I am a working dad and prior to coronavirus, my life was fast-paced and unrelenting. During the day, I work as a media professional, managing huge expectations for a global business. There's always something to distract you from what should be most important, sometimes working into the late hours, meeting up with friends, gym, among other things. Lockdown brought home to me that you can be present, yet still distant – your body may be physically present, but your thoughts are elsewhere on other pressures and distractions in life. This can remove you from being in the moment for things like supporting your partner at home or spending more time with the kids.
In the early stages of lockdown, I was still in the mindset of trying to sort out my work-life balance like dealing with the management of my workload, setting up virtual meetings, etc. while having to cope with the new dynamic demands of parenting and doing things like home learning. To be honest, I found that despite my best efforts, I was getting the balance wrong. I was focusing too much on work that my mind was not fully engaged in household duties. Quickly, I saw how important it was to make sure I was present and on hand to fully support the family as a priority.
I have been more involved in the household duties since, even beyond what I could have imagined like tending to breakfast, delivering snacks on hand, doing the dishes more often, and helping with home learning - which isn’t easy when you have a 10 year old who asks for help then tells you you’re doing everything wrong! 😊I’ve also extended the courtesy of allowing my wife more time to rest during the day, which proved helpful to her as she’s a stay at home mum and usually does everything. I can now appreciate what looking after the kids full time really means.
"Lockdown has meant that I can’t simply avoid or ignore certain things I wouldn’t usually get involved with – I’ve had to face them, head-on, in order to be the best influence I can be on our children"
During the lockdown, my wife and I created a schedule with support from the boys. With people and friends unable to visit, my kids spent lots more time with me for months, and as a result, we have a much stronger connection than we would have if I had been out of the house working as usual. Of course, we’ve had our challenges like so many and while transitioning into a new normal way of life, it has shown the importance of being more aware and present. It’s also shown areas that perhaps I need to continue to grow in order to become a better dad and husband. Lockdown has meant that I can’t simply avoid or ignore certain things I wouldn’t usually get involved with – I’ve had to face them, head-on, in order to be the best influence I can be on our children. That means getting myself together so I can break the negative cycles in my life. Being a dad requires consistent action rather than words and being present both emotionally and mentally is equally, if not more, important than being there physically.
Everyone is slowly starting to get used to the fact that things are getting back to some kind normal again. We’ve allowed the boys to spend time with close friends, which they really appreciate.
As a family, we have grown stronger during this pandemic. Although coronavirus has caused so much chaos and negativity across the world, in our household at least I have managed to find a silver lining in being able to be more involved in family life, for my wife and my sons. And I can wholeheartedly say I am so much better off for it.
How have you been coping in lockdown?