Welcome Ajit Jain, our Lead Dad of the Week, who lives close to his son outside of Swarthmore, PA, and commutes for his job in #finance.
Ajit is a single Lead Dad, part of the 18 percent of Lead Dads in America who are divorced, widowed, or otherwise single. And he has structured his career and life around being close to his son and former spouse.
“I used to never take time off – I was the guy who was at work 7 am to 9 pm and I’d sometimes stay up all night,” said the @Columbia_Biz #MBA graduate. “When my son was born, I remember holding this child. He’s my son, I thought. I want to spend time with him. I didn’t want to go back to work.”
And then he did something in 2014 that wasn’t common for men working in finance: “I took a week off,” he said. “In hindsight, it was too short. I learned lessons from what I could do better. But the finance industry back then wasn’t very understanding of fathers taking time off.”
“I learned that #fatherhood requires more time and commitment to the child but also to the mother of the child,” he said. “Finance at the time wasn’t supportive of fathers.”
It’s not been easy since the couple filed for divorce in 2017. There are preconceived notions about what men as single fathers can do. Ajit said he faced added bias from the divorce court where the judge had a negative view of men from Brazil. “I had to tell him I was from India,” Ajit recalled.
But he persisted and now has a great arrangement with his son’s mother to be an active Lead Dad in the boy’s life. When asked what he would tell his 2013 pre-parent self today, he had three pieces of advice for all Lead Dads:
1) Whatever we think the worst thing is going to be, it’s not going to play out that way 99 percent of the time.
2) There’s a need for balance between work and parenting but also rest and other things to recharge.
And 3) Routines make a huge difference in productivity and mental well-being.
“I’m starting to find a very good balance.”
Welcome Ajit to The Company of Dads!