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“Being a Dad is a huge challenge, but I love it!”

  • United Kingdom


    Simon Cloke blogs about life as a working parent

    For Dads across the UK and the US – Father’s Day is just around the corner.

    Here at Eversheds Sutherland, we’re proud to support working parents through the challenges that juggling work and family life brings.

    We caught up with Commercial Partner Simon Cloke to hear about life as a working Dad…

    “I joined the firm in 2011 and was made Partner in 2016. That just so happened to coincide with my wife and I expecting a child for the first time.

    It’s fair to say that expecting a child whilst going through the partnership process probably wasn’t the greatest timing, but that’s just life!

    Our daughter, Alana, will be two in August.

    One of the most important things to me is work-life balance. When I found out that Phoebe and I were expecting it’s fair to say I had some worries, and I think all new Dads get that.

    You start to put yourself under pressure. I kept thinking ‘how am I going to make this work?’ I want to spend time with my family but I also want to be performing at the top level, delivering for clients and making sure that my work doesn’t suffer.

    I raised some of the those concerns at work and was really pleased with how the firm reacted.

    My wife and I decided that we were going to share parental leave. She took the first seven months of maternity leave then I took three months of paternity leave whilst she went back to work. We also decided that we’d both return to work on a four day week, to allow both of us to spend more time with Alana.

    As colleagues who are parents will know being a working parent is a tough balancing act! The support I have from the firm and from my team around me, means it’s more manageable and I feel I can give the best version of me both at home and at work.

    And what makes it easier? Flexibility.

    I’m able to be flexible on how and when I do my work. I try really hard to put aside time every day to either take Alana to nursery or pick her up in the afternoon.

    It means I can log-on first thing to do some work, then get Alana up and give her breakfast and take her to nursery.

    “We want our daughter to have role models who she understands work as a partnership”

    Phoebe works for a financial organisation in the city. It’s a demanding career but then again, so is being a parent!

    Shared parental leave was brilliant for me, but it was also beneficial to my wife and daughter too. It helped support my wife’s career and it means she’s not picking up all the responsibilities of childcare. It also means Alana isn’t solely reliant on one parent – she doesn’t really see a difference between Mummy and Daddy (although if you ask my wife I’m sure she’d tell you that Alana’s a Daddy’s girl!). She’s hopefully being brought up in an environment which feels equal, and we want our daughter to have role models who she understands work as a partnership.

    Being a Dad is a huge challenge, but I love it. Nothing beats my daughter’s reaction when I collect her from nursery or when she laughs out loud.

    But if I had any advice to pass on to colleagues who are new Dads, or colleagues who are about to become Dads, it’s be kind to yourself and don’t put yourself under too much pressure. I still think there’s a stigma for men when it comes to balancing work and family life. I think some men think they can’t do both. But I like to think I’m proof that you can. It’s hard, but you can work on great projects while at the same time spending time with your family. Eversheds Sutherland is a business that will help you every step of the way.”


    This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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