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Article: Father’s Day Feature: Declan Ee (co-founder, Castlery)

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Father’s Day Feature: Declan Ee (co-founder, Castlery)

Dad Life: Declan Ee

Take a seat, get comfy, and let Castlery’s co-founder Declan Ee tell you about life as a father — from little joys to big lessons and moments in between

 

As children, one image of Dad that filled our eyes was that of a superhero. One who lifted us high upon his shoulders at the sweep of an arm to treat our tiny selves to a view on top of the world. The same world whose sharp edges he’d also tried to protect us from with all his power. In our bright, young eyes, there was nothing he couldn’t do. From him, we learned that flying was easy once we’ve found our own wings, and falling only hurts if it scares you from flying again. This, you understood as you got older, is his real superpower. Because to be a father is to be human. His “super-heroism” is not because he’s invincible or that he could do no wrong. It is the sacrifices he’s made as a father, and also a person with his own dreams and passions. It’s the mistakes he chooses to learn and grow from, and the bad days that never stopped him from appreciating the good and striving for better days. By example, he’s shown us how to be our own superheroes.

This Father’s Day, as we salute dads and paternal figures, we asked Declan Ee, co-founder of Castlery, to take a seat, get comfy, and tell us all about dad life: How he balances his time and energy between his three kids, his business and his other life as a musician (“24 hours are not enough!”). Learning to see the world through his children’s eyes. Being present and enjoying the little moments, because “small things are at times the most important things, and they add up.”
Hi Declan. Can you give us an introduction of yourself? Who is Declan Ee, what do you do, and a quick tour of your journey here?
Declan: I am the co-founder and president of Castlery, a digital-first design and home lifestyle brand. I graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from University College London and lived in the UK for nine years. Before I started Castlery, I was an investment banker for 12 years at Lehman Brothers, Nomura and Jefferies, working in London, Hong Kong and Singapore. Technology, media and consumer space were areas of my expertise.

At heart, I’m a creative, who’s part of the Singaporean-American electronic music collective, Trouze. And I’m a father of my three boys, who are aged three, six and seven, whom my wife and I homeschool full time.

Can you walk us through your daily routine? How do you usually start your day before work, a typical day at work, and how you like to spend time with your family?

Declan: I typically start my day with a walk, a coffee, and five to 10 minutes of meditation. I have five to six meetings and work calls a day, and I try to block out three to four hours a week to do planning, analysis and strategy work. As we homeschool our sons, I have a bit more flexibility, so I have three sessions a week where I am with my children focusing on creative expression and mental/emotional resilience. We also enjoy heading out to the beach and going for nature walks.

Do you have a weekly ritual as a family?

Declan: On Saturday mornings, kids’ meditation followed by cartoons. And nature walks on Friday mornings.

What is your family to you?

Declan: My anchor.

How has your life changed — in, say, your priorities — since you became a dad? How would you compare life before and after fatherhood?

Declan: Life has definitely become busier since I became a father, especially since we had three boys in four years! It's the season of life where things feel very full on, and 24 hours are not enough! Before fatherhood, both my wife and I had much more “me time” to decompress and relax. After fatherhood, there's hardly any time to breathe. At least 30% or 40% of the time which used to go to resting, relaxation and hobbies now go to the kids — which is part and parcel of this season of our lives as parents.

What in particular has been different in the day-to-day?

Declan: I sleep much earlier nowadays! Previously I was a night owl, I’d work into the night till 4am. Nowadays, I typically asleep by 11pm, midnight at the latest.

What have been some of the challenges of fatherhood for you?

Declan: The key is to be present for my children despite all the work or personal challenges that are going on. It's important to make sure I do not bring it into the interaction with my kids. Also, to live and be the example that I want them to see and reference. It's challenging as we’re all human and prone to having bad days.

What are some significant lessons you’ve learned through your fatherhood journey so far?

Declan: Every child is different, I’ve learned to embrace that and see the world through their eyes. Small things are at times the most important things, and they add up. For example, a hug every morning, bringing the kids out for a simple Milo once a week, helping them with their shoelaces and then teaching them how to do it.

 

We would like to thank Declan for sharing with us his life as a father — from little joys to big lessons and moments in between. #byndartisan #somethingsworthsharing

This Father’s Day, show your appreciation to Dad — and other paternal figures. Tell them in person or send them a message with a personalised gift now.

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