Season 2, Ep. 27 – The parent trap: How Gun.io families get along during the week
From 7-month-olds to teenagers, our team is growing the next generation of dreamers and doers, one WFH day at a time. In this episode, you’ll hear how they manage their time, find hidden spots of solitude, and embrace the walk to school. Shout to Bluey, y’all, because only her energy can match these kids’!
Welcome to the Frontier.
Regis’ daughter (00:07):
What great timing.
Perfect timing. Who’s this, Regis?
Guess who? My daughter <laugh>.
How old is she?
9 years old.
How many do you have?
I have two kids.
So nine and—
It’s cool ‘cause I feel like everybody that’s on this episode has like—we’re representative of almost every age group, which is cool. Guys, we’re gonna talk today about being a parent and also working from home or working remotely. There’s just—there’s a lot of folks that are kind of in the same boat as y’all. And I think it’s cool that we’re such a kind of small company, but we’ve got so many parents represented on the team, so I think this will be a fun conversation. We also have Haley joining us, who—not only is this her first Frontier appearance, but this is her second day on the job at Gun.io. so <laugh>. Yeah. Shout out to Haley. Really just becoming one with the team here. I think what makes sense to start—just to give everyone context around like who we’re talking to, is we can go around and just introduce ourselves and share how many kids you have and what ages. I’ll go first, ‘cause mine’s easy. Obviously, I’m Faith. I’m the host. I have zero children, <laugh>, so…
I’m Tyler. I’ve got three kiddos. So I’ve got a four year old, James who’s my oldest, and then a two-year-old, Josie. And then our youngest is seven months. So we’re are we’re in the thick of it, but it’s a lot of fun. A lot of crazy, but a lot of fun.
Yeah. It seems just like super relaxing.
<Laugh>. Yeah, that’s another word for it.
Yeah. Well, I’m Regis. I have two kids. My older kid is a boy, 11 years old—and my younger is nine years old.
And we met her just now.
I’m Haley. Like—I joined the team yesterday, <laugh> and I have an almost four year old.
Yeah, I’m Grey. It’s my name and my hair color ‘cause I have two teenagers, <laugh>. My boy is 17 and I have a little girl who’s 15, but I still think of her as my little girl, which is weird that she’s 15. Like now it’s—
I also can’t believe you have a 17 year old. That’s unbelievable to me.
Teenagers are a whole thing.
You’re last for me.
Hey, I’m Ben. I have two little girls, and they’re eight and five.
So we’re seven months all the way to 17 years old. So I feel like we cover the spectrum here, so this’ll be fun. So obviously, you know, there’s six folks on this podcast, so there’s gonna be a lot of voices, lots going on. But to start, I’m really curious, you know, obviously we’ve just—the nature of the work we do and where we do it has changed for a lot of folks over the last two years. And so I’m curious for folks with parents, what does a typical day look like working from home and also wrangling children? Like where are you, where are the kids? How does that all unfold?
For me, it differs through the week, because our kids go to daycare Monday, Wednesday, Friday, so Monday, Wednesday, Fridays are my days where I can be at home and actually get a lot done. It’d be more focused. But Tuesdays, Thursdays—like today, you know, what I’ll try and do, honestly—and sometimes this is, you know, Monday, Wednesday, Fridays too—I’ll get out of the house for half a day if I don’t have meetings and try and get to like a coffee shop or somewhere where I can still be heads-down focused. And I don’t have like a dedicated office space either right now. So part of that plays into it too, where, you know, I need to—if I need to get away for a little bit or just be heads down focused work. And generally the kids are pretty good about not, you know, being too disruptive and you know, I can see them over lunch. But yeah, I’d say, you know, for me, Monday, Wednesday, Fridays, they’re not around. So I can be a little bit more focused, have more meetings Tuesday, Thursday, have to plan a little bit around nap times or if I’m here or, or what have you. So it’s—I dunno, it kinda keeps me on my toes, but it’s fallen into a nice rhythm I think, generally speaking.
