Growing up, my husband was a comics collector. He still has some precious copies of editions collected from his childhood in their original plastic packaging. While I know that he enjoys the various genres of graphic novels, I also know that superheroes are his all-time favourite. As a result, our children are familiar with the characteristics that make a superhero – courage, determination, superhuman strength, purity of heart and dependability.
In our journey as parents, I have observed that as a mum, I get most of the credit for being the ‘superhero’ parent and rightly so as many mothers do bear a greater proportion of the care-giving responsibility. However, in the last 12 years, I have seen my husband grow from a clueless, shell-shocked, first-time father to a confident, capable father of 3.
In the last 12 years, I have seen my husband grow from a clueless, shell-shocked, first-time father to a confident, capable father of 3.
Our family treasures spending quality time with one another, be it playing games, watching movies, going on holidays, hiking in nature, sharing tea and cake at a cafe, or cooking together. Even school drop-offs and pick-ups offer us opportunities for quality interaction with our children.
As the children grew older, my husband’s job also became more demanding and he found himself spending long hours in the office and less time to spend with the kids. The children also began to notice daddy’s absence. He felt torn and frustrated because he believed that he was missing out on their growing up years.
Finally, after months of agonising contemplation, we agreed that him branching out as an entrepreneur will allow for greater flexibility to spend time with all of us.
While we’ve had to simplify our lifestyle to accommodate his career change, my husband’s courage to follow his heart and prioritise our family has enabled us to nourish our family bonds. We now enjoy unhurried time to spend with one other.
When we first became parents, my husband had quite a hard time adjusting to the intensity of caring for a young child. He would find himself at a loss each time he was left alone with our daughter, then just a toddler. I couldn’t leave him on his own with her for more than 2 hours without him calling or texting me, asking me what to do and when I was coming home. Don’t get me wrong, my husband has changed more dirty diapers than I have, but he just struggled with managing an active toddler on his own.
Over the years, I’ve witnessed his determination to roll up his sleeves and dig in his heels even at times when he was way out of his comfort zone. He now has no hesitation when tasked with looking after the kids and keeping house.
He also makes it a point every year to take each child on a short trip with him so that all 3 of them get to enjoy one-to-one quality time with daddy. Needless to say, the children look forward to this every year!
He makes it a point every year to take each child on a short trip alone so that all 3 of them get to enjoy one-to-one quality time alone with daddy.
My husband and I enjoy nature and have slowly been introducing our children to the concept of hiking. I remember that 1.5 years ago, during our Hong Kong trip, we decided to hike the Dragon’s Back Trail together, all 5 of us. Our youngest, who was just 3 years old at that time, asked to be carried after walking with us for half an hour.
My husband summoned up his superhuman strength, swept up the little one into his baby carrier and hiked the rest of the 2.5 hour trail with the little boy on his back.
PURITY OF HEART
Starting up a company is not for the faint-hearted. In his journey as an entrepreneur, my husband has discovered a passion for mentoring young people – helping them discover their strengths, valuing them rightly and building them up to explore their potential.
Mentoring is not business-friendly because it takes up time, requires patience and usually does not result in any immediate returns. Still, my husband sees the long-term value in investing his time into grooming the next generation of entrepreneurs and has even helped several young people start their own successful endeavours.
When it comes to crises, my husband is the one you would want around. While I am usually the more organised, level-headed person in the family, a crisis drives my mind into panic mode and renders me helpless.
Case-in-point: Recently, when one of our children was in urgent need of surgery, my husband stayed calm and level-headed throughout. He checked our son’s wound, got a cold pack, clean towel and ushered us safely to the A&E within 15 minutes, while I on the other hand, ran around like a headless chicken!
When it comes to crises, my husband is the one you would want around.
The children and I have benefitted from all these character traits that my husband chose to exemplify. But as I ponder about what I appreciate most about my husband this Father’s Day, I realise that he doesn’t need to be extraordinary or do lavish things to be a superhero dad. He just needs to keep showing up, keep loving, and keep trying. I hope this encourages all dads everywhere to let their inner superheroes shine through their everyday actions.
Sue-Ann Lee is a mother of three spirited and hilarious children who have nicknamed themselves, Rainbow Skye, Chubbs Salami and Fatti Spaghetti. Writing about her parenting experiences brings her great joy as it allows her to relive the many precious lessons learnt along the way.
Dear Dad, would you like to be more patient with your kids? Or wish they would trust you more? Figuring out how you can win their hearts?
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