Did you ever envision parenting during a global pandemic? Yeah, neither did I. My wife and I welcomed our first child, Baker, into the world on February 20th. Spreetail grants secondary caregivers three weeks of paid leave, so I spent that time off bonding with Baker, knowing in the back of my mind these three weeks would likely be the fastest of my life.
Little did I know, I would only spend two days in the office before the announcement that I would be transitioning to work from home. While this was stressful and a lot of change at once, it has been a blessing in disguise. Our executive team has done a phenomenal job understanding the impact COVID-19 is having on the families here at Spreetail. They have gone above and beyond not only making employees feel valued and appreciated, but they also understand the hardship of parenting while working from home and being confined to your home 24/7.
One experience we’ve been partaking in is Spreetail Story Time for children, where a team member reads a book via Microsoft Teams for those tuning in. While Baker had no idea what was going on, it was an opportunity for me to disconnect for 30 minutes and spend time with my son – something I would not have the opportunity to do while working in the office.
With Spreetail’s flexibility throughout this pandemic, I have been able to be there when Baker wakes up in the morning (somehow he sleeps through the night and we wake up before him), witness him roll over for the first time, take him to virtual gatherings, and change many diapers.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, there are many challenges that come with being a father during a pandemic. It has been an ongoing battle to disconnect from work knowing my new office is a staircase away. What I have found to help me balance family time and ensure I am succeeding at work is getting back online later in the evening when Baker goes to sleep. The good news is I’m not alone, there are other new parents at Spreetail I lean on for support. Fernando Napier, Software Engineer II, shares a similar experience as he became a first-time father in February as well:
“I must commend my friends and colleagues at Spreetail for making the transition back to work less difficult than I expected. They have been understanding as I try to master the art of talking over a screaming baby. In good jest the team tells me August is just angry at the way I write code. The team has been keeping the mood light and it has been reassuring when things get hectic around the house. Although it would be nice if having a kid would make me a better software engineer.”
“Parenthood has been fully rewarding in the few months since the birth of my child. And in these rare times I am thankful that I work for a company that values parenthood the way Spreetail does. As a new father, I was able to spend the first few precious weeks of August’s life by his side. It made the transition home from the hospital easier for both my wife and I as we worked together to settle him into our home. I was able to experience all the joys a newborn can bring without having to worry about work.”
I discovered you never know what to expect while expecting – and not to rule out a global pandemic. Despite all of the challenges, I will always cherish the extra moments I’ve been able to spend with my son at home beyond paternity leave. Now I’m counting down the days until my coworkers can meet him in-person once we are back in the office.