Yeah, I imagine the dedicated space is a thing. Like I struggle with that, even without children. Just with like the other <laugh> like my partner in my house and also my dog, you know, it’s like I’m here, I’m physically here at a table or in my office or at a desk, but it’s hard to be like—you know, physically I’m here, but I’m actually at work. Like I’m Work Faith right now. So I’m curious if other folks are gonna see that throughout their days.
That’s the—I can weigh in here, because that’s the one benefit of having teenagers—is that they’re gone. And that they can fend for themselves. They wake up by themselves, and they do whatever they do, you know, eating breakfast by themselves, and they drive to school. And then—so unlike having, you know, sort of more dependent children, it’s actually kind of nice once your kids get older, you know, that they can become a little bit more, you know, independent.
Like you have more of a schedule, ‘cause your kids have more of a—like your kids have things to do during the regular workday.
Yeah. And they start to deal with it themselves. Like that’s one of the benefits too, you know. We try and take the position of if you’ve got something you’ve got to do—it’s set your own reminders, like set your own alarms, you know, if you need to be at school early, like do that. I’m not gonna remind you, ‘cause I’ve got other things I need to think about, you know, so like—because of, to your point, you know, there’s— I’m trying to get to work. And you know, in a traditional office environment, I’d be on the road, and I wouldn’t be waking you up. So because I’m here, that doesn’t mean it’s my responsibility. And fortunately our kids are old enough to sort of do that, you know, and so that’s kinda a cool part of them getting older.
I imagine it’s a little bit different, Haley, with a four-year-old, right? Like <laugh>
Yeah, completely. And you know, thankfully he is in a school now for the majority of my workday, so I get to have that separation and have my head down when he’s at school. But you know, right as we started this, I got a text from the school app that said, there’s a stomach bug going around his class and you’ll be on call to pick him up this afternoon. So that just—I feel like that happens once a week right now. And yeah, then he’ll be home, and I’ll be finishing my work day trying to, you know, turn on Bluey and fix Legos. So yeah.
Blueyyyy. Shout out to Bluey. Yeah, Grey. I imagine you’re not dealing with nap time enforcement anymore.
Yeah, that was something that we lost over the pandemic when he was home—is he just stopped napping entirely and it <laugh> was a little early for my preference. But yeah, no naps anymore.
Yeah, for me—I did live with my kids fully, because my wife—we decided that she would just take care of kids instead of sending to daycares and this kind of stuff. So I really took my time to try enjoying, see their growing and—but when they were younger, like four, like Haley or like Tyler, when they were months old, it was really tough. But I would enjoy to tell them I started. So they would sleep in the afternoon, take that nap on the afternoon, and the afternoon was so peaceful. It was just amazing when they would sleep. But I guess the person that suffered the most from that experience it’s definitely my wife. Not only because of her sacrifice to take care of the kids, but because she would need to be stuck in the house with me. <Laugh>, she took that. Yeah.
Regis, your kids are—you’ve got a similar age as Ben’s, and I know at least in the US, like school days for that age group tend to start a little bit earlier and end a little bit earlier. And so Ben, I’m curious about like how you organize your day so that—like I would imagine like heads down time is easier to come by when the girls are at school early, and then in the afternoons, I know you’re still around, but like what works for you in the afternoons? Like how do you manage that?
Man, I wish I managed it better, Faith. What we do…
<Laugh>, Part of the challenge that we have is that my wife works as well. She has a full-time job, and she has stuff too. So she has meetings—at one point, kinda during the pandemic, you know, once a week. We didn’t know which day. She would have like a sometimes a 5:30 AM meeting, ‘cause she was on a global team, and so like we never really got in a great rhythm and we’ve kind of carried that over. She’s since gotten a new job. But the way it generally works is, I take them to school most mornings, which is awesome, because we walk. There’s two blocks. And this morning we took our neighbors’ kids. So I had four girls and me walking to school. And then yeah, my mornings are pretty sacred, ‘cause I’m focused, I’m refreshed, they’re out of the house. And then one nice thing about the Metro Nashville Public Schools is that they do have these sort of like clubs after school they can do. So today, my girls are in Lego Club until 4:30.
