With Father’s Day coming up in the US this weekend, we want to acknowledge the dads in our community by checking in with the dads here at Tidepool. These dads have worked tirelessly to balance their responsibilities both at work and at home during the COVID-19 restrictions.
We asked the dads here at Tidepool how their perspective has changed while sheltering in place. While parenting during these times has been difficult in some respects, our teammates reflected that they’ve had an opportunity for quality time that, under normal circumstances, might have been hard to come by.
For Brandon Arbiter, whose child was born earlier this year, this has been an opportunity to experience all of the sweet milestones he might have missed during his usual schedule, “I’ve been able to witness and celebrate the small moments of my baby’s development, like grasping with one hand, holding his own bottle, and sitting up for two seconds before toppling over.”
This emphasis on quality time has been an important learning experience for Gerrit Niezen. “Things that I've started appreciating a lot more since lockdown include taking walks with my family to the park or the beach, baking cookies with my son and playing games with him.”
Dan Korelitz echoes this sentiment, “To me, it has put into perspective the importance of being in the moment with those you care about,” adding, “ I am certainly not a perfect parent... but that is ok because I am doing the best I can.”
Unexpected quality time was a welcome side effect for Tidepool CEO Howard Look, whose children returned home early from college. This meant “more quality time with them, more family dinners and game nights, and now that they are 20, more meaningful conversations about what's going on in the world.”
Derrick Burns also has adult children and says his perspective on parenting has not changed. “However,” he adds, “the crisis has given me an opportunity to connect. What my kids need from me now is the perspective that my time on Earth has given me. I'm thrilled each time they ask.”
Jamie Bate agrees. “It did give us the rare chance to spend a lot more time together as a family and appreciate my children for the people that they are.”
Tapani Otala has found that life during the pandemic has reinforced to him that, “Parenting truly is a lifelong role...You still try to look out for them just as much if not more than you might when they're taking their first steps, or taking their first bike ride — or catching their first of many nasty viral bugs.”
Using this time to have meaningful conversations has been a focus for many dads at Tidepool, including Pete Schwamb. “Sheltering-in-place has given me opportunities to talk to my kids about how we evaluate the information we get, and has made me think more deeply about how we evaluate risks from a family and community perspective.”
Meaningful conversations for Ed Nykaza has meant focusing on “quality one-on-one time with my kids, and that I need to do so in a way that creates a psychologically safe environment that enables the possibility of crucial and/or radically candor conversations.”
Even though the ages of their children may differ, many dads mentioned the importance of supporting their children during this change.
For James Raby, whose children are young, the biggest challenge has been to “make sure that our kids get enough social interaction so they can stay constructive and continue to develop. We encourage video game sessions with school friends so they can feel a part of a community.”
With a daughter finishing her RN in Canada, a son home from college, and a teenage son at home, Lane Desborough has found that, “Quarantine has influenced our three children — and our approach to parenting them — in different ways.” Adding, “We couldn't be prouder of the three of them, in their own distinct ways.”
For Darin Krauss, whose son is in his first year of college, this support has meant fostering autonomy. “Being the parent of a teenager or young adult has always been a fine balance between encouraging independence, accepting responsibility, and providing guidance on the path to becoming a fully independent and self-sufficient adult.”
Lennart Goedhart mentioned that the need to be extra patient and kind is still coloring his perspective. “Even though the girls seem to be doing well, I feel the need to spend a little bit of extra time checking in. ”
Recognizing the reality of adjustment is important for both parents and children.
As Matt Lumpkin poignantly shares, “I see this as a truly unique opportunity to live out this challenging time together with vulnerability and transparency. What greater skill to teach our kids than the versatility and tenacity to survive and thrive in times for which there is no precedent.”
Eric Luhrs found adjusting to the new normal to be quite stressful before his family found their rhythm. He adds, “One of the big successes was helping my oldest adjust to remote learning. We started a daily check-in and planning session that made a big difference and gave her more confidence.”
Many of the dads on our team have paused to recognize their privilege at being able to be home with their families and working for an organization that already supported remote work, as Tidepool is already a distributed team.
For Manny Hernandez, “The silver lining of these times that feel so challenging is that we are closer together as a family than ever before.” Adding, “We are incredibly lucky as a family, to be able to work remotely, afford the care we need, food, etc.”
Despite the challenge of trying to balance work and family, for Raza Panjwani, the last few months have also been a blessing. “I have gained an appreciation for the balance my wife has been striking all this time, and I got an opportunity to spend precious time with my young daughter that otherwise would have slipped away in the rush of normal life.”
With his son’s preschool closed, Cameron Summers has taken on a greater role as playmate. Adding that although this change in daily life has brought new challenges for them as working parents, he is “cherishing the added time I can spend with my son.”
Taking on the playmate role and joining his kids in their efforts to release tension is something Nathaniel Hamming has refined while sheltering-in-place. Recently, at dinner, he and his boys (ages six, three, and three) just growled and roared at each other as loud as they could for 10 minutes.
Ben Derr recognized early that “this is a marathon — we are all home together and need to really allow each other time to adjust and evolve within the situation and get our ‘pace’ in different times and ways.” But, he adds, it's important to understand that “we aren’t all the same. Like diabetes, adjustments and needs in quarantine will vary and everyone is different.”
As we mark the coming holiday and hope for a return to more familiar daily activities in the coming months, we have come to see how universal the experiences of gratitude, support, and time have been for each of the dads here at Tidepool. Whatever your parenting reality, worklife, and challenges have been during this time, we hope you’re able to celebrate the highlights, too.
Happy Father’s Day!