To mark International Men's Day this week, three of our people explain how they balance their work and personal lives and strive to be a positive role model to their children.
21 November 2019
In this final article, Keith Pearse, Mourant LP Partner and Chief Operating Officer, shares why becoming a father later in life gives him a very particular perspective.
I believe the nature of fatherhood has changed quite significantly in recent years, as has the concept of the traditional family. The role of the father has noticeably transformed since my childhood.
I've fond memories of being a kid, but my family was very traditional in that my Mum was a stay-at-home housewife, while my Dad got up in the morning, caught the train and went to the City of London, then came back at 6pm clutching the evening paper to find his dinner waiting on the table.
From where I sit now, both my wife, Danielle, and I have had quite long and fulfilling careers – it’s very much a relationship of equals. But I guess we’re rather unusual in that we came to parenthood quite late in the day and only once we'd moved to Jersey.
When we had our first son five years ago, we both carried on working with the support of a nanny. But when our second boy came along in 2017, Danielle decided to take a career break so she could spend more time with the children. I guess it seems very conventional that she is at home raising the boys while I’m out at work, but the difference is that it was a mutual decision, rather than an expectation. And she’ll be back at work once both boys are in school.
I think what's really interesting from our perspective is that, because she is 11 years younger than me, it’s almost inevitable that I will retire first and she'll become the main breadwinner, because our boys won’t have left home by the time that happens. So our roles will very much be reversed.
I think the one thing I'm able to bring to my sons’ upbringing is my life experience. When I was younger, I think life was constrained in that there were certain norms and expectations. Take career choices, for example – I went to a very conventional grammar school, and was encouraged to do ‘proper’ subjects at A Level – such as maths and the sciences.
The things I enjoyed were languages and the more creative subjects. But that just wasn’t really the way things were done. If I had a time machine and could turn back time, I would have taken longer to decide and explore more options.
A world of opportunity
It’s certainly something I'm trying to instil in our boys from an early age – to find their passion. I’m thoroughly enjoying taking my elder boy to rugby and taking them both to swimming lessons. Both Danielle and I fly light aeroplanes, so I’m getting them involved in that too.
And when the time comes, I’ll be encouraging my kids to explore opportunities and to take advantage of the variety that presents itself to them – to follow their dreams as opposed to convention. The world is such a global place – and I hope it still will be. I like to think they’ll grow up in a world where there are opportunities to work all over the place, have a portfolio of careers and experience all of life.
I hope they have choice, variety, rich experiences, and time to make the right decisions on top of the obvious pastoral things like health and happiness. And I see it very much as my job to prepare them for that, using all my years of experience.