Social Distancing Has Put My Bond With My Toddler First
‘Founder’ and ‘father’ are not mutually exclusive, even during the coronavirus lockdown
Of all of the hats I wear, “Dad” is my favorite.
I’m writing this essay as my son watches Toy Story 4. My workday productivity is down to probably 40% of normal, so I’m mixing in more evening and naptime hours to get my work done. If you find yourself in a similar boat, don’t beat yourself up.
Over the past week, while we’re all social distancing to flatten the curve of the coronavirus outbreak, I can say with confidence that childcare is worth much more than the $1,100 my family pays per month (not including babysitters). Like many working parents, I’m scrambling for ways to keep my 3.5-year-old son safe, entertained, and engaged — while still trying to be productive at work. Thanks to Twitter (I start a lot of sentences this way), I crowdsourced a bunch of options, activities, and resources to keep him both occupied and happy.
But when it came to balancing fatherhood and work productivity, it was a challenge to find the right combination for me. After spending a couple days trying to follow the productivity schedules popping up all over social media, I realized I was doing the whole dad thing wrong: I was structuring my day with myself in mind, without thinking about how it would affect my son.
For context, my siblings and I grew up as quasi-latchkey kids until we started staying with our grandparents after school. On the off chance that we were with our parents, I rarely had quality time with just my dad. He was the sole breadwinner in the house and often took jobs wherever he could find them to provide for us. I remember an 18-month period when my dad worked in New York; he would drive down to South Carolina to spend a couple days with us before going back up to put food on the table. I knew that if I was ever blessed to be a father, I’d want to create space and opportunity for memories that go beyond the traditional…