5 minutes with: Jason Reeves

Tell us a bit about you – what is everyday life like?

I work as a radio host on Coast, and I’m also a corporate MC and voice over ‘artist. I’m lucky to be married to an amazing woman, Louise. Louise is a communications manager so we’re both pretty busy in our careers, but we cherish nothing more than family time with our boys Max (4) and Olly (1) and our extended families too.

Everyday life consists of early starts where I’ll get up, head downstairs and make breakfasts just as the boys are waking (around 6.30-7am) and then we try to eat breakfast together before Louise heads off to work. Then it’s getting the boys dressed, daycare drop-offs, prepping for the radio show, and then I go to work. We’re lucky that my job hosting an afternoon show means I get to have mornings with the family. I’m on air at the end of the day, so Louise does dinners and baths and I try to be home for books and bedtime. Then repeat!

reeves-familyTell us about your family

Louise and I have been married since 2011 and Max was born in 2013. Olly was born in 2015. My mum and dad live in Hawkes Bay, along with my sister and brother-in-law, and our nieces, Greer and Pippa. Max and Olly cherish every chance we get to spend time with them all. Louise’s mum, dad and brother live in Auckland, as well as her sister and brother-in-law, who had a little boy last year – so that’s really cool to have them close by.

What is the biggest challenge about the hours you work and how do you and Louise navigate this?

The biggest challenge was probably the mental side of things for me. I love being a dad and hanging with our boys, so was very picky about what jobs I’ve taken on, due to the fact that I’ve learned to put family time first.

When I joined Drive on Coast I knew it was an awesome opportunity with a phenomenal team and wonderful brand, but I knew I would miss being able to do the after-school pick ups or building sand castles on the beach on a Tuesday evening ‘just ‘cos’. I also knew it’d mean Louise would be left to deal with dinners and baths and bedtimes on her own – and with two busy boys, that’s not ideally a one-person job!

We talked with a few friends who have used au pairs and nannies and looked at all sorts of options. After a lot of discussions we went through an agency and found Naima, our au pair, who has worked in childcare in Germany. She has been an amazing addition to our family – the boys adore her.

What were the transitions of zero kids to one, and then one to two, like?

Louise and I had done lots of travelling and bought a house and all that before we had kids. When we were expecting Max, all kinds of emotions and feelings and worries set in! And when he arrived it blew my mind more than I was ever prepared for. Lots of people told me it would be amazing – but it was even better than I’d imagined.

We always knew we wanted more than one child if we could be lucky enough. Olly arrived when Max was about two and a half and that’s a similar age gap my sister and I have, and we grew up – and remain – really close. Going from one to two was full on because we wanted to welcome our new baby to our family – but at the same time we wanted to make sure Max never, ever felt left out. He helped me bathe Olly and we read stories together, and he helped Louise dress the baby. Soon enough Olly was looking for Max whenever he couldn’t see him, and his face would light up every time he saw Max. It’s busy – but we love it.

What is your favourite thing about being a dad?

That’s a tough one. There are lots of things I love about being a dad – but hearing our boys laughing together just cannot be beat. I worried before Olly arrived, because Max and I have such a special bond, and I worried I wouldn’t be able to love another baby as much – but it just got even better when Olly joined our little gang!

Tell us a story about your funniest dad ‘fail’

Car seats! I tried for hours one morning to put one in and after a while, I knew I was beaten. So I drove to Plunket when they were helping with installations. I got there and a lovely Plunket lady came out, had a look at the tangled web of seatbelts and tilted car seat, and simply said, “Oh dear. What have you done?” The poor woman and I spent about half an hour undoing whatever it was I’d managed to do!

We noticed in a recent photo online that you were reading our founder Ian Grant’s Fathers Who Dare Win – we were really chuffed. What’s the best piece of advice you read in that book?

It’s such a great book! I’m not much of a reader but Ian puts everything in such an easy, digestible way. One of the best things I’ve taken from his book is – talk to the baby when they’re in mum’s tummy. I sung to both our boys, told them stories, talked with them about the kinds of adventures we were going to have and the amazing people they would meet. When both our boys were born, they recognised my voice and looked around for me when I said, “Hello, little man”. It blew me away.

I loved the advice to make sure your kids don’t just see their mum as ‘mum’ – but as someone very special. There’s a great bit in the book about a couple of kids giving their mum a hard time while their dad was reading the paper at the table, and suddenly dad looks up and says, “Don’t you ever speak to your mother – my wife – like that! She’s the best thing that ever happened to me and if you give her a hard time – you’ll have to answer to me.” I’ve never forgotten that and am working hard to make sure our boys know their mum is an amazing woman, not just their mum. It’s how I’ve always viewed my mum, and my dad is a big reason for that.

Best dad joke. Go.

I actually stole this after my dad told it so many times. Whenever we drive past a cemetery I always say, “You know those people who live over there? (And point to a house across the road or next door to the cemetery). Well they’re not allowed to be buried in that cemetery. Do you know why?” One of the kids always asks, “Why?” and then I go, “’Because they’re still alive!” Cue roaring laughter for ages! Actually no. It’s more like cue the eye rolls from Louise and the kids.