Married To The CEO: Serving My Family In The Middle Of Quarantine
We’ve been isolating and distancing for weeks. Our kids had virtual schooling before everything was shut down. So when the restrictions were handed down – BOOM – everyone’s needs changed. And, at the same time, some freedoms were born. Originally the boys had the majority (pretty much all) of their academic needs handled by the school in a formal classroom setting. Then suddenly Heather and I were helping them to navigate everything virtually under our roof. Suddenly we were hearing:
“What is Zoom? How do you use it?” “I need the access code for class. Wait! I don’t have a password!” “I can’t get connected to the Wi-Fi!” “I’m headed to the driveway for wellness class.”
And my personal favorite:
“I have a call with Ms. Bugg at 2 pm. Please don’t interrupt me.”
My wife went from having her home office all to herself in peace, to everyone else officing at home with her in complete chaos. All four of us have Zoom meetings. We are all on Wifi simultaneously. Everyone is talking at the same time. There are constant distractions and interruptions. And ultimately, Heather is the glue holding our family together. So, I asked myself, “How can this all work well? How can we function in this new scenario? How do I serve everyone’s needs that that have all changed drastically overnight?”
I have been in technology for more than half my life. That doesn’t mean I’m an expert in all things; it just means I have a good grasp of how this stuff works…and how to make sure it’s most effective. So when everyone has to share our home network, I want to make sure it can accommodate our needs and not fail us in the middle of a crucial conversation. I try to take care of our technology needs behind the scenes, so that everyone can do what they need to do and there aren’t any technical challenges. My goal is to make sure our work and school days are seamless because interruptions mean lost time with teachers, employees and clients in our household. We just can’t have those type of challenges in our day to day schedule on top of all the emotional stress. So while most people think this a very very small thing to stay on top of, I know it’s a way I can be serving my family in the background, where there’s no worry put on them.
Another big component in our spring family lifestyle that went from 100 to 0 was baseball. Practices 5-6 days a week went to none. But guess what? This too shall pass and the boys have to be ready as much as possible when they hit the dirt again. I never played an inning of baseball when I was young. It was all basketball for me. But the season that my kids are in, isn’t basketball, it’s baseball. And they have a passion for it. I have a passion for them. So, how do I serve that need that used to be filled by coaches? Researching, learning, asking questions, improvising, seeking virtual training. I spent my off hours learning baseball drills, exercises and lessons that could keep the boys in top baseball shape. I began texting (aka annoying coaches) to try and become as much of a student of the game as I possibly could to serve my kids. Research and investigating led to drills that we could do as a family and keep the baseball mojo going. Heck, we even incorporated, like a lot of players, Zoom meetings with coaches. Here’s the best part… I’m spending all this extra time with my two boys. It has been such a huge blessing in all this mess. We’ve all grown stronger bonds because of it. They may not have accelerated big time in baseball, but they for sure haven’t fallen behind. And, most importantly, our time together has been and will be priceless. I’ll be taking all your questions as I approach my baseball coaching certification – haha!
And what about our CEO? I guess the biggest thing here is trying to allow Heather to operate in her gifts during this time as much as possible. I watch and marvel as she excels leading during a crisis. We try to make sure the kids know of her important calls, podcasts and interviews. When is it okay for her to be interrupted and when is is necessary for her to be completely left alone. I’m constantly making sure all the questions that aren’t a do or die “mom thing,” come through me – even when I know they’d prefer to ask her. Absolute quiet needed? We go outside and enjoy some good weather by doing a baseball drill or two, or taking a walk or bike ride. Giving Heather the space she needs to run the business well is a way I can serve her. We are navigating new territory here and just because mom is now around 24/7, doesn’t mean every single question has to be a mom question. Did you really have to know that right this instant? Could we pause that question for a bit? Hungry? Be your own chef. You are responsible for making your own breakfast and lunch. You can do it! Mom isn’t the chef during your school day, and that shouldn’t change now. Let’s keep things as normal as possible. And the kids will enhance some pretty helpful life skills for times when being on their own is the reality, and they can be much more self-sufficient.
Being isolated doesn’t mean you can’t serve well. You have to be more creative to serving the new needs that have arisen. Help bring order and normalcy to the new routine. Maintaining this servant leader mindset can continue even after we are able to see more than the four walls of our home.