I am… Billy, a husband, dad, ad industry creative, and founder of kids colouring business Go Outside The Lines. I have two boys, 4-year-old Jude, and 6-month-old Buddy.

I work as… I’ve worked in the advertising world since I left university and am currently at Iris London, a fantastic company that encourages creativeness and family flexibility. We (my wife and I) have founded a few creative businesses over the years, mainly based on screen prints, but Go Outside The Lines has taken off more than we could have imagined which has been amazing, so we’re both now working hard to expand things.

My role with looking after the kids is… I’m pretty hands on. It’s always been a joint effort between Jem and I since they were born. I do the school run once a week on a Tuesday, which Jude loves and is a precious time for me, and I’m home most nights for the last bit of bedtime too, which I know can be carnage.

Do you worry about work-life balance? I’m a firm believer that the role of the dad should be seen as just as important as the role of the mum, and I think most companies need to catch up with that mentality a little more. I like to think we have balance as a family. My wife and I work on the business into the evening, and she puts loads of effort into it when I’m working my day job, so it is pretty time consuming, but seeing something you’ve created up in people’s homes is a really great feeling.

I’m the kind of dad that… I’m maybe a little overprotective. I really don’t remember my dad telling me to be careful as much as I tell Jude. But I’m trying to get better at that because I think as a society we are generally a little too overprotective. I suppose it’s a different world now though, god now I do sound like my dad!

As a family we… We try to get outside as much as possible. There’s a park really nearby with a lovely stream where we take fishing nets and try to catch tiny fish. On rainy Sundays we have Sunday Cinema Club where we whack on Netflix, make popcorn, sit down, drink some booze (not the kids) and eat rubbish, all in the name of fun.

The biggest challenges are… Really simple things, like learning to get by on very little sleep without throttling each other over the tiniest things. Some moments are so tough when you’re in them that it feels like they will never end. But they pass, and you learn that the next time something like that happens you will tell yourself that it too will pass.

To make my kids feel special… Jude and I do a little thing called the hedge game, where I have to jump up over our overgrown front hedge and Jude (from the inside window) has to guess where I’ll pop up from. Often this results in me running late, not to mention looking like a loon to the neighbours.

Fatherhood has taught me… Firstly all the normal stuff like, not everything is about me now, to chill out and enjoy small moments and to listen more. But it’s also taught me to think about what I believe in a bit more.

The biggest surprise of fatherhood… That I’d rather come home than go to the pub (most of the time).

For more about Billy follow @gooutsidethelines

More in Features

Researching Edith and Kim

By , 17th November 2021
From a compendium of stories about life at the Bauhaus to a Modernist memoir by the founder of the iconic Isokon, here are some of the books that inspired my forthcoming novel

Book festivals 2021

By , 19th August 2021
From a celebration of the life of John le Carré at Cheltenham to an exploration of women and crime in Chiswick, please join me at one of the following events, across the country (and the internet!)