Father of his 1-year-old son, Chad Stamm shares his joys and challenges as a first time dad, how he incorporates his business life at home and what he does to balance it all.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a father of a 1-year-old boy and have been living in Boulder, Colorado for about six or seven years now. Prior to that, I had been living in New York for a while and loved it. It’s a very different place to live. But when my wife’s sister and mom moved to Colorado, we saw the opportunity and decided to make the move knowing that starting a family was imminent.
The lifestyle here is great and it’s a great place to raise kids. There’s a little bit of a lack of diversity in Boulder, but we hope to mitigate that by taking our kid out to travel and expose him to things. That’s a big reason why we’re here.
Also, when I was younger, my dad took me backpacking out West in the summers. Since he was a teacher, he had the summers off and we’d pile into the camper and literally drove around the West to hike and backpack in places like the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Rocky Mountain. I really fell in love
with Rocky Mountain National Park, which is about 35 miles from Boulder.
My wife and I have been married for 7 years now. We met at the University of Florida where we are proud and happy alums. We actually went back to our college town to get married and get our pictures taken across the campus, including the 50-yard line of the football field.
A couple of months after we got married, we quit our jobs in New York and traveled to Europe for six months which was how long the money we saved up lasted.
Now that you’ve been a father for a little over a year, what has changed or happened that you didn’t expect?
When were pregnant with my son, so many of our family and friends already had kids. So, everybody told us what to expect and they all had an opinion on things. But, the one thing that nobody told me about, which was the biggest surprise, was how much comedy is involved with a kid. I’m laughing constantly. There is a constant source of entertainment and I feel like I could probably write a sitcom.
What is the most recent thing your son has done that surprised you?
Apparently, he has a thing for brunettes. We were on an airplane flying back to see my family and we were sitting next a young brunette girl. My son is kind of going through the phase now where he doesn’t like
to go to anybody else but mommy and daddy. So, we were shocked to see that all my boy wanted to do was sit on her lap and crawl all over her. He just wanted to hang out with her and didn’t want to be away from her.
Then on the return flight we had a very similar experience with another younger brunette girl who was sitting across the aisle from us. My son wouldn’t stop playing peek-a-boo with her the entire flight. It was sort of weird.
What do you enjoy most about being a father?
At this point, I think just seeing the light bulb go off in his head. Understanding that he has made a connection with something whether it’s vocabulary, an emotional thing or just a sense of enjoyment. To see that light bulb go off makes all the work worth it. That’s the rewarding part, such as the first time we put him in the swing and seeing how big his eyes got. Taking him into the pool the first time and just watching him realize that he was in a much bigger bathtub than he was used to.
My wife and I really value travel and we spent a ton of our savings doing that, as opposed to other things like buying houses. I can’t wait until he gets to the point where he understands where he’s at and where he’s going. Now it’s more of the audio-visual sensory type of thing, but once he starts connecting places, I can’t wait to travel with him.
As far as the travel stuff goes, I’m an active member of Rotary International and I actually chair the Rotary Youth Exchange Committee for our club, as well as serving on the District Committee as Country Contact for Austria,Germany and Switzerland. I’m heavily involved with the Exchange Program. One thing that we want to do is expose our son to other cultures and places. He’s going to have exchange brothers and sisters from around the world, which is going to be a big part of what we do with him.
What is your biggest challenge as a father at this point?
Interestingly enough, it is balance. Especially going through this for the first time, I didn’t really understand the workload involved. Even though we have a very easy baby, he’s still a lot
of work. In addition, add the work of starting a business, I have to balance all that. The one part, which gets put on the back burner a lot, is time between my wife and I to make sure that we’re doing things that we need to do for each other.
Another challenging part is to take some time out for myself. This is something I have to encourage my wife to do more, because she’s hesitant to do that as a mother. I believe she has to take time for herself and go out, whether it’s to go running, go meet coworkers at happy hour or whatever it might be.
I’m a creative person so I know how much I value that time and I have to haveitorIgocrazy. Asahobby,Ioil paint and write fiction. That’s my time.
It’s tough for me because my office is twenty steps from my bedroom, and I have to make sure that I put that barrier up so when I walk outside my office door, it’s family time. I have to make sure what stays in the office, literally stays in the office and it doesn’t invade my private life.
That’s certainly something that I struggle to balance with especially because he’s still young and is at home during the day. Over the next year or so, we’ll start putting him into day care. Since
the very beginning, I take Tuesdays off and spend time with my son, which I call, “Tuesdays with Sharkey.” My nickname for my baby is Sharkey just because he eats everything.
Now that he’s getting older we’re starting to do more things. This past Tuesday we went for barbecue together, which is one of my favorite things in the world. My son loves art and paintings. So, we go to the Denver Art Museum and the Van Gogh Exhibit, which was pretty special for me. We took him out of the stroller and walked into this amazing exhibit of Van Gogh paintings that we had here in Denver. We walked through the doors and I started to choke up a little bit. It was kind of cool just carrying him around, and watching him stretch his arms out and make grunting noises when he sees something that he likes. Next weekend we’re going to the Rothko Exhibit, a mid-20th century painter famous for big blocks of color and juxtapositioning reds and oranges. I think it will be a good way to teach him color.
Share with us what your business is all about?
The business name is Sitters4Charities.org and we provide parents with access to babysitters, nannies and au pairs. In the process, we make a donation to one of four charities, which the parent selects when they sign up.
Between my business partner and myself, both of our wives have always encouraged us to follow our dreams. We didn’t just want to build a company, but do something that makes a difference at the same time. We want to provide a great service and a worthy product, but also give something back to the community in the process.
Especially as a new parent, you realize quickly that many times your social schedule revolves around your child care provider’s schedule. If you’re babysitter isn’t available, then you’re not going out that night. That’s just the reality of it.
When we were creating Sitters4Charities.org, I was four months into fatherhood and started to realize the value of high quality childcare.
What does living a balanced life mean to you?
As a father, I think there are different aspects. It’s about all the requirements that come with fatherhood, being a husband and being a career-minded entrepreneur while making sure I take time for myself as well. I do my best to spend equal time on all of them. Obviously, at some point, work may take over or if you have a sick baby, the childcare takes over. It’s basically about making sure that the time spent and the emotion put into those things are equal.
What are the things that you like to do that help you maintain a sense of balance in life?
Particularly in the summertime, my wife and I just like to put the baby in a stroller and take walks around town. We are about a ten minute walk up and over the hills to downtown Boulder, CO. We enjoy the walking lifestyle. It allows us to spend time as a family. As husband and wife, we can have discussions and be present, and the baby is with us.
Also, I always like to be on the move. Travel is important for us. Taking a walk around the neighborhood isn’t traveling, but it still, in some strange sense, quenches that thirst to move, look around and explore.