This is the story of a thoroughly modern Baby Boomer, David, aka DaDa (pronounced Day-Day), who is a stay at home, work from home, and all around cool Mr. Grandad. DaDa raises his young elementary school age grandbabies while simultaneously bringing home the bacon—from home. Working from home provides families with solutions, and in this case, a good story of how all the pieces, interestingly, fell into place for what was to become a life-changing situation, centering around family and a commitment to children.
David had been working from home with our company for two peaceful years before his life changed rather dramatically. David and his wife Nita suddenly became guardians of their young grandchildren who were toddlers, ages two and three years old at the time. On an emergency basis, they flew across the pond from the UK with their beautiful little Levi and Charlie to bring them back to their new home in Texas. Today the grandbabies are in elementary school, ages seven and eight.
David – How did you come to work from home?
“About eight years ago, I was tired of the rat race, tired of driving miles and miles to work every day sitting in traffic, tired of putting on the suit every day. I wanted to find something different. I wanted to work from home. I came across an ad, applied for the job, and low and behold was hired and have been working from home ever since. I do not miss that drive.”
How long did you work from home before the kids?
“A little over two years into working from home, the situation came up with the grandkids. My wife and I talked it over to figure out – how are we going to do this? My wife had been working outside of the home and still does, and it was something we both saw as important for her to continue. And I was the one already working from home so it was very easy to decide, we did not want the kids going into a daycare situation with strangers. They needed to feel the love of a family and feel part of a family. That way they were able to get the love and attention they required and it gave them the opportunity to mature and become just regular kids.”
What were some of the other aspects of keeping things in balance?
“Working from home allows that income to continue. If one of us would have had to stop working, stop bringing in income, we would not have been able to make it as well as we have. Working from home has allowed me to take care of the kids when one of them comes down sick without missing work. I can take care of my grandchild if one of them is sick or if there is a holiday for them, but not for work. We don’t have to try to figure out what we’re going to do with the kids because of this or that as I’m already home. They’re not being taken from one babysitter or daycare to another because I’m here and available for whatever situation comes up.”
How do you manage to be on meetings and get your work done with young kids at home?
“When I go to bed, I am thinking about and planning out the next day. Everything is scheduled with meals and activities, such as reading time or TV time. Because I’m home and not at an office with a lot of employees around me, I have the freedom to get up and check on them. I can get up and change the activity. I can make sure they are not doing something they are not supposed to do. If I was working away from home, none of that could happen. They know they have somebody watching them and they know I’m here.”
What are some coping mechanisms you use to keep things quiet and in order?
“Right now, as we talk, they are both here. I don’t have my door closed, but have you heard a peep? (Not a peep) Sometimes I use bribery, of course, and change it up all the time. It will get boring for them real quick if I don’t change it up. And also, I’ve taught them to respect what I do from home and they understand that. They know if they get out of hand, it affects me and my job. They are little but they do understand that and are respectful in that way. They both love telling stories, so when I have them read books and I ask them to tell me what the book is about, they get all excited. They love getting to be on the stage after they get done. I find a lot of activities to keep them quiet.”
What about meals? How do you handle that?
“All of that requires planning as well. I do all the shopping and all the cooking in the home since my wife works outside of the home. My wife has a good hour and a half drive to work each way. I plan out the whole week when I go to the store on the weekend. There’s always a pizza night involved one night a week. The rest of the week, I’m preparing dinner. We stick to the plan and very little gets in the way of not keeping that plan in place.”
What do those grandbabies call you?
“They call me DaDa (Day-Day). When Levi was little, he knew they called me David, but he couldn’t get that out so both of them call me DaDa. It’s such a great feeling when one of their friends points to me and asks – who is that, and they say that’s my grandpa. That’s just such a great feeling.”
What would you like to tell readers who are in similar circumstances?
“If both of us worked outside of the home, who would be there to put them on the bus? And who would be there to get them off the bus? Where would they go after school if we didn’t have a way to be with them? Where would they go before school? One of us would have to be here. From a safety standpoint, it’s better. You know it can be pretty scary taking kids out to a bus these days. So much can go wrong.
First thing when they get off the bus is a snack, you know, that’s a given. Then it’s homework. By the time my wife gets home the homework is done and dinner is already on the table, and bedtime is right around the corner. With me working from home and being able to bring in the income I bring in, it is why we are as a family, financially capable to do a lot of things that otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to do.
I appreciate every day that I found this opportunity to work from home. The people that I work with are awesome, and if I didn’t’ have that, where would my little grandbabies be now? I think that by doing it this way, it has basically saved their little lives. They’ve been through enough, and now they have the love and nurturing they need. I feel like in a way, it’s going back to they way it was in the 50s and the 60s when kids had the mom at home. We didn’t have as much crime back then. They can sure get into some trouble without someone there.”
Kudos to DaDa –
Love, ingenuity, creativity, and a plan are elements David has employed in his mission to parent his grandkids. Congratulations and “well done,” David. You have a lot of energy for a DaDa. Those grandbabies are in good hands and I’m glad we can be a part of it. It would be wonderful if all kids could have what your kids have. You set a good example for the kids, and for all of us.