The End of Men by Diana blogging as TALKTODIANA prompted this.
In the 1980s, Lisa decided to stay home to nurture our three children. I was prepared to be the stay-home Dad but she would not hear of it, plus I had better career prospects.
Incidentally, years earlier, when our first-born came along – I took a two-month break from work to care for Lisa. Over the years, I accumulated my vacation entitlement and had prepared my employers beforehand.
In the months leading up to the birth, Lisa introduced me to the grocers, fishmongers, and all, with clear instructions.
“This is my husband and don’t you dare fleece him!”
Ian Grice, a good friend here, who lived in Singapore, will tell you that hawkers charged prices according to how they sized you up. If you’re a local guy – you paid for the hawker’s Rolex. If you’re a foreign guy – you paid for the hawkers’ Mercedes! If you’re a local woman and especially if you took after Lisa – the hawkers would suffer and smile!
We had it all planned. I would handle the ‘night shift’ – Alicia’s bottle feeding, diaper changes and so forth. This ensured Lisa had a good night’s rest.
During the day, she would mother Alicia and I handled the cleaning, washing, laundry and cooking – Lisa taught me to cook – including her special post natal ‘confinement diet’ that included Chinese medicinal herbs.
Our children were breast-fed (daytime feeds) – this, when every other woman in the country relied on formula feeds. Another lovely friend, Val Logar who lived and worked in Singapore about this time, could probably attest to this.
I would even wash Lisa’s under wear. Now, Lisa is ethnic Chinese, and in an Oriental society – men DO NOT handle women’s under wear! Upon learning of this, some relatives passed snide remarks! My response – well, this is a family friendly blog. Then again, they probably had boring sex lives 😉
Lisa had a difficult childbirth but quickly bounced back. Within a month, she stopped me from cooking. (Okay people – stop that muffled laughter rippling through cyberspace).
The last couple of weeks before I returned to work were a nice break – the first that I’ve had in years – and spent playing with my bright little daughter.
As couples – simply pitch in and do the best and the most one can, for our loved ones. And while you’re at it -please dispense with that archaic cliché – “Behind every successful man, is a woman”. It works both ways – including when failure strikes!
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