Meet our Dad Life interview for this month, Conor O. Gilligan, vice president and managing member of Craftsmen Developers (he’s a third generation builder/developer in the Mid-Atlantic). He lives in Pasadena with his wife, Patricia, and their five children, Olivia, 10; Taylor, 8; and William, Jenson and Parker, all 4. (Yes, they have triplets!) Here’s his take on parenting.
Five things you can’t live without?
If I can choose 6 things, it would be my wife and five kids. My family is what gives me constant motivation to achieve and exceed life goals.
What’s your favorite chore?
Yard work. I spend an inordinate amount of time at the office or in the car. Taking the time to get outside and work in the yard, I gain a sense of accomplishment in less than an hour which never happens in my business these days.
What would you do if you had 1 hour without any responsibilities?
Go for a stand-up paddleboard ride on the bay. I rarely have dedicated time solely to myself. A paddle with nothing between me and the water but the board is time I cherish.
What do you love about parenting?
Teaching … and learning. Passing my knowledge down to my children is one of the purest gifts I can give. I have always anticipated the moments when I could share my experience and wisdom with my children. What I may have not foreseen is what my children have to teach me. They each share their own perspective on life, many of which I had never considered.
What do you find challenging about raising kids?
Limiting the negative influences that constantly surround this current generation of kids. Parents are no match for the influence that an electric device can have on their children. My wife and I try very hard to keep our family off the couch and limit time on electronic devices. I was born in 1980 so I have a good handle on technology, but I still had a childhood in which technology had no influence over me. The same can’t be said for this generation.
How are you able to maintain a social life between working and parenting?
Our social scene has changed markedly over the years. Our first child was an adjustment, our second was more so. When the triplets came, our lives totally changed. As you could imagine, 90 percent of our life is all about the children. That said, my wife and I have a date night every Wednesday. It is the opportunity for my wife and me to enjoy each other’s company and exchange ideas (many of them are about the kids). We are lucky to have great family and friends nearby, too.
How do you take care of your mental and physical health?
Training for triathlons. I’ve always loved running and biking but 12 years ago my wife signed us up for a triathlon and I’ve been hooked ever since. You’ll rarely find me at the gym, but you’re bound to pass me running on the road at 5:30 a.m. listening to the latest jams.
What’s something your family loves to do together?
My family loves being in the great outdoors. As the triplets get older, so does the Rolodex of outdoor adventures. Whether we are in the extraordinary Longwood Gardens or the ordinary Downs Park, watching my kids play outside is a terrific feeling. You can just see the excitement in their eyes as they wander about the world around them.
What’s something that makes the fatherhood-career juggle a little bit easier?
My wife, Patricia! Without her, I literally could not do it. I am so happy to say that after all of these years, I am still in love with my wife. I am in awe of her ability in keeping our big family organized, educated and happy at home. It is her efforts at home that allows me to reach my goals both professionally and personally.
What’s next for you?
With the new year, I am reminded of the inspirational words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.”
Read more from Mom Life/Dad life here.