Can a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) be as ma… paternal or intuitive as his signiﬁcant other? Three fathers tell SmartParents what it’s like to hold down the proverbial fort.
Former teacher and part-time tutor Kelvin Tan, 34, is dad to Ruth-Joy, 2, Noel, 6, and Esther, 7. An SAHD since 2014, he is married to Grace, 33, a teacher. Check out his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PatH.Papa.at.Home.
“When my mum-in-law, who had been helping to look after our kids, became very ill and subsequently died last year, my wife and I decided that I was the better candidate to stay at home, since my work hours were ﬂexible. I’m the only one who can drive, and I also know how to prepare meals in a jiffy.
“I prefer to be known as PatH or Papa-at-Home as it sounds more purposeful. I used to feel inadequate when I saw my peers with successful careers, but now, I am more mindful of my decision. I can conﬁdently say that I single-handedly look after my children and my father-in-law.
“While caring for my kids, I have witnessed different developmental milestones, like when my youngest child took her ﬁrst step. My kids also enjoy hanging out with me — we take walks in the parks or visit nature reserves. My wife has been very encouraging, too — perhaps it’s because she gets special home-cooked meals every day! It pleases me that my children want me at home, unlike some of their friends who come from broken homes or whose fathers work long hours.”
Jason Khoo, 37, a former PE teacher, is dad to Isaac, 3, and Isabelle, 6. Married to Seow Wen-qi, 32, a teacher, he has been an SAHD since 2013. He is a tutor and also runs an online business.
“When my mum, who was our children’s main caregiver, started having health issues, my wife and I decided that I would become an SAHD, as well as work on a part-time basis, to supplement the family income. As I’d always wanted to be an entrepreneur, this was also a good opportunity for me to explore running an online business.
“I am comfortable with being an SAHD — it’s important to have a father ﬁgure at home as I have friends who are unable to see their kids because they keep long hours at work.
“I prepare breakfast every day, and also ensure that the kids get dressed and are in school. I try to settle the housework during the day, while my wife is more involved with the children’s education. We list down our roles, so there is no conﬂict when it comes to different areas of parenting or housework.
“When I quit my job, the main concern was over our ﬁnances, so it’s important to get my wife’s support and understanding. When I want to bond with the kids, I’ll bring them for a swim or to the playground. And when I want to unwind, I’ll go to the gym or join my friends for a game of football. Besides focusing on my online business, I get to be with my kids during their growing-up years — it’s been a great journey so far!”
An SAHD since 2014, Kelvin Ang, 38, is dad to Megan, 6, and Matthew, 8. This part-time lecturer is married to Ann, 35, an administrator.
“My path to becoming an SAHD started two years ago when my wife wanted to pursue her master’s degree, but did not want to leave her job. So, we decided that she should do it on a part-time basis. I left the workforce last year when Matthew entered Primary 1 and my wife started her programme.
“I don’t mind the SAHD label but I think society has yet to accept SAHDs as it still views the father as the one who ‘should’ bring home the bacon. It’s a challenge for the family to adapt to the lifestyle of a single-income household, but we have done well.
“Being an SAHD, I don’t have to worry about applying for leave when my children are sick or when I want to go on a movie date with my child, or bring her for extra taekwondo lessons, I just do it!
“My wife is also able to focus at work and in class, knowing that the family is well taken-care-of. Recently, my son and I took the train to Kuala Lumpur. When I asked him what his favourite part of the trip was, his answer was that he got to spend time with me!”