LOUIE KEEN Work and family, beautifully combined.

A full house and a full life.

AGE   46

HOMETOWN   Washburn, Mo

@TWITTER   @WhatToStart

GOOGLE+   Louie Keen

ON THE WEB   www.KeenOrchards.com

www.WhatToStart.com

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   Three, all boys— ages 8, 3 and 2

DAY JOB   I own several different businesses; a nightclub, a sports bar and grill, a tattoo studio, a fruit orchard and farm market—with a pumpkin patch and corn maze —and now I have a new web business in the start-up phase. I love building new businesses.

I have about 65 people working for me full-time and more seasonally. I have a great management team that deals with all the little things which allows me to focus on the BIG things.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Married for 10 years. Lucky me, poor her; she got the short end of the stick.

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?

My wife is a stay-at-home mom and since we live on the farm, where the orchard and pumpkin patch are located, we get to work and be together a lot.

I was raised in a family that was able to combine family and business life and because of being raised that way it’s easy for me to integrate both. If we’re at the farm together working it’s actually more satisfying than just sitting around the house watching TV.

HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?

It has made me carefully consider every move I make in my businesses, the activities I used to enjoy (such as skydiving) and my lifestyle.

It has also made me a more patient person. I always stop and consider what the boys are thinking and feeling when I’m either helping them or disciplining them. I’ve become much more empathetic.

Another important part of my life that has changed is my constant worrying about their safety. Both of my brothers are dead and I’m now the patriarch of the family. It’s a tough balance between being over-protective and allowing them to take risks and learn from their mistakes.

HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

Because we have no relatives living close to us we rarely go out on dates. We always have the boys with us.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?

My main strength is my life’s experiences. I have a lot to offer my sons. However, I am terrible at helping with homework. My patience is sorely tested sometimes—although I really do like to help my oldest boy with his math, since I love math.

WHAT ARE YOUR PARTNER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

Just the fact she puts up with me is her strength. We have been through lots of ups and downs in our professional lives, but she has stood by me no matter what. Her weakness? She is never on time.

WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?

We don’t have any relatives living near us and we’re very choosy about who watches our children. We haven’t used a babysitter for over seven years.

WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?

The day after my youngest son was born I had to be five hours away from the hospital to work because of an important event we were having. Adam was born a month too early and tore a small hole in his lung and had to go into the ICU—but I still had to go to the event. I wish I could take that back.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?

Just watching the boys play together on the farm is the greatest for me. Since we now live on what was my grandparent’s farm, I have fond memories of my brother and I playing and working there as we were growing up. It’s like watching myself as a young boy.

Lisa D

Lisa Duggan is the founder of The Modern Village, and publisher of TheParentduJour.com and TheMotherHoodBlog.com.

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