I hope life has been treating you kind. Life is now at a standstill for me because our Covid positive numbers are rising, and the Malaysian government decided to lockdown the entire country again. Even without the lockdown, looking at the daily numbers blasting over social media is depressing enough.
During these weeks, I haven’t been feeling my best. Plagued with minor ailments like the common cold, diarrhoea, migraines, I’ve been feeling under the weather that rendered me in bed most time. Fortunately, my husband, grounded by the pandemic to work from home, can juggle both video conferencing and parenting at the same time when I couldn’t gather enough energy to roll myself off the bed. Besides working and parenting, he shouldered on most of the household chores as well. Bravo!
While stuck with bed rest, I came across an interesting article about how women in China and Hong Kong choose to either stay single or married without kids. This is because they don’t want to be stuck in being the primary caregiver in the family, having to sacrifice their careers and sometimes, their freedom as well. Even for the rest of the world, the role of the mother is skewed.
But I do get what the women are feeling, or rather fearing… You slaved through years of education, jumped through hoops to get that dream job, dodged through backstabbing and biases to grab that promotion, only to pause (even a complete stop) on your career progression so that you can raise a family. If you and your spouse are at work 12 hours every day, who is taking care of your child? And if you are not there for your child, what’s the point of having children at all? If you pause your career, even for a while, will you be able to get back into the game? If you have a child, will you be expected to be not only the primary caregiver but the only caregiver and juggle all the chores at the same time?
Not having children is controversial because in Asian culture, let alone the Chinese culture, having children is viewed as an important milestone in life. It is impressed upon us as a filial duty to provide lots of grandchildren, the more, the merrier, to our parents. For a woman to not have children is akin to a man not having a career to provide for his family. In the eyes of many parents, there is no redemption.
So is it still possible to balance both career and children? Sure, but many sacrifices have to be made, plenty of compromises to make it work, and even more understanding from both spouses to make this arrangement a success.
This is only possible if your child has a great father and you have an awesome supportive husband. Someone who isn’t afraid to carry a diaper bag and changed diapers in public. Someone who stepped up to iron the laundry, mop the floors and make wonderful soups without being asked. Someone who happily pretend-play as Anna when your daughter wants to be Elsa from Frozen. Someone who isn’t calculative, who does what at home and brings back more dough from work.
I am fortunate that my dad is like that and showed me a role model of what dads should be like, and with that inbred in me, my chosen someone cooks better than me, cleans way better than me and is the handyman around the house. Ever since my daughter is able to express herself better, he stepped up as a parent tremendously and even took over the caregiver role entirely on days that I am unable to do it.
So if you have someone in your life who is a caring husband, a wonderful father and an amazing grandfather, give that person a big hug, spend some quality time together and express your appreciation for him to be in your life right now.
Happy Father’s Day!