WIA + TAG Celebrate Dads – Jack Cusumano

How has working from home changed your experience of being a parent?

This is a really hard question to answer. Working from home is one thing. Working from home while in the midst of a global pandemic, with no assistance from resources like preschool, daycare, and our kids’ friends that we depend on to help raise our children is another thing entirely. This whole experience has been exhausting, relentlessly overwhelming, isolating and depressing.

We are expected to work a 40 hour work week while simultaneously being everything (parent, teacher, playmate, counselor) to our kids for every waking moment of the day. It is a constant struggle to find a balance, but it’s also entirely quixotic. There can’t really be balance in this situation. But no one can help families in this situation, because being around other humans puts us and our children at risk, and if we get sick, who will take care of the kids? So we are all on our own to fend for ourselves, try to survive, and try to provide some semblance of a childhood to our kids in this time, with no end on the horizon and no one coming to help us.

I feel like the question is teeing up an answer like, “Wow, I never saw my kids before, but now I see them all the time! It’s so great!” But I was already very involved with my kids before we went on lockdown. Sure, now we have all the time in the world with our kids, but this isn’t, like, a nice, cozy, family bonding time. It’s a global pandemic lockdown. We’re all locked in a house trying not to get sick and die, while also trying to keep money in our bank account because the government has made it abundantly clear they won’t be providing any help to anyone, while also trying to keep a smile on our faces and play with the kids and not let them in on how scary everything is, so it’s really not a fun dynamic.