Advice for Indie developers with young families

Take advantage of those serendipitous moments

Twelve years ago, I went independent full time with kids aged 11, 10, 8, and 6 (the youngest just stared college this fall.)

One of the great parts was my ability to alter the day’s schedule on very short notice. There are so many cool things you can do that cost very little but help create memories for a lifetime, especially with younger kids. I am very grateful that I was able to take advantage of my independence in many big and small ways.

Sometimes, the best things come together quickly, and as an indie, you are in a position to take advantage IF you are watching for them. A beautiful early spring day becomes an afternoon bike ride with work pushed to later in the evening. A rainy summer afternoon turns into a mudsliding event for you and the kids. When you get stuck on something, sometimes the best antidote is throwing a frisbee around or playing whiffle ball in the back yard. And the sledding hill is great fun on those snow days!

Include family events in your plans and schedule

Trips to special places can be much less crowded during the week, often cheaper as well. Museums on a weekday are wonderful, camping in the middle of the week instead of crowded weekends gives a much more relaxed time.

With a flexible schedule, you may be able to participate in more of your children’s activities. Coaching youth sports becomes easier to schedule, watching ballet practice or attending concerts, especially when you have multiple kids, can be much less stressful. Taking your kids and their friends to a matinee of the latest Pixar event can be a lot of fun (and very noisy!)

Invest time in building relationships with your kids when they are young

The single, best piece of advice I can give you to prepare yourself for adolescence is to develop a solid relationship with each of your children before they reach that stage.

Infants and very young children quickly develop a complete trust in you as parents that will last for their first few years. A key task for you between those early years and adolescence is to take that trust that is given without reservation, and develop it into a trust based on love, knowledge, and real events. Through the elementary years, work towards giving your children reasons to hold onto and build on that trust. You want them to know that even when they don’t agree with you, you always have their best interest at heart.

As they get older, they may not acknowledge that they can trust you, and may even deny it outright, but it will be an undercurrent to their thoughts, and it will certainly be an influence in their life.

Seize the day

Enjoy these days. They can be stressful, tiring, and tons of work, but enjoy the bright spots.

Remember, the best family memories are built through the drip drip drip of many simple events that occur regularly over the years.

I know it’s almost a cliche, but this time will pass incredibly fast. So, seize the day.

As an indie developer, one of the best things you can do is to find like-minded developers that will provide encouragement and motivation while pursuing a commitment. A great collection of indie iOS developers have helped me stay on track, most of them are either developers associated with iDevBlogADay, or those I have met through the 360iDev conferences. If you can make it to Austin in November, I highly recommend it for its content, the friendships you’ll develop, and the passion it will bring to your iOS development.

Also, here is a little more information about me, Doug Sjoquist, and how I came to my current place in life. You should follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog. Have a great day!