That’s awesome. Can I sign up for Lego Club?
Yeah. Where was that when I was school? Oh man.
It’s super cool. So they have—they do Lego, they do STEAM where they like do like a science experiment. I think STEAM is on Wednesdays. But the deal I have with my wife is, my wife always is in her office Monday. So I take ’em Monday, and I pick them up Monday, and then if I’m around or not in the Gun office occasionally, like I’m picking one of them up tomorrow. And yeah, afternoons is like stuff that doesn’t require as much thought. Like it can be interrupted—‘cause it will be. I’m like, wish my kids could learn from Tyler’s kids, ‘cause like the second they at home they’re up here and they’re like, what are we doing?
Yeah. It’s go time.
It’s go time. They like to pretend they’re looking at my desk. They love the up and down—or the standing desk. (Faith: Oh my God.) I have to be careful like anything thoughtful I have to do then. Because usually my wife also is like, if we’re both on calls at like 4, 4:30, it’s like kind of dicey around here.
Yeah. <laugh>, I imagine. You know, we’ve all been remote at least for two years, and so our home space has been the same as our work space. And I’m curious about what the best parts of that have been for you as parents.
I’ll go first. I mean, for me it’s been great to be a little bit more involved in the morning routines than I was previously. And my kids are at the ages where, I mean—our youngest and our middle like have been— were born like during Covid, so they’ve kind of grown up with rhythms of me being at home and being remote, where my oldest was on the cusp a little bit before. But just to be more involved in the morning routines. And then even so, like if I’m around during lunch, you know, take a lunch, kids haven’t napped yet if they’re here. Like just to get to see them and say hi for a little bit is is nice. Whereas, you know, if we’re in office, you know, you miss some of those moments. So that part of it’s been been really cool, on the positive side for sure.
One of the really cool things that happened to us, right when Covid hit—so my girls were what, five and three I think when Covid hit, something like that. And my sister-in-law, who didn’t really know my youngest, was on I think the last, literally the last flight out of Vietnam before Vietnam lockdown. And so she lands in the US and she has nowhere, like she’s not gonna get a place, she’s not gonna get a job. We have a garage apartment, and she basically moved into it. So for the first four months of Covid, she lived with us. And so it was really, really cool, because they got to catch up with her and now she’s like—she’s like the best thing that ever happened, right? Like they love Aunt Morgan.
But like all day, like she would like play with ’em and like take ’em to the parks and take ’em on hikes. And so we really, really lucked out. And so just having like the family always around all the time, like big family meals for every meal, <laugh>, I mean I got a lot of work done, ‘cause she was very helpful. But like we also had a ton of family time. And it was—that was like—like think about that stage in their lives. Like it’s a great time to have. It wasn’t like I was trying to talk teenagers into hanging out with me.
Grey’s like, don’t recommend <laugh>
When Covid strike here, the impact in my life was almost zero from my home organization. ‘Cause I was used to work from home already. I had this dedicated office always. And so it was really easy for myself and I actually like it. I have in my office— I put some tables for my kids to get the lessons online so they would sit by me. It was cool. Although I would get really pissed with the little noise <laugh>, something that would break me down, when they would drop the pen, the pencil. Oh, that was so annoying. That noise.
Oh yeah. Now you understand, you understand the struggle of their teachers.
<Laugh>. Yes, yes, yes, yes. But it was good. They learned to to be by themselves and messing around with the learning platforms. And nowadays, they have—I put a table on on their room, ‘cause it was too much for me to take that for too long. But they are very independent now with homework and this kind of stuff.
Yeah. I imagine the shared office space with your kids would be tough, but that’s still really cool. Like, I haven’t heard of parents kind of like having an office for both them and their kids. And I imagine that it’s a great way for kids to also learn practices around, Oh, here this is what dad looks like when he is focused. Maybe I should also like, you know, adjust my body language like so.But it’s also probably worth stating Regis is a developer and so the work that you have to do every day, at least compared to my work, is way more flow state. Like, you have to be in a state of kind of hyper-focus to do what you do. So that just makes it, I think, even more impressive that you invited your kids into your workspace.
