Sunday, March 3, 2013

Celebrate Fatherhood: Give the Old Man's Back a Pat | Guestpost by Daddy Eddie in Bangkok

Sakura Haruka is not a blog just about celebrating motherhood. It shares the joys {& frustrations!} of parenting and of families as a whole. Inspired by my hubby's thoughts on being a dad, Celebrate Fatherhood is thus a monthly series where daddies from all walks of life share insights about what fatherhood means to them, and how we can appreciate their role in a family too.

I sincerely thank all those who took the time to guest post for me. Most of those I approached were very supportive and enthusiastic about this new series, sharing my belief that being an involved dad, and getting the dads involved, is important in building a strong family. If you have a story to share, please email me at sakuraharuka {at} live {dot} com.

Before I begin, I would firstly like to thank Ai for inviting an absolute stranger like me to share a post on Fatherhood on her blog. For the last few months, I have blogged more than once with regards to how Daddies can be better appreciated (or depreciated with the new Better Fathering Index) and this seems like a good opportunity to share more of my thoughts on this issue.

Don’t get me wrong, the birth of Noah has changed my life entirely for the better. I am a satisfied father of a cheerful chubby baby rapidly growing into a strong little boy, and will not change the world for it. However, living in Bangkok (I am a Malaysian who grew up in Singapore) with no family support has presented my wife and I with previously-unimaginable challenges each day. For my wife, getting used to giving 24hr-care to Noah (while keeping the house neat and tidy), and for myself, juggling between running a company in a foreign land and being a full-time house-husband-cum-Daddy.

Since Noah’s birth, assisting my wife as much as possible has become the priority of my life. Before I can celebrate concluding a substantial deal with my client, I often find myself ploughing through racks in the supermarket for the best vegetables available before speeding home to take over Noah to give my wife some breathing space, then cook dinner, wash up, sleep, only to wake up a few hours later to make breakfast and lunch before rushing out to work, and the cycle continues…

Expecting appreciation is not something I can expect or ask for, since I know in my heart that between my wife and I, she drew the short straw, so I would gladly leave any due credit for her. That said, any stereotypical comments or additional external pressure often directed solely on Daddies are certainly not welcome. I have had my fair share of discouragements and knock-backs from people looking in from the outside who assume they know what is going on in my house and though I usually take them with a forced smile on my face, it’s really not helping my cause at all.

So everyone, I encourage you to take a chance to give the old man in the house a little pat on his back, because although you might not see him much, he is fighting bad guys outside, making effort to become the superhero in your life.

And your little pat is the best appreciation they can ever get.

Eddie and his wife relocated to Bangkok in 2009. He started off his blog to "report" to his whereabouts to friends and relatives, and to share on the interesting things in Thailand from the perspective of a foreigner living there. Since the birth of his son in 2011, it has grown to include more parenting posts on why he feels his world is now better as a father!

It really is very easy to judge when we are outsiders looking in. Why is the father at the bar while the mother slaves at home? Why is the kid playing with the iPhone while the mother is reading a book? Nobody knows what is going on with the family situation, except the family itself. Maybe the dad is working hard with his clients, and maybe the mother just needs some rest and me-time. Before we jump to conclusions on what we see, let's just remember that each family dynamics is different, and even we don't like to be judged on.

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Theresa Mahoney said...

While mommies are usually seen as the primary caretakers, I think daddies do a lot more than we realize! It's tough too when you don't have any family support close by to lend a helping hand! A big round of applause goes to your and your wife for holding it all down on your own. It's tough!

~Summer~ said...

Hello Eddie, I totally get what you mean about raising a kid in a foreign land. Not easy, but in another light, the dad and the mum get to bond with the kid solely and that makes you a more closely knitted family. Definitely worth all the sweat and tears! Gambatte ne!

Eddie Yii said...

Hello Theresa and Summer

Thank you for your encouragements. I especially agree with what Summer said about the bonding and close-knit part.

With regards to helping out with the family, it is really my responsibility to help as much as possible, so though I might sound like complaining, I am really not, just not enjoying some stereotypical jibes at Daddies that float around once in a while.

Anyway, i am as happy a Daddy as you can find! Cheers!