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Life as a Modern Day Dad

Life as a Modern Day Dad

The definition of a good father is one that can change, depending on who you ask. For some, he’s the man who is always there – participating in the lives of his children, unwavering in his love and in his presence. For others, it’s the dad who dedicates his life to the health, wealth and happiness of his family by continually putting their needs first.

Meet four of these great dads who balance careers at Dart with the role of the modern-day father. They all agree that the definition of a good father is a man who devotes himself to family and who aims to raise sons and daughters that will one day become responsible, productive and conscientious citizens of the world.

Ben Leftwich | Senior Manager Digital Marketing & Design | Father to Aila, 8 months

Did you always want to be a dad?

Yes. My wife Lise also wanted kids and we made the decision to start a family during a vacation in the Italian countryside. It was an important conversation that happened to take place in a beautiful, romantic setting.

How are you adjusting to your new role as a father?

I’m happy and I’ve settled into a nice routine. Of course, it helps that Aila is such a good baby. She’s still little so things are always changing, but we’re in a good place now and looking forward to life ahead.

Are you a ‘modern’ dad who pitches in with all the parenting duties?

I try my best. I’m usually out of bed first so I’ll make breakfast for Lise and myself, and then get Aila up and changed and hand her over for her breakfast. In the evenings, I bathe Aila and do storytime, and then put her to bed after Lise nurses her. Lise and I do a pretty good job of balancing our responsibilities. We also have a wonderful nanny who makes life easier for us.

Do you feel you have work-life balance?

Before Aila came along I’d tend to work later. These days, I’m more conscious about creating boundaries so that I can enjoy my evenings and weekends. Lise and I try to carve out quality time together every evening. Weekends are all about family, but every so often we make the effort to have a date night that involves a nice dinner out and possibly a movie.

Has your idea of what it means to be a father changed since you were a kid?

I was lucky to have a very hands-on dad who was always very engaged and emotionally available for me. That’s what I hope to live up to so I don’t think my idea of fatherhood has changed much. I guess we’ll see what Aila thinks when she’s older.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid I dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player. As I got older, I wanted to go into politics and policy development.

Jose Motino Ramos | Maintenance | Father to Gracelyn, 6 months

You’re a new father. How has life changed for you?

My life is happier. I’ve always been very hard working and focused on my job, but now I have a new purpose and work feels more gratifying because Gracelyn gives me a different kind of motivation. I’d say life has changed for the best.

What’s a typical day like for you?

My job at the Dart family residence keeps me busy and I’m usually on call, so I’m up pretty early for work every morning. The job itself is quite varied but very interesting. Some days I’m working in the gardens and other days I’m out on a boat. I try not to work too late so that I can enjoy family time every evening.

Do you feel you have work-life balance?

Yes. I love my job and I work with an excellent team of people. I know that if I ever need to leave early or take personal time off it would never be a problem.

How do you spend your free time?

I enjoy time at home relaxing with Gracelyn and my wife Haybilin. We also enjoy taking trips once in a while.

Do you consider yourself a ‘modern’ dad who pitches in with all parenting duties?

Yes. My wife works full time and I don’t wait for her to ask for help. I know she’s just as tired as I am after a long day at work.

Chris Palmer | Financial Controller | Father to Annabel, 6 and twins Immy and Rosie, 4

Is being a father to twins as hard as they say?

I think so, but this is my normal so I wouldn’t know otherwise.

Do you consider yourself a ‘modern’ dad who pitches in with all parenting duties?

Without a doubt. My wife Rebecca is a director at KPMG so she works long hours and travels a lot. I do not expect for her to do everything. 

Do you share any hobbies with your kids?

I’ve always been into sports and this is something I love to do with my girls. Cricket is a big part of our lives and I coach a kids’ team on weekends. The girls also do tennis, swimming, gymnastics and ballet and I try to be involved for all of it.

How do you spend your free time?

Every Monday I volunteer for Meals on Wheels and we go out and deliver meals. In the evenings, after the homework-dinner-bedtime routine, I try to relax with Rebecca and then I always read.

What do you read?

Mostly non-fiction, books on social economics or psychological profiling. I’m fascinated by how we interact as humans. I’ll make an exception and read fiction when I’m on vacation.

Has your idea of what it means to be a father changed since you were a kid?

I never understood how reliant kids are on their parents or the demand they put on life and resources until I became a dad. I now understand that as parents we’re the ones who have to coach and educate, not rely on school or the world to do it all for you. So much is learned outside of school and it’s up to Rebecca and I to teach and guide our girls. I want them to be happy and well-rounded … that’s the goal.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A professional cricket player.

John Santiago | Facilities Manager | Father to Jonathan 14, Dijonia 27, Amber 30

What’s a typical day like for you?

My days are very busy with work and usually spent driving to and from our various retail locations and facilities such as the North Sound Golf Club, the Yacht Club or any of the jewelry or liquor stores. My kids are older now and they all live in the States so my evenings are usually spent at home with my wife and with my mother who’s in need of living assistance.

Does your mother live with you?

Yes. Both she and my father were diagnosed with dementia a few years back and I brought them down from New Jersey to Cayman to live with me. My father passed away at the age of 93 last year. My mom had a stroke and a leg amputated so my wife is home caring for her in the days.

How often do you get to spend time with your kids?

Since they’re overseas and I don’t get to see them every day, I’d say not enough. I try to fly up often to see my 14-year old son who lives with his mother in New Jersey. The girls are all grown up and out on their own now so I don’t see them as often.

Has your idea of what it means to be a father changed since you were a kid?

My dad was a World War II veteran and believed in sacrifice and hard work. He was my role model and inspired me with his work ethic. He also put family first and I grew up believing that good men and fathers must work hard for their families.

What do you do in your free time?

I try to spend time with my wife Meschia. She’s my backbone. I also volunteer for the Cayman Islands Facility Management Association of which I’m a founding member and the President. We meet once a month and organise tours and seminars several times a year.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A firefighter and a police officer. I almost became a police officer back in my home state of New Jersey. I scored high on the tests, but life led me to Cayman, where I’m now grateful to work for Dart and contribute to their diverse portfolio. Here, I used to help out the former head of Camana Bay Security quite a bit. It’s always been my passion to help keep people safe.

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