Like me, many fathers today realise that they have a key role to play in the family and do try to spend more time with their loved ones.
I love spending time with the kids. Although I don’t live in a perfect world that allows me to spend most of the day with my children, I have managed to bring some form of sanity to my work-family-life balance. I maintain this delicate ratio by observing several important points:
1. Get your priorities right
Your boss and your office will constantly give you new assignments and responsibilities. These new opportunities may mean spending more time overseas, so you have less time with the family. If the family is your top priority, something must give. So, what will you choose in the face of mounting pressure?
2. Flexible employers
I am truly happy with my employer. When the kids fall sick or have a school emergency, my bosses always offer me the flexibility of taking time off work to attend to my family. As my wife works full time, this flexibility in our working schedules is a true blessing. It also gives us the space to breathe as a family.
“When dads play an active role in parenting, their children grow up more confident and self-assured.
3. Work as a team
Communication with your spouse is key to maintaining a happy work-life balance. In most Singaporean families, both the mums and dads work. To keep the family in balance, both spouses need to discuss issues, as well as be willing to play a significant role in the parenting process. For instance, both parties must be willing to come home early to change the diapers, or to help the kids with their homework.
4. Enlist help
This means recruiting the help of day-care centres, the grandparents, a nanny, or a domestic helper. When spouses work a 40-hour week, it is practically impossible to be “everywhere” for the kids. It takes a village to raise a child, so everybody needs to pitch in.
It also means that you should effectively maximise the extra income from an additional salary in order to maintain the delicate family balance.
When dads play an active role in parenting, their children grow up more confident and self-assured. Fathers can play a significant role in their families, but they must make the right sacrifices in order to see lasting effects.
Edmund Tay, 44, a pastor who blogs at Ed Unloaded, is dad to Nadine, 8, Nathan, 9, and Nicole, 11.
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