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Being a good parent requires flexibility

Becoming a parent is a life-turning event and is not to be taken lightly on. Henning, our Apprentice Manager, writes about his experiences as a father of three girls and a little dude.

Henning Starholm Steen / December 12, 2022

Life. Think of it as a car. A car on a twisting and turning road, with roundabouts, hills, some breakdowns needing repairs, maybe sometimes slipping off the road and needing help getting back on the road again.

Sometimes sunshine, when you can roll down the windows, crank up the music, and just cruise. Sometimes foggy and rainy, so you really need to concentrate on driving. Sometimes you get a company in the car for a while, and then they get out again and you continue your road alone.

But sometimes you get extra passengers whom you will have with you in your car hopefully for the rest of your life. Tiny little humans who are miniature versions of yourself. Who will accompany you on your trip and experience it with you. And what do you do when you have little ones in the back of your car? You drive a lot more carefully. You lower your speed, you do the turns more attentively, you must stop more often for breaks, and you do your utmost to make the trip as comfortable as possible.

But the road hasn’t changed. The road can be still difficult, challenging, and at times downright dangerous. And by adding the responsibility sitting in the backseat, it will get hard.

Because let’s face it, becoming a parent is a life-turning event, and is not to be taken lightly on.
Suddenly, your entire existence is decided by a little human being that is more or less completely dependent on you for the next decades. That is, at the same time, a very scary and the best feeling in the world.

Parenthood doesn’t end when the parental leave is over

I am the father of three girls and a little dude, and I love it. It is in fact impossible to explain the feeling to someone who doesn’t have children, but the amount of unconditional love you get for these little versions of yourself is extremely intense. All parents know what I talk about.

Now, in Norway, parental leave is something you are entitled to by law which every employer must adhere to. You get time completely off from your work, bonding with the child, and can then completely focus on the passengers in your life car.

But in my experience, the critical period is the years after parental leave, when the kids are aged 2-7. The life road gets filled with bumps: day-care logistics, kids getting sick (seriously, they are sick A LOT the first years), and the everyday grind of having kids, and trying to keep the car on the life road all while trying to provide the best care you can for your younglings.

In this phase of life, it is vital to have an employer who has the flexibility, and compassion in understanding that you might not be at the top of your game at your job after 3,5 hours of interrupted sleep, diaper changes, carrying, comforting, sitting at the bedside at 3:30 in the morning looking at a sick child with the stomach flu all while the washing machine is working overtime.

Which comes first life or work?

I mean one thing is little sleep when being young and ambitious of your own choice going on either three days party-stupor or working all night because you feel like it. It is something completely different when you get denied a full night of continuous sleep for literally years. There is a reason sleep deprivation is used as a torture method. I want to take this opportunity to thank Tietoevry for being an enabler and accommodator for me being a good parent as possible for the four little diamonds in my life.

Being the age of 38, and after 17 years in the company, after spending close to half my life here this is where I grew up. And in all that time Tietoevry has been supporting me in all the twists, turns, bumps, and roundabouts in my life road. Both for the positive ones, and even the occasional motor breakdown and sliding off the road, my employer has always been there offering all the support they can. For that, I will be eternally grateful and will stay on board for at least 17 more years.

And I send some thoughts to the 25-year-old me thinking: “sheesh, how hard could it be having small children?!”

Well, young me, it’s REALLY hard.

But thanks to an employer, who truly understands that the concept of life-work-balance is not only from a day-to-day basis but actually spans over years. It is hard in all the right ways.

Would you like to join us? Check out our open positions!

Henning Starholm Steen
Apprentice Manager


Henning Starholm Steen

Apprentice Manager

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