South Jeffco family in pandemic: 'Making it by the skin of our teeth’

Family stays afloat during economic downturn

Ellis Arnold
earnold@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 5/19/20

On one hand, Matt Leising spent the past several weeks under pressure, hoping his wife’s two jobs and his paid leave could keep his family afloat as he stayed home to take care of their kids during …

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South Jeffco family in pandemic: 'Making it by the skin of our teeth’

Family stays afloat during economic downturn

Posted

On one hand, Matt Leising spent the past several weeks under pressure, hoping his wife’s two jobs and his paid leave could keep his family afloat as he stayed home to take care of their kids during a pandemic.

On the other hand, getting stuck at home allowed Leising to see his 1-year-old son start walking.

“I’ve been kind of embracing it, enjoying it,” Leising, 35, said about staying home. “There’s a lot of pluses, being able to spend more time with (my kids) and bond.”

The south Jefferson County resident sells hearing aids, and his workplace drastically reduced operations amid the economic disruptions of COVID-19. He began working at home, and with his kids’ daycare closed, he was put on paid leave that only covered two-thirds his usual pay.

His wife, Ashley, works for a consulting company that helps prepare construction projects. She also is a manager at McKinners Pizza Bar in downtown Littleton, where she picked up more hours to help make ends meet.

Many restaurant patrons have shown empathy for the struggling industry, said Leising, who lives in the Ken Caryl area of unincorporated Jefferson County, west of Littleton.

“They’re tipping well, (giving) nice comments,” Leising said. “It’s nice to see the humanity in people.” People’s true colors show in times like these, he added. “Either you’re helpful or you’re not.”

So far, the family has pulled through, and Leising started work again May 11 as his children’s daycare re-opened. The family “had some close calls” with bill payments, he said.

“We’re making it by the skin of our teeth,” Leising said. “I think me going back to work right now was a godsend moment, just perfect timing.”

The social restrictions the coronavirus brought about have taken a toll on kids, too, Leising noted.

“I do miss my kids being able to see their friends. Our daughter asks about her friends all the time. Kids can’t see grandpa,” Leising said. The family had an “Easter egg hunt around the condo,” he laughed.

To get through the tough time, he employs a lesson learned from an old coworker: “Treat every day like a year,” said Leising, who thinks of days in terms of chunks or quarters. “No day’s really bad.

“Break up the monotony. Do something random with your kids — get messy, get muddy,” Leising said. “Go outside, have some fun.”

To health care workers and others the state deemed critical or “essential,” Leising gave thanks.

“I just really appreciate everybody that’s still pulling out there and is an essential person and is still working, whether you want to or not,” Leising said. “I really appreciate your efforts out there.”

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