That’s been one of my favorite things too, although we’re still working on the independence piece of that. When my son is home and he sees me working, like I’m getting to model for him the idea that like, I’m working, my work is important. And then we have conversations about like, why I work and it’s launched into like saving money and budgeting or like finding things that we’re passionate about and practicing hard things until they’re easier. So even though it’s like, you know, a four year old doesn’t really get the concept of what my job is day to day, like he gets to see someone working, which is not an experience that a lot of little kids get. So I think that’s really cool.
That’s so true. (Regis: Yeah.) I hadn’t thought about that. Like how little I was able to see my parents work growing up, and how little I really understood about what they did.
Same. An interesting thing about this time is we’ll have—like in the moment, there’s like a lot of tension I think of you know, just like having kids around and like trying to work, and managing the like, you know, grabs on your attention and like the struggle of where do I spend my time? But then I think, you know, I suspect—I don’t know that we’re quite far enough out—but I suspect that for people that had kids around trying to balance work with, you know, home life is that, you know, a few years down the road we’ll look back and like, that’ll be kind of the sweeter memories of, you’ll forget some of like the frustration and the bad parts and just like, you know what, that was like really cool actually, if that changes for you, you know, that was a cool moment in time where like work and life were like more integrated than they usually were. So I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s like true. Like if we come back to this in a few years or, you know, five, 10 years down the road. But I wonder if like that’ll be the case is you’ll forget the harder parts and just remember the sweeter parts about it. So it’s just—it’s an interesting time, and everybody has like different experiences with it too.
My wife and I are really cognizant of like, modeling like good work for the girls, and I think it’s awesome. Like, I look back on when I was a kid, and I didn’t understand what my dad did ‘til I was in my twenties, you know? And he like put on a suit every day and he was gone at, you know—we’d eat breakfast together, but he was usually out the door at seven, if not earlier. And now like, my girls will come up here in the afternoon, and like they know what a spreadsheet is, and they talk to me about it and like, that’s awesome. It’s like fun to get their take on what I’m doing. Like what do you think I’m doing? Like, and they’ll read occasional stuff, you know—and like it’s helped drive home like these lessons— so our second grader is obviously like doing math and reading, and it’s like, Oh, like I need to know this stuff to work. Like I’m looking at what my dad’s doing. He’s doing math, and he’s reading stuff, he’s writing stuff. (Faith: Oh, interesting.) And they’re able to connect the dots much more cleanly. (Tyler: That’s cool.)
Yeah, they emulate it. Like, my youngest will come in here, she’ll lower the desk, she’ll put on my glasses, she’ll wiggle my mouse <laugh>, and she’ll write in my notepad, like, I’m working, I’m working, I’m working. But like, I know it’s just so much more accessible and like, again, we try to make it seem— my wife and I both enjoy working. And so like, it’s like not something to be like avoided something to be— like to Haley’s point earlier, like if you have fun, you enjoy what you do, you’re good.
I wonder if that’s gonna be a thing too, that that generation is gonna think of work as more integrated into one’s life, as opposed to it feeling separate from the your real life, you know? And ‘cause I think they were all doing things—letting you guys talk about, you know, modeling behaviors—Yes, that is in the context of work, but that’s also in the context of your home. So it seems like a more core attribute, versus something that basically competes or like the way that we think about our parents. Like we’re kind of competed with the home. And now that it’s more fully integrated, I think it may feel—I don’t know. I wonder what the—how that’s gonna affect the way that our children think about what they do for a living.
The flip side of that, for me at least, is that Wes associates my laptop with working. And so if I open it up and I’m just, you know, checking my personal email on the couch outside of working hours, he’ll come up to me. He’ll say, Stop working <laugh>. I’m like, well I’m not really working. But you know, I think I’ve gotten a lot better at this as the pandemic has carried on, but I had a really unhealthy, you know, relationship with my working hours and the boundaries I had at the beginning of the pandemic and I was working, you know, beginning of the day to end of the day. So I think that’ll be interesting too, is like, it is, you know, your work and your life and your home can be so integrated, but how do we teach our kids how to draw the line and have those healthy boundaries too?
