This article is sponsored by our partner, Dryer Vent Squad of Atlanta.
Often we are quick to ask mom how her year of parenting in a pandemic has been, but we do not always ask dad. This year, we decided to ask dad how have the past twelve months been for him.
The past twelve months have required more from us as parents than I think we could have ever imagined. This past school year, we began to see the role of the father shift within many families. For some fathers, that meant working less at the office and working from home while helping with virtual learning, while for others, it meant working three or more jobs to pay the bills. It meant becoming an unemployed dad for many South Atlanta fathers because he did not have a job to go to due to his job closing or making a sacrifice and not working outside of the home to protect his immunocompromised family member.
When speaking to dads about the past twelve months, many shared the heartache that they experienced from not being able to see their children who lived with their custodial parent, were away at college or lived on their own. Unfortunately, many dads also shared that this would be their first father’s day without their dads due to their dads losing their lives to COVID-19.
We asked South Atlanta dads to share with us what it has been like parenting through a pandemic and to reflect on the past twelve months.
Here’s what they had to say to us:
Kenneth N. and his daughter
This year, fatherhood has meant everything to me. Being a dad gets me up each morning to get my baby girl ready for another day of school. It’s what makes me put in 12 to 16 hour days building my business so that I can provide for her and leave a legacy for her to build onto. Working during the pandemic has been challenging, but when I walk through that door at the end of the day, and she runs to me with her big smile, the day melts away. She is the best of me, and I love her so much. –Kenneth Nesbett, Fulton County. Owner of Dryer Vent Squad of Atlanta, GA
Don S. and our daughter
This past year has been highly intriguing, to say the absolute least. One main lesson that I have learned in the wake of this pandemic is that things can change in the blink of an eye, and whenever I thought that everything was under control, something went awry. As a dad and husband, it is my job to protect my wife and daughter, and I did my best, yet still, so many things were beyond my control. Over time I realize that things in life are a lot less stressful when I don’t expect so much and quickly turn things over to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Our daughter has been nothing short of amazing. Watching her balance school and a host of other virtual activities, all while being a straight-A student, has motivated me to become a better graduate student. She lets nothing distract her from her school work. As a dad, I have also learned what it means not to sweat the small stuff especially being the parent of a teenage daughter. When I became frustrated and wanted things to go back to “normal,” my daughter would remind me that she loves me and how much she and my wife really believe in me. For these reasons, I remained encouraged when so much doom, gloom, and sadness were all around us, especially during the passing of my aunt and, just recently, my grandfather.. -Don Smith, Clayton County.
Makenzie M. and his children
Over the past year, I found myself feeling exactly how my wife was feeling, and I learned that as dads, we must learn to have the necessary conversations and not hide our feelings. It was difficult to watch my wife become frustrated with the numerous issues that came with remote learning, including computers not working properly and our kids missing their schools, teachers, and friends. I must be honest and say that one of my biggest concerns over the past year is our children’s mental and emotional state and the children within our community. Over the past year is the mental and emotional state of our children and the of the children within our community. The past year has been difficult for so many of us, but I can not help but wonder about the long-term effects of the pandemic on the entire family. My biggest takeaway from this year is that parenting today is more than 24 hours a day. It requires so much more from us. Parenting is a lot of work, but it is the most rewarding and satisfying role I have ever had in my life, and I do with such an amazing person, my wife. –Makenzie McDaniel, Henry County.
Samuel A. and his children
The best part of working remotely was being there for my daughter every day while she did virtual schooling and my son, who was home attending college virtually. It brought us closer and formed many conversations that else wise may not have transpired. Working from home during COVID-19 also kept me home longer hours with my wife and granted me time to do more family bonding with my wife, kids, and pet dog. I hate COVID-19 happened but gladly accept the new normal it caused for me. -Samuel Amoah, Henry County.