Zephyr Green was born on April 20, 2020 beautiful and healthy. He came into a world full of uncertainty, born into a room full of masked faces. His existence was bound to be different from the beginning.
The moment we brought him home we were in conflict, knowing we needed help. But we didn’t know what that looked like in a Covid-19 world. After several sleepless nights, we caved and invited our mothers to stay.
For weeks, the only people Zephyr had contact with were my wife, Marissa, myself and his grandmothers. We felt isolated, holding this bundle of joy, wanting to share our baby boy.
After some time we began to invite people to sit on the other side of our screen door to meet Zephyr. It was awkward at first, no one knew what to do, nobody could hold or touch him. In time it became more comfortable and our son got to meet many new faces through that door.
Life during this time was very slow-paced. We spent a lot of quality time with Zephyr, and each other. These were valuable moments that are irreplaceable. Neither of us were working, we had no commitments, and our lives were peaceful.
Marissa has become an absolute motherhood machine. She is up early with Zephyr to change and feed him after long sleepless nights. She does it with excitement each day to greet her child.
But, after six months of maternity leave, Marissa went back to her job and I found some work after being laid off at the beginning of the pandemic. This left us in need of childcare, something we had only planned for in a different reality, before we anticipated raising a baby during a pandemic. These problems aren’t unique to parenting in a pandemic, but every challenge feels heightened.
We were left making a tough decision to let my mother-in-law watch Zephyr. This was our safest option, but not as consistent as normal childcare. With Marissa as the main breadwinner, this left me to be in charge of Zephyr on days he couldn’t go for daycare.
Talk about the ultimate conundrum: Here I have the cutest, fun-loving little buddy and all he wants to do is play with me. I should be the happiest man in the world, but I need to work. I need to be a breadwinner too, even if it’s just a slice.
Zephyr takes two two-hour naps, but the rest of the day can be pretty difficult. I can’t safely take him to a park, there are no play dates. We might get a walk in by ourselves, but most of the day we are inside, one-on-one, playing with his toys.
I wonder how this lack of interaction will shape Zephyr as he grows. We do our best to have him interact with people inside our bubble, but the bubble is small – it’s difficult to make parent friends during a pandemic.
This tightrope walk of work and fatherhood is a tough balance. I’m still learning to be my best at both.