Fatherstory Curtis: a dadpreneur with 3 children like no other!

Because there are as many great dads as there are great moms, we're taking advantage of Father's Day to remind you of this and to honor them. We'd like to introduce you to Curtis, a cool dadpreneur, smiling, hyperactive, always optimistic and a bit crazy (he says so himself) with 3 children: Kelly 4 months, Kalen 2 years and Kilian 3 years. The kind of fatherstory we love, one that's good for the heart and good for the spirit!

Curtis, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
I'm 35 years old and French of Congolese origin. I've been in a couple for 5 years with Jessica, and we have 3 children: Kelly 4 months, Kalen 2 years and Killian 3 years. In 2013, I created, thanks to the support of the City of Geneva, Roller Genèvean association that offers rollerblading, dance and theater courses and camps for children. In parallel, I follow @papachocolat on Instagram where I share my daily life as a dad.

Have you always wanted to have children?
Yes! My role model has always been a large, close-knit family. I'm the youngest of 8 siblings. Between 1996 and 1997, we lived through the war in Congo, and it had a huge impact on me. I was 7 years old. That painful experience convinced me that you have to enjoy life and create it. I became a father for the first time at the age of 31, and then had two more almost immediately afterwards (smile). 

Why did you decide to set up a roller skating school?
So that I could be at the side of the children I love and feel useful, even if it was a struggle at first (smile)! It's not always easy to win the respect of children aged between 5 and 12 when you're more gentle than authoritarian by nature. But everything can be learned and acquired by working with determination and passion. One day, the students in my class pushed me to the limit. I stopped the class without a word and left. They started to cry, but I didn't come back. A few days later, the same little monsters had become angels (smile) and I never had to impose myself again to get people to listen to me.

What kind of dad are you?
A cool dad and a bit crazy too (smile). I like to try new things, launch new projects, screw up and try again. That's what I want to show my children, that they're not afraid to dare and be open to the world. Fatherhood has really transformed me. It involves making choices and decisions that will have an impact on the balance, well-being and future of the whole family. It's a big responsibility, no more carefree days...

And as parents?
Jessica and I share the same values, and that's what counts. After that, like all couples, we have certain points of divergence, but those are details. We're happy, and even if our lifestyle is a bit "freestyle", we adapt, manage (as best we can) and move forward.

Who takes care of what at home?
Jessica takes care of the house and the kids, and I "bring in the money". It's a bit of a cliché, but it works well for us as long as the children are small. After that, the idea is for Jessica to return to training or an apprenticeship, so that she too can develop professionally. Today, I'm lucky enough to have flexible working hours, which means I can also spend a lot of time with my family.

With life going at 200 km/h, what's your secret to having so much energy?
My two secrets are to be organized and positive in all circumstances. A sick child, a hard blow at work, a financial crisis - whatever the case, there's always a solution. The state of mind is really fundamental. If you're convinced you're going to be okay, you'll be fine.

You're a dad who helps around the house a lot, is that natural for you?
Helping around the house? Yes, it's natural! Jessica bore our children with her share of physical and emotional ailments, not to mention accumulated fatigue. The least I can do is be there. Children need their mom as much as their dad to develop. In fact, I'm campaigning for men to be better represented in parenthood. Dads sometimes take as much or even more care of their children within the couple. In the end, it doesn't matter what family configuration you choose, as long as it's balanced, accepted and respectful.

Do you manage to find time for your couple?
With 3 young children, not really (smile), but we try to organize an outing at least once a month, whether it's to the cinema, a restaurant or a sport.

What advice would you give to a father-to-be?

  1. Be demonstrative and supportive of your partner. Pregnancy and post-partum are such pivotal periods in a woman's life that it's important to reassure her, to tell her that she's beautiful, that she's in control. You simply have to put yourself in her shoes! Becoming a parent is a real challenge, and the couple can be damaged if we don't cherish it and fight for it. Communication remains the key to making progress on the vertiginous black runway that is parenthood.
  1. Don't give up on your married life. In my opinion, it's up to baby to adapt to his parents' rhythm, not the other way round. Of course, in the beginning, all the attention will be on him, but you have to try to find a balance in order to maintain complicity with your partner.
  1. Don't be afraid to take action and initiative.

What values do you want to instill in your children?
To always be positive; to help, respect and care for the people around them; to believe in their dreams and do everything in their power to make them come true.

Curtis, do you have a message for Father's Day?
Dear Dads, get out of your comfort zone by doing spontaneous things that will surprise your loved ones, and put some madness into everything you do, because as Oscar Wilde rightly said, it's the only thing you'll never regret (smile).