What worries me about that is that sometimes my son comes look my screen and see the code and he’s like, can you explain what this, and I’ll say, Okay, get your computer, sit by my side. I’ll teach you something. I’ll give him some challenge to complete. So he starts learning and he likes it. And that concerns me, ‘cause it’s a life of pain and solitude.
Regis, our top advocate for our platform.
<Laugh> Probably, yeah.
He’s our developer and also our key recruiter. Thanks, Regis. It’s a life of pain in suffering and solitude.
I think we’ve got our new tagline, Faith.
Grey, I’m curious, ‘cause you know, obviously of everyone in the group, your kids are closest to being of the age where they’re thinking about a career. Well, you know— maybe not. When I was 15, I was really just focused on like college and I had no idea really what happened after college. But I’m curious if your kids watching you and your wife work during the day, if they have shared any sense of like, Oh, I definitely don’t wanna do what Dad does, or, that seems interesting, you know, like, do you think it’s affecting how they’re thinking about their own careers?
Honestly, no, I don’t. I think it’s much more subtle than that. You know, one of the things that I think is interesting is that my dad was a salesman and so he was sort of out and about a lot, but he was also at a home office. And so days that he wasn’t traveling, he was at a home office. And so it felt very normal for me to walk to the back of the house and see my dad in his office. As a child, it wasn’t Maybe I wanna be a salesperson, it was Maybe having a home office isn’t so bad. So when remote work sort of presented itself, it felt natural to me it this much more of a felt thing than a something like very direct. Like, I wanna be in technology or I wanna be in the arts. And my wife is in the arts.
But I do think that modeling that you guys are talking about, like, you know, How how do we set boundaries? How do our children see us in sort of deep work versus, you know, taking a break when they ask, because 15 minutes isn’t gonna kill anyone. Right? Like, and getting that gratification, you know, how do you make those choices? I think those are the types of things that they’ll probably carry through. Even to your point, like, it seems natural for them to be thinking about careers in college. I don’t think they’re even there yet. I mean, ‘cause they’re still children, you know?
Just for a few more years, Grey. Enjoy it.
Well, yeah, I meanthat’s the thing. It’s that sneaks up on you big time.
So for folks who are listening who might be kind of struggling to maybe like set those boundaries or get into a good flow with working from home and being a parent, do you guys have any best practices? Hard one advice that you could share with folks?
You need to be patient above everything and to be patient—It’s good if you read about the subject and to put yourself in your kids shoes and have that empathy and think of what your kid feels and sees and expects from you and think from that perspective. Perspective helps you a lot on being patient with them. If you’re patient of your kids, you’ll be just fine.
Regis, where were you three years ago? I could’ve used that.
You know, what I’ve like found that that’s a good rhythm for me—and Regis mentioned this earlier—but a lot of that credit sort of or enabling layer is you know, my wife. So she’s home when the kids are home Tuesdays, Thursdays. And so, you know, she is awesome in that she is able to kind of play defense in some ways if I’m home or if I’ve got meetings and, you know, I can’t come down help her with this or that. Like she can help play defense for the kids not to necessarily be always, you know, wanting my attention necessarily, if I need to be heads down. So just sort of like having that understanding there and trying to make sacrifices for each other. That’s been a big thing for me in establishing some rhythms is that, you know, hey, I know I can rely on her if I need some heads down time.
There’s an ability there. And you know, vice versa, right? If like something comes up and I need to come down and help ‘cause one kid’s having a tantrum, the other has other needs, like I can do that, too. So but like, you know, we kind of established that rhythm early on. So that’s, been a big help throughout, is having somebody to lean on. And I know not everybody, you know, has that ability. So I try not to take that for granted either, but that’s been a big part of it.
