TOP STORIES The COVID pandemic has opened up new perspectives on...

The COVID pandemic has opened up new perspectives on parenting for many fathers.

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A father plays with his son in a park in Amritsar, India on Father’s Day in June 2016.

Getty Images via Narinder Nanu/AFP


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Getty Images via Narinder Nanu/AFP

A father plays with his son in a park in Amritsar, India on Father’s Day in June 2016.

Getty Images via Narinder Nanu/AFP

With the move to work from home giving fathers the opportunity to spend more time with their children, the challenge of balancing work and family over the past two years has given some of them new perspectives on fatherhood.

For Elgin Oliver, a father of two who lives in Missouri, being a father during the pandemic also meant working full-time and taking online courses.

“It was difficult, especially the school part, because I was just trying to find time to sit down and do my homework and then try to help around the house with the kids…so my time was really stretched out,” Oliver said. .

Elgin Oliver with his daughter.

Elgin Oliver


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Elgin Oliver

Elgin Oliver with his daughter

Elgin Oliver

“I came to the conclusion that it’s not really what you do, it’s more of the time you spend with them, and I learned that our bond has grown and strengthened,” he said.

Other fathers have reflected on the impact of distance learning for their children during the pandemic.

“Basically, you have to change your role from dad to dad, teacher, caretaker, gym instructor, nutritionist, because all meals are eaten at home … how wonderful that the family got together for almost all three meals every single day,” said Lance Somerfeld, a father of two living in New York.

Somerfeld with two children.

Lance Somerfeld


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Lance Somerfeld

Somerfeld with two children.

Lance Somerfeld

BUT Pew Research Center A February survey of working parents with children under the age of 12 at home found that 43% of fathers and 58% of mothers reported difficulties with childcare responsibilities caused by the pandemic. A related poll in October 2020 produced similar results.

Work from home, no separation between home and office

The pandemic has also forced many fathers to combine life and work without sharing their home and office.

“Because our children are small – only 7, 4 and under 1 year old – they don’t necessarily understand what work really is if you work from home, compared to before when I was on active duty in the Air Force. “said Austin Lieberman, a father of three who lives in Florida.

The stress of working from home and taking on more childcare responsibilities during the pandemic has also forced fathers to look to each other for support.

Oliver started a podcast Call of Duty Black Dads with a friend in 2018 to shed light on their experiences as black fathers. Throughout the pandemic, they continued to record episodes about their parental concerns.

Father groups offer a way to connect

Others have reached out to dad-focused groups in their areas to build a sense of community and connect with each other.

Somerfeld, co-founder of the City Dads Group in New York in 2008, said the organization has grown into a collective network of approximately 24,000 fathers in more than 40 cities across the country.

Sean Lisi, father of four and organizer of the Puget Sound Dads Group and Tacoma Dads Group, said: “With more and more fathers coming home from working remotely, there really is an opportunity for them.”

“The opportunity to be part of a group of these guys and really get a chance to connect with other guys was huge,” Lisi said.

The pandemic has also given fathers an opportunity to reflect on the limited time they had for themselves, while at the same time cherishing moments they might not otherwise have been able to spend with their children.

“I’m extremely grateful for some of those moments I have in solitude where I can steal some of the time we’ve all sacrificed a couple of years,” Somerfeld said.

“I think a lot of it is just gratitude for what we have, for our health, for this special time that we have spent with our children — that we will never have that much time with them again,” he said.

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