He wakes up Dubai every morning with his breakfast radio show, but every night Australian-Lebanese DJ Kris fade is tucking his little girls into bed. It’s just him and the kids – and their dog, Hercules, and cat, Swiper – in their Dubai home, although he says he’s lucky enough to have two nannies and a lot of help juggling their busy lifestyles. We discover how he maintains balance and find out his views on fatherhood in the UAE...
"Time management is everything for me. Some people don’t respect their own time, and it’s a point I really try to emphasise. People need to respect your time, but you’ve also got to respect your own time too. Balance is everything and time management is everything.
"My hours are set out nearly every day so that I can make sure I am able to fit in what I need to do. I have a pretty busy work schedule, but I try to sit down with my girls and help them with their homework at least two or three times a week for example. It’s not the easiest thing to fit in with my timetable, but as they get older I realise that homework gets more and more significant, and they just grow up so fast.
"I don’t get to eat breakfast with the girls except at weekends; I do a morning show so I’m up at 4am and out of the house by 5am. It means I miss them getting ready and going to school, but the flipside is that I do get to sit and have a late afternoon lunch with them when they come home, and we get to have dinner at least five nights a week. I also try to make sure I tuck them into bed nearly every night.
"Dad Guilt – yeah, dad guilt is huge. I think all parents get the guilt, where you maybe don’t feel like you’re spending enough time or doing enough for them. But as a parent I think it’s good to get that sometimes. I think if you don’t, you know, you’re not doing the right thing. But it helps me to look back at the way I was raised and I think I actually saw my parents less than I see my kids right now, so that’s one thing I try to remember.
"I think the role of a father is as important as the role of a mother. I know some dads can be a bit like – “I don’t have to change the nappies, I don’t have to get the food ready, that’s not my responsibility” – but you know, we’re in 2018 right now, childcare is something that needs to be shared and equal between both the mum and the dad.
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Kris wraps up work at his breakfast radio show by about 2pm each day, which gives him time to come home and see the kids after school
"I’m definitely a big nag in my household. I always make sure that the homework is done, and I also want to make sure that our amazing nannies aren’t the ones cleaning up after the kids 100 per cent of the time. I used to notice that the kids would make a mess and then just walk off. So I’ve made it a really big point with the girls over the last 18 months that they need to pack their stuff away, and make their own beds. I want to make sure they’re being raised in the same way that I was.
"I want to be best friends with my girls. I think we’ve got a really cool, loving relationship. They respect me, I respect them. I’m not the shouting dad… Only, maybe a few times a year. But they know when Daddy means business, and that’s the relationship that I want them to have with me. I also want them to know that they can come and talk to me whenever they want. To say that if there’s anything going on in their lives that they want to have a conversation about, or anything they need, they can come and talk to me and I’m here for them. I want that friendship sort of relationship with my girls so they can tell me anything.
"My kids know what daddy does in his day job and they love it. They love coming into the radio station, and they’re also on the radio station sometimes, which is super cool for them. I think they’re very confident. They now also get stopped out in the streets sometimes to take photos, and so they understand what I do, and they understand their role in it and how they fit into it too.
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As well as hanging out in the park, Kris says that some of his favourite things to do with his girls when the weather is hot include cooking and indoor rock climbing
"Downtime for me is usually at night, I can unwind a bit. But I’m not one to go out in the week, I like to keep things focused on my radio show and on doing what I have to do for the girls.
"My one piece of parenting advice? Put the phone down. That’s one thing I’ve taught myself; I used to hang out with the girls and I’d have one hand on the phone with work, sending WhatsApps and being on Instagram, and I’ve really had to put that aside. In my view, if you can spend one hour quality time with your kids, it’s better than spending three hours of distracted time."
Kris’ Fade has just launched his first snack range – Fade Fit Kids – which was developed after he struggled to find affordable, healthy, nut-free snacks to put in his daughters’ lunchboxes. The snacks include sugar-free corn flakes, pitted dates, date syrup, cocoa powder and cocoa butter and are available at Carrefour for Dh7.50 each.
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