At Baby Hero we believe parenthood is one of the great threads running through society, allowing us to connect across nationalities, languages, and ethnicities. In our Hero Parent series, we interview mothers and fathers around the world about their experiences becoming and growing as parents.
Meet Hero Parent and serial entrepreneur Colin Baker who ended a 20 year career in finance trading Equity Derivatives to focus on business interests that currently span luxury property developments, a private jet charter, pan-Asian budget hotels and several e-commerce start-ups. In this candid interview, Colin talks about his toughest project yet - being father to 10-month old Max, his best tip for work-at-home parents and the funniest moment thus far!
I spent most of my adult life thinking that I wouldn’t have children. We were both working and having way too much fun in Tokyo which is where we met, to give it much thought. We were the classic ‘Double Income No Kids’. It wasn’t something we’d always talked about doing and I honestly wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Lots of my friends have children so I’d heard all of the stories, good and bad, but I think I knew deep down that it’s something you have to experience to really know what it’s like.
He arrived a little earlier than planned, and we most certainly hadn’t read all the books, but that was actually part of our plan. I’ve seen parents who have it all mapped out and that can be setting yourself up for trouble when things don’t go ‘according to plan’. Having so many attentive maternity nurses around us in those first few days made all the difference. I can’t say enough good things about the staff at the hospital – they were there when we needed them and held our hands showing us how to do stuff you take for granted like bathing, feeding and changing nappies. If we’d gone straight home with Max and were left to work it out for ourselves I think it would been a much more nerve racking first few days.
Max with offerings of rice cakes at his Baek-il (100th-day celebrations)
We’ve both been away from home for so long that culturally we feel like international citizens and in fact home at this point could well be Asia as much as the UK or the US (where Sammi spent her high school and early working years). When it comes to raising Max I suspect that he’ll be a product of where we’re living and the people he interacts with as much as our backgrounds. I’m happy for him to be exposed to so many different cultures and hopefully he’ll absorb the best parts from all of them and start a culture of his very own!
For sure the focus changes, but I can honestly say that it hasn’t negatively affected it, and I certainly hope Sammi feels the same way! We were very spontaneous in those wonderful pre-baby years and for sure we don’t go out as much or perhaps in the same way as we used to, but having Max as our top priority introduces a facet to your relationship whereby I think you care for each other more, not less, because you are aware of the strain looking after a baby night after night can put on you so I feel we have each other’s backs more now than ever.
You’re expecting me to say sleep deprivation right? OK, yes that’s a killer, although I’ve never been a good sleeper anyway. I actually think the toughest part is endurance. I don’t know what he’s powered by but like all babies if he’s not fast asleep he needs constant attention. Energising and fun when he’s playing, emotionally draining if he’s crying, then all the stuff in between, but he needs your attention constantly. Cats are definitely easier to look after!
I don’t think this can be a yes or no answer as it depends on so many different factors which will be unique to the individual. For me it’s absolutely the right thing, I wanted to be my own boss and set my own schedule, and whilst I made the decision years before Max’s arrival I am very happy that I’m at home with him. I should qualify this by pointing out that we have been very lucky with a wonderful nanny who’s been here since day one and looks after him for most of the day. We’re effectively a three parent family and I’ll be honest, if it was only me here during the day to look after him I would not be able to get any work done until he had gone to bed in the evening. This is one of the big pluses of living in HK, the helpers make a lot of things possible which would you just wouldn’t be able to do in most of our home countries.
Schedule time with your baby in your diary the same way as you would a call or a meeting otherwise it’s too easy to get distracted and find yourself working all day.
I was filming a quick video of Max sitting in his inflatable duck to send to Sammi who was at work. He started to cough a little and then, unannounced, projectile vomited. Maybe parents aren’t supposed to find stuff like this funny but I was laughing so hard that I almost forgot to clean him up!
Confident, enthusiastic, fearless, complicated, loved.
Integrity, as that applies to many aspects of a person’s character. Sure, he’ll get up to all sorts of mischief as he grows up, I certainly did, but when he’s older I hope he’ll be able to look himself in the mirror knowing that his word is his bond and he’s someone who can be trusted and relied upon.
Baby Max, just weeks old, at the Baby Hero launch in his Zhob Onesie
I know one of the co-founders well, and I think it’s a very genuine and fair combination of business and altruism. The product is also perfectly suited to the cause. Buying clothes for your own baby or a friend’s, it catches you at a time when you are very grateful that a baby has come into this world safely. Baby Hero provides an easy and inexpensive way of helping another newborn by simply buying an essential first product - what could be more appropriate than that!