Bad Dad

Even though I’ve been having a lot of conversations recently about being a dad, the truth is that on any given day what keeps me up at night is the things I’m getting wrong. I know every parent makes mistakes, and logically I am able to keep that perspective on it, but I also know every parent can recite the failings that make us feel sick to our stomachs just thinking about them.

So I should be clear that the reason I’m always thinking about parenthood and its obligations is not because I think I’m World’s Greatest Dad, but because it’s an unusual duty where those of us who take it on never really feel like we’ve mastered it.

It was with that spirit in mind that I went into the conversation with Kathryn Rotondo for the Motherboard podcast the other day. Typically, Kathryn speaks to women who are managing careers in technology while also raising their children. As a bit of a departure for the podcast, I was asked to give a little bit of a dad’s perspective.

Kathryn picked out a quote that I hadn’t quite realized was going to be a bit of advice to myself, a perspective that I’m trying to remember is true:

The only bad choice is for you to be a miserable parent, to not be present, to not be investing time as much as you can in your kid, or to not meet those basic needs—the biological-level needs.

The goal, as always, is that maybe each of us can screw up our kids just slightly less than the generations that came before. If you have a few minutes, I hope you’ll give the podcast a listen (you can also get it on iTunes) and then offer your advice. Now I just have to figure out where I misplaced my kid…

Download the MP3: Episode 12: Anil Dash