Now a part-time father

The title will definitely raise the eyebrows of friends happening to read this.

For the second time around in a matter of several days, I did the following for our two kids for their school days:

  • Wake up before 6 am.
  • Pour water into a kettle for boiling.
  • Buy breakfast food in the neighborhood (actually, the previous day had me cook hotdog for breakfast)
  • Wake up the kids. My eldest (Martin) is easy to awaken; he would rise up from the bed immediately at the instance of my nudging his foot. His younger brother (Robb) was more like magnetized to the bed. You have to drag him from the bed and carry him like a lifeless child. The only time he will be in a conscious state is when you force a spoonful of food to his mouth. Whether the food is his favorite or not, it does not matter.
  • Serve their breakfast.
  • Give their toothbrushes and motion them to the bathroom.
  • While they are taking a bath, prepare juices for their baon (recess food).
  • Take out some pennies from my coin purse for their monetary ‘baon’.
  • Help them in wearing their school uniform.

Simple tasks for a father. But I never did these in my years as a father until lately. Before, it was our house mate who did these. My wife (Lea) would only do so in case the maid was sick or absent. Now, we got two concerns: There’s no maid and my wife has to take complete rest from work because of her medium-risk pregnancy.

There is an implicit agreement between my wife and me that I am mainly the bread-winner in the family. I bring home the bacon, and it is the wife that cooks this for the family, so to speak. Now, because of the abovementioned concerns, yours truly has to come in and do the job of ministering to the kids, at least before I go to office and as soon as I come back home.

The sacrifice felt like great at first thought. But as soon as I got used to it, there was that feeling of completeness. It feels like I’m a real dad to our sons. I knew from the start (when I was enlightened about gender issues) that I’ve not really shared in the multiple burdens that my wife has been bearing. I knew that my work overload at the office was no reason why I could not ease her domestic yoke.

Now, the guilt has gradually gone and I’m feeling the joy of being a father to our sons. But why part-time father? It’s because I feel that I’ve not yet given my best time for them. Even if she’s taking a rest, the fact is that she cannot just lie on the bed without doing even a few things for the kids.

Some of my indicators for a full-time working father are these:

  • Attends to kids’ preparation for school
  • Comes back home as early as possible to guide the kids in their home work.
  • Does home chores like cooking, washing clothes, etc.
  • Treats the family for an outing every once in a while.
  • Guides the kids spiritually and morally.

Until I am able to do the foregoing on a regular basis, I’m still considering myself a part-time father.

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