I'm worried about my kids

Last year my wife started a new job and I became the primary parent. It was pretty 50/50 before, but she had to be in the office 4 days a week and added about an hour to her commute each day, giving up a flexible and mostly work from home arrangement.

I was fine with it. We had a nanny 30 hours a week. I was mentally prepared.

But now in COVID world:

  • The childcare situation has been minimal or non-existent
  • I’m dreading the upcoming school year (which starts in 3 weeks)
  • I’m having trouble concentrating on MY STUFF because I’m worrying about my kids.

Back up… 2011-2013ish

One of my prerequisites for having kids was I wanted to be working for myself.

I started working full time in 2008, got married in 2012, and left my last full time job at the end of 2013.

One of my jobs was staff videographer at a nonprofit that had a news and editorial arm. Being in downtown Washington, DC, I would pack my camera and literally walk to the Capitol to wait for some important person like a Congressperson to give a press conference.

I set up my camera and tripod next to the CSPAN, CNN, ABC, etc. cameras and tripods and just sort of stood around and eavesdropped.

The conversations were all the same:

“We had to change our medical plan and now it’s an extra $300 a month can you believe it??”

“I ran out of sick days so I’m not sure what I’m going to do.”

“We were planning a vacation but can’t take it anymore and I’ve used up my 2 weeks already.”

Every conversation had to do with health insurance or paid time off.

These guys and gals’ entire careers seemingly revolved around getting an assignment to film something, showing up, setting up the camera, waiting hours for the thing to happen (if there were votes or something else came up, it may even get cancelled!), breakdown, leave, and do it all again tomorrow.

I was less than 6 months in to this job and I thought “there’s no way I can do this for 30 years.”

I wanted a flexible schedule and wanted to be around my kids as much as possible.

…. be careful what you wish for :)

So here we are in August 2020

My son is starting kindergarten here in Virginia. We chose the 100% online option for a variety of reasons. They just released the school schedule and outside of an hour for lunch, he’s going to be on the computer from 9:05am-3:50pm four days a week. I can’t even fathom what this is going to be like. 6 hours on the computer every day. He’s fucking 5 years old.

My youngest celebrated his third birthday yesterday.

Both my boys have been amazing during this time - never complaining about not seeing friends and not going places. But there are some thing I’ve noticed on the edges that I’m really upset by.

The 3 year old LOSES HIS MIND when my wife or I leave the house. Even if we’re just going for a walk around the block, he has to say goodbye 5 times, then cries hysterically for a few minutes when we’re out of sight. It’s heartbreaking!

Part of me is thinking I should just cut back on my work to better accommodate my kids. My wife doesn’t have that luxury and that’s fine. Plenty of wives and mothers are going to cut back and that sucks. A lot of the recent gains in workplace gender equality are going to suffer.

Can I cobble together some kind of homeschool schedule while working part time? Can I outsource more and just try to break even until January or longer?

I got into freelancing and entrepreneurship because I wanted flexibility. I don’t want to be confined to 2 weeks of paid time off. I don’t want to spend time commuting. I want to have more time with our kids.

But we entrepreneurs and freelancers, we’re the ones that have to pick up the slack this year and it’s tough.