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“Parents should give their children the gift of knowing that they are enough”, by Mikkel Andersen and Dr. Ely Weinschneider

At the core, parents should give their children the gift of knowing that they are enough. Knowing that we are loved and are ‘enough’ is the platform upon which everything else is built. I hope I’ll never be guilty of telling her to ‘be realistic’ or saying that she’s ‘just a kid’ and ‘she’ll see one […]


At the core, parents should give their children the gift of knowing that they are enough. Knowing that we are loved and are ‘enough’ is the platform upon which everything else is built.

I hope I’ll never be guilty of telling her to ‘be realistic’ or saying that she’s ‘just a kid’ and ‘she’ll see one day how crazy her dream is’. My goal is to encourage her to action — ‘Great idea… what can we do about it!’ Every dream requires steps to get there. This is where I can help her plan and lay out the process to turn her dream into a reachable goal. Even if it’s to fly on a unicorn, my job is to encourage her and help look for that unicorn.

This is something that I’ve experienced. My own life was fueled by a big dream and an innate desire to get there. I hope my own life will show her that dreams can become goals and goals can be reached.


As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Mikkel Andersen, Creative Director for Trendhim — an online company selling men’s fashion accessories. He helped start the company in 2007 and has watched it grow from humble beginnings. What started as a small Danish company now boasts a reach of over 25+ countries worldwide and has no intention of slowing down. It is his desire to help men tell their own story that inspires him and motivates his work. Trendhim now boasts 13 house brands and over 5,000 unique products. Mikkel lives in Horsens, Denmark, with his girlfriend and daughter.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

Thank you for inviting me. I grew up in a small harbor town in Denmark. When I was 9, my parents adopted my sister from Romania. I guess you can say that I experienced the life of an only child and the role of older brother.

My parents were hard working and wanted to instill that discipline in us. My dad considered weekends as opportunities to work. There was always a gutter to be cleaned or a part of the car needing a wash. Even my friends were tasked with chores. It got to where kids would call and invite me over to their houses for fear of visiting mine and being expected to work.

What I thought was an annoyance as a kid was actually the spark that ignited the work ethic I carry today. I’m sure that was my dad’s plan all along.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

When I was younger, I wanted an Audi RS 4. I remember telling people around me that I would be in the driver’s seat of such a car one day. They were skeptical. Maybe an 8-year-old with such grand goals is a cause for sideways glances and a patronizing pat on the head. The idea that others didn’t believe me added fuel to my fire — the entrepreneurial spirit had found a place. When your brain begins the ‘I must achieve this’ monologue, you start looking for the opportunity to make your goal a reality.

After finishing high school, my friend (now business partner) and I started looking for such an opportunity. We actually bought a website with the intention of opening a bread delivery service. Further investigation into the bakery business showed us that waking up at 4:00 am would be a regular part of our routine. Let’s just say that we burned that idea and decided to sell accessories for men. From the charcoaled ashes of bread delivery rose Trendhim.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

As anyone with an infant will tell you… no day is exactly the same.

I typically wake up with my daughter at 5:00 am and let my girlfriend sleep while we make breakfast. After a quick bite to eat, I’m off to the gym by 6 and in the office before 7:30 am and stay until 4:00 pm. Lately, I’ve been fasting through lunch. It’s a chance to get more work done, and I’ve felt better physically because of it. A win-win.

Once home, it’s time to play with my daughter before starting dinner. A bit more family time after eating and then it’s bedtime for her and a chance for the adults to be together. Sometimes there’s maybe half an hour when both my girlfriend and daughter are in bed and I get 100% alone time. There used to be so much of that type of time — hard to remember how I used to fill it.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

Spending time with my daughter and engaging with her is how I show love. Having her know that she is loved is the foundation that I want her to build her life on. I want her to know that she is enough. I don’t mind her having a life of her own. A life that doesn’t require me (or mom) to be right next to her every second of every day. Her success in life cannot be bound to mine. I want her to understand that she is enough and she has everything within her that she needs to live her best life. The way I show her this is through love… and that is evident through spending time together.

If I was after the ‘#1 dad’ coffee mug, my goal would be to make my daughter ‘happy’. I think contentment is more important. And again, this comes from a rooted understanding that we are ‘enough’.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

I completely agree that quality is more important than quantity. You can see the opposite everywhere — parents sitting with their phones next to their kids on the train. My daughter is still very young, but I hope to establish patterns and expectations now that we can continue as she grows.

I’m a big advocate for inclusion. Children want to be a part of our lives and it is our job to include them. Even though I have an infant, I keep her next to me during my routine chores like meal prep or folding laundry. I’ve chosen to speak to her in complete sentences and not reduce our ‘conversations’ to baby talk. It’s as simple as explaining what I’m doing as I cook, for example, and it’s my way of showing her respect.

