How many Dads out there feel like you are a different person when you compared pre and post fatherhood? How many of you would imagine Fatherhood to be the way it is today when you were younger?
I for one, will have my two hands up.
Fatherhood had been perceived by society as an 'easy job'. After all in a household, Mommy does all the house chores while Daddy gets to relax with his newspaper, drinking his Kopi and enjoying his well deserved Bee Hoon breakfast. At least that was my pre-fatherhood vision.
Alas, the reality is further from the truth. Fatherhood is underrated in the real world. Being a Dad today means more than just bringing home the bacon. There are times that you might need to cook it too! (If you need a good bacon dish, the cheesy bacon egg muffin might be a good start)
Having been a Father for the past 8 years, there are many ups and some downs during this journey. Let me share with you my evolution as a Father.
The 'Kan Cheong' Father
In the beginning, when Fatherhood is new, everything seems to be on the edge. From the little cries that woke you in the middle to the night, to rushing off to hospital when the baby has a fever of 39°C, every little change in the baby raises the 'Spidey Sense' to code red.
Baby vomit milk, panic. Baby did not poo for 2 days, panic. Baby is crying excessively, panic.
As a new father, you would probably find your panic button as often as I had found mine.
The 'Kia Si' Father
The next stage that goes hand in hand with Kan Cheong is being Kia Si. You read every ingredients in a baby formula or baby diet to make sure it is safe for the baby. You carry an arsenal of diapers, milk bottles and play toys ala FBO (full battle order) for the day out in the mall. You are all prepared when it comes to emergency situation, having a pre-plan list of what to do when it happens. Insurance of all sorts covering healthcare and education were purchased.
Dads can be paranoid and I can attest to that. Better to be safe than sorry
The 'Kia Su' Father
Part and parcel of evolving as a father, is getting to know Singapore traits a little better. Kan Cheong, Kia Si, Kia Su are magnified 10 times over as a father. The Kia Su in me would want the children to be enrol in the best enrichment class, the best preschool, the best of everything. Move over 'Tiger Mom', wait till you see 'Lion Dad'.
The 'Indulgent' Father
To be honest, Dads are probably not very good at the emotive bunch. We show our love by actions rather than by words. From buying Sunday breakfast for the family to amassing an impressive collection of LEGO, these are the ways love was shown. It may be frown by others, but as a Father, this option will never go away.
The 'Fun' Father
When you have 2 boys, having fun means a whole new level that moms may not understand. From playing Xbox for hours to having battles with Nerf Guns, these are moments we bond. Officially, I have only 2 boys are my children. Unofficially, Mommy has 3 kids in the house.
The 'Disciplinary Master' Father
Being a father is not all about fun and play. There are times when the disciplinary master surface. For some reason, a father's booming voice is hear more often in the household when things get a little rough. Since most Singaporean Dads had experience National Service, it is no surprise that the Disciplinary Master is instilled in their Fatherhood experience.
Not a Father, but a Dad
Throughout these all, it was only recently after a drama filled family dispute made me realized that I had done my job as a Dad. It started off with the 'Disciplinary Master' father trying to reinforce order among the brothers that escalated to an all-out batter-field. The Disciplinary Master turned out to be an raging Sergeant Major. It is not something I am proud of as the children were standing in the line of fire..
Yet through this turbulent period, the children were the ones who tried to calm me down, they apologised, they soothed me with their touch and made promises to be good. Most importantly, they learned their lesson and reaffirmed their love for me in spite of the moment of madness. That act itself gave me assurance that I had done my role as a Father and perhaps more.
Through the years, I think I had grown from being a Father to a Dad. In the process, fatherhood had shown me how important my children are to me. Regardless of what is going to happen in the future, their interest would always be my priority. Their safety , my resolve. There is nothing I would change even if I could turn back time. There are many faces of fatherhood, but there is only one heart of a Dad.
I am not alone in this. See what other dads feel about their experiences of Fatherhood.
So as a father who is reading this (or a mother reading this), can you find your own (or your spouse) Face of Fatherhood?