* Editor’s Note * We’re proud to include so many entrepreneurs among our gallery of parents, and Jamie Forrest is one. Jamie co-founded a company called AnswerQi in part to help time-strapped parents (the rapidly growing, work-from-home contingent) quickly solve their problems with technology (any and all kinds), by talking to real people online.
We tried the service and were more than pleased with the timely and thorough response to our question. So pleased, in fact, with the integrity of the product and its founders, that on August 1 we welcomed AnswerQi as the very first sponsor of The Parent du Jour!
As you’re reading about our parent of the day, you’ll see the handy AnswerQi widget to your right. Have a question about your blog, your iPad, your Mac or PC? We urge you to try their service — and your first answer is free!
HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? New York City / Pittsburgh
ON THE WEB Jamie Forrest.com
NUMBER OF CHILDREN Two
DAY JOB Co-founder & CTO at AnswerQi
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Married
FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK Flotsam by David Wiesner. The book has no words, so it encourages kids (and parents!) to use their imagination to fill in the narrative. The illustrations are so rich and engaging that every time you “read” the book, the story expands and evolves, just like the photographs in the story.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
Up until late 2011 my wife was pursuing a PhD and I was working full time to pay the bills, which was actually a very flexible arrangement for our family. In the past year, however, my wife has taken a job as a tenure-track professor and so now we are both working full time. This past year we hired a babysitter to pick the kids up from school in the afternoon and take care of them till we are finished with work at six.
Next year they will both be going to an after-school program instead of the babysitter. My wife and I both try to make time to spend with the kids, both in the evenings after 6pm as well as on the weekends. We observe the Jewish Sabbath, so from Friday night till Saturday night we don’t use computers, spend money, or drive anywhere. That is a good 24-hour chunk of family time that we give ourselves every week.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
It has made me more empathetic. I am a very logical, analytical person, and I used to deal with my kids (and people in general) that way. But people aren’t always logical. Now I try to put myself in their shoes and really figure out what they’re feeling, which leads to better results every time.
DO ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS? AND IF SO, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR PARENTING?
My daughter has a motor disorder called Primary Motor Stereotypy. She started doing the rhythmic, repetitive motions when she was 6 months old. In general it does not affect her ability to function in school, but I often worry about how the other kids at school will deal with it. We always tell her teachers / counselors in advance about the disorder so that they are aware, but we’ve been told by the doctor that the best thing to do about it is to ignore it. However, we often do use it as an opportunity to teach our kids about respecting other people’s differences.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
Letting the stresses in my life negatively affect the way I treat my kids.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
I recently read the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It changed my life and my relationship with my kids. When I follow the suggestions in that book and they work, those are my best parenting moments.