Even when she is lying on the floor or in her little stroller, I feel that engaging with her is important. Stimulating her by showing her objects or touching her hands and counting her fingers — these are simple activities that help as she develops and brings us closer together. The simple act of touching is important for both of us.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

  1. Wear a Wristwatch — A watch keeps you from looking at your phone to check the time. It keeps you focused and in the moment.
  2. Keep Devices Out of Reach at Home — This includes phone, tablet, etc. and is a work in progress for my house.
  3. Own Fewer Things — We’ve chosen to own less ‘things’. The more stuff we accumulate, the more overhead we have and the more we have to work to keep all it working. We prefer to have less and be able to afford ‘luxuries’… like someone to cut the grass or a cleaner to take care of the windows. It gives us more time together and less stress trying to get more stuff.
  4. Have an Excellent Partner — Being able to trust your partner is paramount. Knowing that my daughter is taken care of when I’m not home gives me the freedom to work hard at the office (without worrying) and then come home and be present. The opposite would be a day where I stressed over my daughter while at work and was unable to focus only to come home and still have work to finish.
  5. Separate Work and Life — My job and company are my passion. It’s a struggle to not think about work, the people who depend on me, etc. once I leave the office. My goal is to have an allocated time slot each evening where I can refocus on work. This will give me a chance to be present with my family, and then, at a certain time, reply to emails or plan the next day.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

A good parent is one whose child knows they are loved unconditionally.

There is a difference between actions that make a child happy and actions that form a whole person. My dad is a great example of a ‘good parent’. He wasn’t afraid of being unliked — or of me being ‘unhappy’. His goal was to make me a better person and love me unconditionally.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

At the core, parents should give their children the gift of knowing that they are enough. Knowing that we are loved and are ‘enough’ is the platform upon which everything else is built.

I hope I’ll never be guilty of telling her to ‘be realistic’ or saying that she’s ‘just a kid’ and ‘she’ll see one day how crazy her dream is’. My goal is to encourage her to action — ‘Great idea… what can we do about it!’ Every dream requires steps to get there. This is where I can help her plan and lay out the process to turn her dream into a reachable goal. Even if it’s to fly on a unicorn, my job is to encourage her and help look for that unicorn.

This is something that I’ve experienced. My own life was fueled by a big dream and an innate desire to get there. I hope my own life will show her that dreams can become goals and goals can be reached.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

Success to me is found in contentment. Happiness is often cited as a byproduct of success, but to me, happiness is merely the surface. The underlying current is contentment.

For me, the journey makes me content. I always try to achieve more as progress and consistent growth, evolution, and development bring me the peace that comes from being content. The opposite is complacency.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

My parents and my own childhood are the greatest resources. I often refer back to my upbringing and think of how my mom or dad would have handled a certain situation. Holding a mirror up to the values they used to guide me helps me be a better parent.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I do like the quote by Milton H. Erickson — ‘A goal without a date is just a dream’. There is something that happens when we put a date and a deadline on something. The brain switches on and looks for ways to make it happen.

There is a huge chasm of difference mentally between a dream and a goal. A dream is one day in the future, while a goal is something you’ve started and are actively pursuing just by calling it a goal.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

What a great question! I would like to ignite the Action Movement. A movement where the solution is always action. One where everyone asks each other, ‘What are you doing about it?’.

It’s not very commonplace these days to take this approach. More people would rather post on social media about the importance of something without actually trying to do anything about it. The Action Movement is how I hope to raise my daughter. I’m not here to crush dreams. I am here to guide her and help her take action toward any goal she sets for herself. It’s a privileged position and one for which I am very thankful.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

The pleasure was mine! Thank you for your time and for having me.


About the Author:

Dr. Ely Weinschneider is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in New Jersey. Dr. Ely specializes in adolescent and adult psychotherapy, parenting, couples therapy, geriatric therapy, and mood and anxiety disorders. He also has a strong clinical interest in Positive Psychology and Personal Growth and Achievement, and often makes that an integral focus of treatment.

An authority on how to have successful relationships, Dr. Ely has written, lectured and presented nationally to audiences of parents, couples, educators, mental health professionals, clergy,businesses, physicians and healthcare policymakers on subjects such as: effective parenting, raising emotionally intelligent children, motivation, bullying prevention and education, managing loss and grief, spirituality, relationship building, stress management, and developing healthy living habits.

Dr. Ely also writes a regular, nationally syndicated column about the importance of “being present with your children”.

When not busy with all of the above, Dr. Ely works hard at practicing what he preaches, raising his adorable brood (which includes a set of twins and a set of triplets!) together with his wife in Toms River, New Jersey.

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