I won’t say it’s something that I have perfected, but more what I’m aiming towards is just being fully on in whatever mode I’m in, and not trying to be partially doing work and partially doing parenting as much as possible. So like if I can commit 15 minutes and take that break, like Grey said, and like fill up my kid’s tank when he’s home and I’m having to work too, I find that giving him that time and that dedicated space will then enable him to go off and spend 30 minutes playing by himself, and I’ll get the work done that I need to. But if I’m trying to do both, I’m not doing either thing very well.
That’s a big one.
I feel like that’s relevant for parents and non-parents alike. <Laugh>. You know, like even with no kids, I find that I’m like trying to maintain my house, and I’ve got a huge construction project going on, and like kind of GC-ing that, and like, just juggling everything. And I do find that when I can say like, no, I’m actually stepping away for 15 minutes and I’m not gonna check my phone when I get a Slack for 15 minutes. You know, it makes a huge difference, and I think it improves the quality of like all the things that I’m trying to do.
I had a question or an interesting thing. I wanted to see how you guys had handled this. So one of the things that I didn’t realize that I either appreciated or relied on as much as I did was the like decompression of a commute home after work, early on especially, and even still some today. Like it can be jarring for me to be like, Alright, I wrapped up this last equation in a spreadsheet, and I’m going downstairs for dinner and it’s like a ten second transition. Right? And so that’s been like trickier like to how to handle that, and not, you know, either be frustrated or not feel like I need to immediately like separate to do that. I was just curious if like you guys had had felt that too, or how you’d handled that in different ways. It was an interesting thing when I realized that that was a thing. You know, I hadn’t anticipated that.
Yeah. For me it’s be the one who makes the dinner.
<Laugh>. Oh, is that your role? And that’s like a decompression time for you? Interesting.
A hundred percent. ‘Cause I can totally shift context into something totally different and kind of creative and like, and make it whatever I want and like—I mean it’s a buffer.
In our house, it tends to be physical activity. So, a lot of you guys know I ride my bike to the office when I go, so that bike ride home is it. But if I’m home, my oldest daughter is a sports fanatic. She loves playing sports. So we’ll play a game of horse on the basketball goal, we’ll play a game to 10. It’s like 10, 15 minutes of like, not even heavy physical activity. Just like something light. And I am a way better person afterwards versus like, Hey, dinner’s ready, come downstairs. And it makes her happy too.
It’s interesting, ‘cause both of those activities are like—they’re things that are good for you. Like it’s a creative outlet or like it’s a physical outlet, but your kids can be involved as well. And it’s interesting that that’s still a bit of a buffer, you know, because just kind of leaving a work context and then engaging with your kids just like with nothing—no like kind of purpose driven piece about it, I imagine is like, that context switch would be hard, especially if you’re leaving something kind of undone at the end of the day. Like if you’re working on a big problem that’s like a multiple day thing and you’re really wrapped up in it. Like how do you unwind from that and talk to a four-year-old?
I’ll add that to what I say, that people might argue that you also need to worry about getting your job done and not just giving too much attention to the kid. But what I see, it’s parents that are absent and don’t take time to their kids ‘cause they’re just too busy. But I never saw a parent that doesn’t get to work because he’s busy playing with their kids. So don’t worry about that side of the equation, because when you have kids, having a job, have a work, it’s a place to hide from the kids. <Laugh>, you’ll get your job done, ’cause it’s way easier than handing kids. Yeah. <Laugh>.
It’s probably safe to say that if you’re stressed about being like present or productive enough at work, you’re probably a high-achieving person, and it’s safe to just kind of let that ride, you know, <laugh>. Well guys, this has been really—I feel like I just had a crash course in parenting while working from home. So whenever I need this advice, I will circle back and listen to this episode. I’ll keep it bookmarked. But I really appreciate everybody’s time. Thank you so much for joining and sharing your experience.
Yes, this was great. Thanks.
Yeah. Awesome. Alright, until next time, hopefully we’ll see you all soon.
Whether you’re looking for some temporary help or your next full time developer, let Gun.io help you find the right person for the job.