The Secret Life of Dads – Coronavirus Edition Pt 1

Luke BenedictusBy Luke Benedictus.
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How many times have you heard the word “unprecedented” in the last few weeks? The financial, social and domestic implications of Covid-19 are intense. Mix them into the daily challenges of #dadlife and things get complicated fast. Here, four dads share their experiences of fatherhood under the shadow of a global pandemic.

“She said we should see a relationship counsellor”
Things weren’t going that great with my partner before. We’ve both got busy jobs and trying to juggle them with parenting two boys – they’re five and two – has often been a struggle. But now things have got a hell of a lot worse.

It’s an impossible situation. We’re both trying to work from home, but we’ve got a two bedroom apartment with no garden and the kids are going crazy – you can only stick the poor buggers in front of ABC Kids for so long. The boys’ grandparents used to help out a lot with childcare, but obviously that can’t happen now. I need to get work done, my partner has heaps to do – we’re currently trying to work in two-hour shifts, with the other one looking after the kids.

There’ve been a lot of arguments. This situation has brought things up and being stuck together all the time has definitely compounded some problems in our relationship. It’s made me realise that I probably do use work to escape. The other night, my partner said we should see a relationship counsellor. I guess we’ll have to give that a go. Paul

“We’ve started drinking earlier and earlier”

I spoke to a mate in England a couple of weeks ago. He said the supermarkets had run out of beer! So I guess we did a bit of “panic-buying”. I went to the bottle-shop and stocked up. A few slabs of beer, bottles of wine for my wife, some gin, bourbon, mixers.

What I can say is we’ve made a pretty big dent in our supplies. Neither of us has that much work on and we’ve just started drinking earlier and earlier in the afternoon. We just sit in the garden as the kids run around.

Nothing bad has happened or anything – apart from getting up with the odd sore head. But I did get a bit of a wake-up call yesterday when I realised I’ve only got a couple of six-packs left. My wife reckons we should start having a couple of alcohol-free days. And she’s probably right. But what else do you do when you’re stuck in the house? John

“I honestly don’t know what to do”

Right now, I’m so stressed about money – it’s all I can think about. I’ve got two kids and my wife is pregnant with our third, she’s due in August. I was working as a chef at a restaurant – the casual shifts suited me because it gave me the flexibility to spend more time with the kids. But my boss had to let me go. To be honest, I don’t blame the guy. He’s struggling to stay afloat himself and I know he feels sick about it – he even dropped off a box of vegies to us the other day. Like a peace offering, I guess.

I’ve had to go on Centrelink benefits, for the first time in my life – I’m waiting for my application to go through now. I know everyone is affected in some way, but I honestly don’t know what to do. We’re not going to be able to pay the rent. I feel sick with worry. Luckily, my wife is being really cool about everything. She keeps telling me something will come up. Fuck knows what though. I feel powerless. We’ve just got to try and keep our heads up. Mick

“I’m actually enjoying being at home”

I know loads of people are hurting right now and I really feel for them. It’s a crazy time. Terrible. But so far our family has been really lucky.

I’m now working from home but I can only do about 20% of my actual job – I work in the back-end for a radio station. For the moment, I’m still on full pay although I’m aware that may change down the track. But I’m actually enjoying being at home. I’m getting to hang out with my little girl – yesterday we made a cubby in the garden and baked some muffins (not a total success). My wife also seems happy that I’m around, although the novelty may wear off.

I know the future is uncertain – who knows how long this will drag on for and what’s going to happen. I’m just trying not to look too far ahead and enjoy the moment. Yeah, I can work on my muffins, I suppose. Steven

Names have been changed

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