Parenting is a difficult job that receives little-to-no training. For many working families, the pressures of everyday life on top of the demands of raising children can be difficult and that the pandemic has only added to this stress. Parents Anonymous of New Jersey – Father Time (Father Time) offers a community where parents can find strength and hope to get through these difficult times together.
Hector first joined Father Time through an invitation from his friend, and long time member of the organization, J. J continuously spoke of Father Time’s mission and his positive experience with them for three years before Hector agreed to join him for a meeting.
Since then, Hector has joined three Father Time hosted events and formed lasting relationships with other members along the way. Parents and families, like Hector’s, have been left reeling after the effects of the pandemic caused schools to close, after school activities to be cancelled, and introduced new financial uncertainty due to job losses. Losing his job during the COVID-19 pandemic caused Hector to seek more support and pushed him to attend Father Time’s weekly support group meetings.
“The casual format along with a more serious focus on family stresses, is comforting to me,” he said of his experience attending the weekly community-based support groups for parents. “As the man of my family it’s hard to acknowledge my feelings of fear, sadness, and isolation [due to the pandemic], but these settings make it easier because I’m speaking with men who feel the same way.”
In addition to needing support for himself, Hector also sought out advice on how to support his five children, all under the age of 14, who were struggling to complete school assignments remotely. While Hector and his wife attempted to work with the children, the remote work and digital learning environment was especially difficult for two of his children who have learning and behavior problems.
This added stress on Hector and his wife was profound. Choosing to attend the weekly father support groups was the first step in changing his situation. Stress relief from the meetings and learning of other parenting experiences through his new Father Time “brothers” has enabled Hector to work through his stress and to be a better support to his children at home as they work through remote learning. Hector now looks forward to the support and ideas he gets from the men in his weekly meetings.