Being a Startup Dad : Many days I have left him crying and went to work with a heavy heart [Girish, Freshdesk Founder]

Being a startup dad isn’t easy. You slog many hours and while you definitely try to keep family updated about the current status of your startup, the truth is that kids do not get it. They don’t need to. They are as demanding and lovable as they are meant to be.

While the same is true for all working professionals, startup dads are ‘special’ because they do not bring the moolah, they aren’t able to afford fancy stuff that kids want (or are ‘made to want’ thanks to peer pressure/ TV commercials).

On the occasion of father’s day (June 16th), we are bringing perspective from startup dads and the challenges/joys of being one*.

Here goes the first installment  – An UnPluggd conversation with Girish Mathrubootham, Founder

NextBigWhat: How many kids do you have? How old?

Girish Mathrubootham : Two boys – Charan(will turn 9 years next month) and Sanjay (7.5 years).

NextBigWhat: Being a startup dad, how do you manage your startup-life balance? What are some of the key challenges you have faced?

Girish Mathrubootham : There were/are many challenges. The worst was working on Saturdays. My younger one would simply not let me go to work on Saturday. He would hug my legs and refuse to let go. Many days I have left him crying and went to work with a heavy heart. Nowadays I take weekends off.

Girish Mathrubootham : Freshdesk Founder
Girish Mathrubootham with Kids (Charan and Sanjay)

NextBigWhat: Truth is that most of the entrepreneurs often earn less than *uncles around*, which translates to the same old car, house, lesser fancy stuff @home etc etc. Kids often build perception on these – how has been your reaction? How have you managed this?

Girish Mathrubootham : This happened in early 2011 when we had just started. When I quit my previous company I had to forego my company provided Honda Civic car. I had a second car (a Ford Figo) which then became our only car. One day when driving back from dinner at a restaurant the kids tried sleeping on the back seat. (They always do that) Both of them were not able to sleep as there was not enough space and they were talking to each other saying that I should have had the Honda Civic which had more space. I sold the Figo, took a loan and bought a new Chevrolet Cruze even though we had not raised funding. I figured that a car loan is not going to make/break freshdesk.

NextBigWhat: One of the psychological theory mentions that kids often believe that ‘dad does nothing’ 🙂 That’s because they see mom doing a whole lotta stuff- but not their dad. Experience?

Girish Mathrubootham : For my kids, their dad is always tired, prefers lying on the bed and taking rest whenever possible or working on his laptop. I feel guilty (but tired) and try to make up by taking them to the pool or playing with them. Nowadays they have several friends and prefer to play with them so I have managed to escape.

*If you are a startup dad, willing to share your experience (candid/UnPluggd fashion), please share here.

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