“I have two jobs. I’m head of production for a news channel, with a timetable that allows me a level of flexibility. And I have a second project, created with Sarah, called Timberpost. It’s very interesting to be able to bring the two together – my passion for my day job and this other, more adventurous ambition.
As a little boy, I was very shy and inquisitive, I was passionate about cinema and I wanted to be a director. I’ve ended up in television, which isn’t so far off.
Which superhero would I like to be for my son? I don’t know how to answer that question without seeming pretentious… I’d have to say Batman. It’s the least ridiculous answer. He’s the only one without a superpower. All he’s got, he’s earned through hard work.”
Benjamin works alongside Sarah on their project, Timberpost. I ask him if it’s difficult to create a business and work together as a couple. “It’s both interesting and complicated. You have to know your relationship really well when you first launch, and you need to check in with each other even more regularly than you do in a ‘normal’ marriage. We’re lucky that it works!”
Benjamin is Jacob’s dad, and he’s taken naturally to fatherhood. “Becoming a father is always what I wanted. It changes everything. Of course, you’re no longer at the centre of your own life, but that’s a good thing. You reassess yourself, you realise that there are things which matter more than you do. Marriage already does that a bit, but having a child takes it even further.”
What kind of dad are you? “I’m still finding out! I’m not trying to be any particular type of dad. I let myself go along with what works for my son. I obviously have values and certain guiding principles that I try to follow, but I’m as natural as possible.
I’m a really doting dad, despite myself! But I try to be cool too – I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive.”
Benjamin has a strong paternal instinct. “In our case, Jacob was born by caesarean section. In the first moments of his life, after he’d said hello to his mum, the doctors gave him to me. You’re face to face with your son, a few seconds after his birth, without any advice or direction. After the paediatrician’s examinations, I found myself completely alone, and my instinct came naturally.”
Benjamin also sees the value of paternity leave. “I took regular paternity leave of about fourteen days. Then I added on paid leave so I could spend as much time as possible with my wife and little boy. This was really important. I was with them for nearly a month.”
And what do you think of the emotional workload that mothers take on? “I think that it’s a reality, and it’s difficult to avoid. When Jacob was born, I told myself: ‘I have to do as much as my wife does.’ But there’s no need. Mothers have a responsibility that fathers can’t understand. I think we have to accept that, and do as much as we can to help. It’s not modern to say ‘that’s not true, I do just as much as my wife, we’re equal’, even against evidence to the contrary. You just have to work to reduce that gap as much as possible.”
So are you part of a breed of ‘new dads’? “I struggle to believe that we can call it new! We are being born into a more modern culture, and what seems obvious today wasn’t before, but I can’t imagine it any other way.
I’m aware that I may well do the maximum I can, but my wife will always do more.”
Benjamin was born into a family that was “traditional, attached to our values and our family history, but at the same time modern and in keeping with the times. My parents always tried to unite the two. And they succeeded.
I grew up in Paris but lived abroad in Michigan and New York, where I met Sarah.”
The family values that he wants to pass on to his son are the following: “know who you are and where you come from, while always remaining open and listening to differences. Our way of doing things is not necessarily the best way.”
Your hopes for the future? “To see Jacob grow up healthy, surrounded by his loving parents. That he can make a life that makes him and those around him happy. As for me, I hope to see him do that. And I hope that our time as a family is nothing but happy!”