhausted, angry, and frustrated. I looked for other extremes to give me some sense of feeling alive. I adopted coping mechanisms that were even more isolating and detrimental to my most important relationships. I became terrible in constructively articulating my ideas, which led to more frustration, pushing everyone away. Most regrettably, my family.

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." - Leo Tolstoy

There was a lot of guilt. I was failing my family and, most of all, myself. I felt ashamed of who I had become. It was time for a hard reset. I've learned that it's almost impossible to find a healthy way to interact with the world around us without knowing ourselves. Without taking the time to figure it out, we can't have a foundation to build the rest of our lives on.

I choose to leave the company I had founded a decade before and took that time. I'm aware of the privilege I have, to be able to do so. I'm also mindful of how many people don't share that privilege. I was afraid for the times ahead, a good dose of insecurity combined with the lack of experience in raising kids. It took nearly two years to get my family and myself in a better place. To get aligned, to build a home where we work together in creating a safe environment.

I was learning to think outside of my upbringing. I wasn't prepared for the most crucial role in my life and wanted to set an example at home; that family came first. Therefore I was looking for the tools that would help me along my journey.

"Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them." - James Baldwin

Unfortunately, understanding the importance of early childhood development isn't common knowledge for many people, myself included. Research shows that the first seven years of a child's life set the stage for their future growth. Physical and mental health, educational attainment, and the capacity for mutually rewarding social relationships are all part of that.

As you embark on the journey of parenting, you quickly learn things about yourself. You know how much healing of your inner child needs to happen. You start to pay more attention to your internal dialog. You have a better understanding of how you think and process ideas. When you begin to share these ideas, the transmission of them eventually becomes second nature.

"There is no such thing as a perfect parent, so just be a real one." - Sue Atkins

I'm not alone here. Parents today are raising their children against a backdrop of increasingly diverse and, for many, constantly evolving family forms. Modern parenting's relentlessness makes it hard for parents to stay together as they face increasing societal pressure. Approximately 50 percent of American children will witness the breakup of a marriage. In Europe, one in three couples split up before their first born turns three years old. Research on the effects has shown children of divorced parents suffer physical and emotional trauma, stunting their full potential.

"From pregnancy through early childhood, all of the environments in which children live and learn, and the quality of their relationships with adults and caregivers, have a significant impact on their cognitive, emotional and social development." - Jack P. Shonkoff

There's a wave of new parents in need of better solutions to age-old parenting problems. It would help if you had all the time and support to create a loving and safe environment for your children, establish a deep connection, and nurture their development. Parenting isn't a job you can give up on. That's is why I started Adelee, inspired by the Adélie penguin. These animals are unique because they always work in tandem, each leaving for 12-day shifts at a time to eat. At the same time, the other protects and incubates the eggs in sub-zero Antarctic conditions. 

Together with a group of talented people, we embarked on a journey to reimagine parenthood. We want to empower parents to collaborate better, help them agree on a (co)-parenting approach, and support each other while raising humans. We want to help parents face their challenges positively, minimize conflict, and strengthen relationships between each other and their children. Because the way how parents interact with each other has a significant influence on children.

When parents share the responsibility equally, they're likely to feel happier, more confident, energized, and more satisfied with their family life. And to be in the best position to work as part of ateam, parents need to look after themselves and their relationship. Being a parent can be fun and rewarding, but it's also hard work with massive challenges. We won't sugarcoat it and promise to make parenting “easier”. 

"Every time a parent speaks to a young child, it sparks something in the child; it's stimulation to the child. It forms brain connections." - Dr Pia Rebello Britto

We need to take these different dynamics, backgrounds, privacy, and cultural values into account when developing this platform to truly enable parents. It will be a very demanding and challenging ride. Above all, we rather fail at something that matters than succeed at something that doesn't.

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17 September 2019