Friedman Simon - June 2020




JUNE 2020

Celebrating the Good News About Fatherhood Happy Father’s Day!

Father’s Day is different for millions of Americans this year — myself included. At the time of writing, the stay-at-home orders multiplied across the U.S. only two or three weeks ago. It hasn’t been easy, but the good news is many families have brought their home and work lives closer together and are spending more time with their loved ones. It makes me realize my own dad’s fatherhood skills were far ahead of his time. Growing up, I would’ve told you that my parents worked hard. But, as a father today, I now understand they were excellent planners, too. While they operated two businesses at once (each ran their own), they did so from home. They built an office in our home because they didn’t want to miss out on our lives while supporting their careers. Their priority was to put our family first and their businesses second, even though their careers were clearly important to them. My parents never missed a school event or parent-teacher conference — they both always attended. I didn’t realize how difficult balancing home and work could be. But, it’s a no-brainer, it is worth the challenge.

Working remotely is forcing workplaces everywhere to accommodate a new work- life balance that keeps us near our families constantly. We’ve experienced tremendous destruction and loss as a nation due to COVID-19, and I feel grateful every day that I can still work in my field. But I have to admit: At first, I was hesitant about the transition to working from home. I was eager to get more time with my kids, but my daughters are 3 years old and 2 months old, so they need a lot of attention. I worried that the clash between work and home might be too chaotic. Then, as I started to work remotely, I realized my worries were unfounded. My kids don’t stop me from doing my work. They actually give me a healthy break. Normally, I’d spend a certain amount of time commuting to work. I still wake up at the same hour as before, but instead of driving, I spend that time with my kids. Usually, I’d miss out on a lot of time with my kids throughout the day; I would only see them before and after my work day. Now, when I step out of my home office for a cup of coffee, my two girls are in the living room with my wife. I see what they are up to, fill my coffee, and head back to work. I will cherish the memories of these coffee breaks.

My parents designed their businesses and livelihoods so they could work from home, but most jobs today are remote only because of technology. If this crisis had happened even five years ago, I’m not sure we could’ve done it. I’m even more impressed with what my parents accomplished; they knew how important those walks and daily activities with family were before I really knew myself. I think more parents are making the same realizations. The experts say we’ll never work the same after this: I believe the same can be said about parenting. I mentioned in a past article that my father passed away when I was a teenager. Although he’s gone now, I think he would be proud to know his parenting skills have stood the test of time.

Of course, my wife is a huge help to the new work-life balance, but working from home still takes planning. Before, I used to skip my lunch break. Now, I never miss it. I try to take my breaks so we can go on daily walks together around the neighborhood and get some sunshine.

Happy Father’s Day everyone!

“My kids don’t stop me from doing my work. They actually give me a healthy break.”

––––-Michael JMills



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