Dave Butters: Businessman, Man’s Man, Dad

Dave Butters is a product of an “East London public school education” who married a Bendigo girl and now heads up financial recruitment firm, Heath & Ford, in Melbourne’s CBD.

He boasts three children – Radha, seven, Nuala, four, and George, two – and, as a “man’s man”, the rare skill of coordinating regular catch-ups with other dads from his daughters’ school and kinder.

While he’s skilled at multitasking and being organised, Dave has found that fatherhood is, at times, not so easy to manage. Here he takes us through some of the challenges he’s faced as a dad.

Being chained to the house when the kids are little.
After a long and often stressful week in an office, I like to get out and see the world at weekends. It’s a constant battle to remind myself that little ones prefer to simply play at home.

Trying to keep patience when they have mood swings.
I would say naturally I am a pretty laid-back guy and fun-loving. But… having three little human beings all at different ages with different personalities is always a challenge. I aim to give each child one-on-one time on weekends and be physically present in their games.

Physical interaction.
I think initially having two girls I avoided wrestling and fighting with them but more tickling. I quickly worked out that there is no reason girls should not like wrestling just as much! Every weekend we play around. It’s my first memories of being with my dad and my grandad and even now, on the rare times I see my parents and grandad (who are all back in the UK), a hug and a physical bond is a big part of it.

Balancing work, family and friendships.
I think [wife] Daria and I have always felt that having our own lives is really important to our own mental health and marriage. We are devoted to our kids but also know that we still need time alone with each other and our friends. It’s all about give-and-take and I can’t fathom how some people just stop going out when they become parents – life should not, and is not, over.

It’s all about give-and-take and I can’t fathom how some people just stop going out when they become parents – life should not, and is not, over.

By the time they turn 18, Rhada, Nuala and George should all know: 

How to hold a conversation face-to-face.
It may be one of the key things you need in life and holding a conversation electronically will never give you the same connection as face-to-face.

True, inner confidence.
Every single teenager on Earth is self-conscious. Whatever you look like, it’s what’s inside that counts.

That honesty is the best policy.
It can get you in trouble but even then it’s worth it.

That there is a big, wide world outside of Australia.
With the distance we are from the rest of the world it can be very hard to understand how many different cultures and simply amazing places there are in the world. I know myself and Daria will do our best to show them.

That dreams can come true.
Don’t let any negativity around you inhibit you from what you want to do and where you want to go in life. Within reason anything is possible in life; there’s little luck and a lot about effort, belief, good family support and resolve.

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