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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Motherhood Magazine Interview on Fatherhood

Motherhood Magazine (June 2013)
It's always exciting to be featured in the press, unless we're talking about the back pages of Lianhe Wanbao where the juicy scandalous news are usually found.  So when I was approached to offer some thoughts on fatherhood for an article in the June issue of Motherhood Magazine, I readily agreed!  Afterall, I had already blogged about the topic before and it would be wonderful to share my perspective with a bigger pool of parents out there.

As such interviews go, most of the answers were left out in the editing process and didn't make it to print.  Here's all the questions and my full answers!

1.  How would you describe your parenting approach/philosophy?
My parenting goal would be to raise a happy person who tries his best in life. We treat Aiden as an adult, letting him explore the world freely (hard knocks and bruises included) but with us providing the necessary guidance and support. My views on parenting are shaped by my own experience - I grew up in a family where my estranged parents left me to my own devices without providing the necessary emotional support and guidance. While I loved the freedom I had as a child, I realised later that I was extremely lucky not to have gone down the wrong path in life. I turned out well despite of my family circumstances and I would not want to leave Aiden's life to chance.

2.  Before and after fatherhood: how has being a dad changed you?
I shared in April, in a light-hearted way, how fatherhood has changed me. Please refer to On a more serious note, the 3 biggest effects fatherhood has had on me are as follows:

Sense of purposeFatherhood has given me renewed motivation to work hard so that Aiden can have the best chance of fulfilling his potential.

Different perspective of lifeGrowing up in a family with estranged parents and in a materialistic Singapore, fatherhood has given me a very timely reminder that none of the '5Cs' are as important as the well-being of the 6th 'C' in our lives, Children.

Sense of responsibilityI have observed that Aiden would soak up what I tell or show him like a sponge and it would directly influence how he behaves. I now truly know what is the meaning of being a 'father figure' and would strive to be a better man just so Aiden can be the same.

3.  What is the biggest challenge you face as a dad, and how do you overcome it?
Work-life balance is the biggest challenge I face as a dad. While I have taken active steps to try to achieve a better balance between family, career and self, I understand and accept that this is always going to be a goal but never a destination.

Prior to having Aiden, I was working very hard at getting ahead in my career and this was very clear to my bosses. Less obvious to them and myself was why I was working so hard - was it to provide a better life for my family, or was it to satisfy my own desire to be a successful professional?

After I had Aiden, it became crystal clear to me that I was working to provide a better life for my family. To ensure that I spend more time with my family, I made the effort to become even more efficient at work. I also spoke to my bosses to let them know honestly that family would be my priority in life and it would change the way I view work. Thankfully, they were very supportive, although they were understandably disappointed to see a big change in me compared to the time before Aiden.

4.  What is the most rewarding thing about being a dad?
To see the sparkle in Aiden's (little) eyes when I see him after work - that's when I know Aiden is really happy.

5.  Please share an oft-overlooked/underrated tip/advice for other dads
Many dads tend to take the backseat when it comes to bringing up children, with reasons such as "I don't know how to do it." or "My wife can do it better.". Dads should understand that their roles are complementary to moms' role in bringing up children. We might not know how to make the best milk for our children but we can teach them how to ride a bicycle. We might not know how to feed our children but we can read them bedtime stories. A dad's role should not be just putting food on the table.


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