Modern dads have learned to balance bringing home the bacon with living a full family life. Although dads have long been hardwired to provide financially, the satisfaction of being a breadwinner and advancing in the business world comes at a cost. I witnessed it firsthand and through a series of providential events have been finding balance in my own life, with my family.
Looking back over the past couple of years, I had a full time job, built this website, endeavored to launch my own consulting business, took in moonlighting projects, and began writing this blog in earnest. Oh yeah, I was learning the ropes of being a new father (of twins). Needless to say, I was stressed, overworked, and now seeing double.
Plan A = Adaptation
Since before our girls were born, my wife and I wanted to move to Colorado. I was building Lucas Sustainable into the kind of company that would allow me a balanced life and be the kind of work that was personally rewarding.
But moving to the Front Range is expensive. My wife works in healthcare and I knew that she would be able to land a job quickly. She also was ready to get back to work, after 2+ years of staying at home with the twins. So, while I built a practice, it would be my turn to be the stay-at-home parent - at least for a few years till the girls started school.
After working with grassroots community groups with the Oklahoma Main Street Program, I had found a unique path. I knew that I did not want to work in a traditional architecture firm again. We planned to wait until I vested in my retirement with the State of Oklahoma (Spring of 2019), and then we would sell our house and move to Colorado. We had already found a realtor in Golden and begun looking at homes in Denver-metro foothill towns.
The big surprise was when I found the perfect home during a personal trip to see my first Solar Decathlon, held in Denver for the first time. My intent was to write on these student designed/built high-performance homes, and I followed up with another in-depth article on Maryland's reACT house. This was at the peak of my writing, when I felt as if my future hinged on pouring an infinity of time into my future business. The icing on the cake was spending a day with a realtor and offering on a house.
It was unexpected when we got the house with our first offer. The market here is ridiculous. Even more surprising was when I found out several weeks later that my peer, the Main Street Architect from Colorado, was leaving his position. I watched stars align.
Plan A evaporated and Plan B has been a blur! I had to stop taking in additional moonlighting projects, this blog moved to a slow crawl, and interestingly, I began spending more meaningful time with my family. I know that part of this is due to the additional load of moving a family with 3-year old twins to another state and starting a new job with Colorado Main Street Program, but I think that the providence that got us here is still watching over us.
I think all architect parents are wired to be overachievers. Perhaps we are cast into the role in architecture school? Most architects enjoy the fact that a design can be endlessly tweaked, and that our profession commands respect. But, if we not careful, our drive to exceed expectations can result in spending more time on projects than needed, and getting bogged down in the mundane.
My family''s recent move has helped me see that work is only a part of my life. I do not live for work, but rather I work to live. The great part is that I love my work!
Equally, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to live where I used to vacation. I never imagined that I could go rock-climbing with my family after work and still be home for a late dinner. It is going to be a lot of fun raising our kids in this place.
At the heart of it all, being a father has led to the plans and changes that have risen out of the ether over the past year. I don't believe in coincidence either. God knows our heart and provides when we trust him to.
Being a father is my role, and it may be the most important job I will ever have. I love my job! Being a Father makes me feel like the luckiest man on earth!
This post contributes to #Archidads, a collaboration of practicing architect Dads that blog from all across the world. You think we would get a break for Father's Day, right? We hope you enjoy this unique post and that it gives you more insight into the multi-dimensional field of architecture...and being a Dad.
To see how the other architects responded to this theme, follow the links below.
Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
Happy Fathers Day #archidads
Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
The Dad -- The Architect
Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
#Archidad - A modern approach
Rusty Long - Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
Life as an Archidad
Jim Mehaffey - Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Mark Stephens - Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Larry Lucas - Lucas Sustainable, PLLC (@LarryLucasArch)
A Daddy Architects Work Life Blur and My Escape
Steve Mouzon - The Original Green Blog (@stevemouzon)
Fathers Day for Architects - The Empty Seat
Jared W. Smith - Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
ArchiDad on Father's Day