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!
****** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2014 ******
Well done, Eric, because I smile in delight for Lisa to have a helpful husband 🙂 She must have been touched 🙂
Thank you, Yoshiko,
I’m not the romantic sort – but I know how to keep my wife happy 🙂
You are welcome 🙂 helping is the most happy thing for a wife. That’s great.
What an engaging account of your marriage.
You never cease to amaze your audience with your captivating words.
You move easily from one form of writing to another.
I’ve always been a jack-of-all-trades and enjoy the variety.
Glad that you found this peek into my private life engaging.
All good wishes,
Parental wisdom–passed on well!
Good to see you here.
If I might share the following:
My Dad passed away when I was three and my mother (who remarried) had very traditional views about male/female roles.
In fact, when my older sister wanted to go out to work (in 1970, when I was 15) my mother refused. I exchanged heated words with her and Big Sis got to go to work. In the late 1970s, when my younger step-sister wanted to take up training as a nurse – again, my mother put her foot down. Again, I had a terrible quarrel with her before my sister was allowed to pursue her dreams. My mother hated me for this – and I make no bones about that. My two older brothers stayed on her right side. I, the youngest of my father, was the bad guy.
As early as age 15, I did what I thought was right. At that age, I didn’t know about bra burning nor that word – emancipation.
Perhaps, I was fortunate not to have had a father to ‘role model’ me.
I think god has given us enough to know right from wrong – the question is, how many of us bother to discern and more importantly – go against convention.
I like to think that my wife and I have passed on these values to our two daughters and son.
Peace and all good wishes,
Thanks for your like of my post on “The Simple Things Of Life.” You are very kind.
What a lovely tale and great dad you are. I would imagine not many men in your culture would do all you did . . . never mind the underwear !
Thank you, Anne, and yes, back then not many would do what I did – and I believe it’s the same in many cultures too. But thankfully, that is changing – media caricaturing notwithstanding.
I enjoyed very much reading this wonderful post. I think it’s so wonderful when there are not the classical role divisions in family affairs. It’s wonderful for fathers to have that bonding similar to which the one that mother’s have and will never happen unless the father is present in that special period…or at least that’s what Ithink. 🙂
There are more men getting into it – but the numbers need a quantum increase. It’s saddening that media continues to propagate gender roles as do many social and business norms. In some societies, women are quick to demand all sorts of rights for themselves while denying these same rights to their daughters-in-law.
You’re so right – fathers must get involved and from an early stage.
I know that the problem is far from gone and agree with the issues of ambiguity which women themselves perpetrate. Change is a very slow process at best, we can expect perhaps superficial shifts, but the fundamental changes, the heart changes, are so much more difficult.
I think as more and more men and women shed their traditional roles the society will shift…but it must be a global change and truely accepted. In the meantime it’s a wonderful thing to see young fathers becoming more and more involved with raising their children, not only by being an aloof authority but a loving sibling!
Thank you for that delightful glimpse into your early married life Eric. Lisa is a lucky girl! 🙂
You’re very welcome, Madhu dear
When courting, we faced much opposition from both sides of the family. I blogged about this if you care to read > http://wp.me/p1YE83-1D
Strange, but when one fights hard for one’s love – we love without reservations.
I’m lucky too 🙂
Back then, some of my fathers (the conservative type of Africans) would shake their heads at doing some of the feminine duties/works even as their wives had just put to bed. Doing so, in their view, was considered a sign of weakness and not love. Women were helpers. Nothing more than that.
The way I see it, a good husband should be willing to go the extra mile for his wife — like you so beautifully described. We are all humans.
Thanks for sharing.
Uzo, my friend, the Asian and African cultures have much in common – I’ve learnt this after I started reading your works and that of some other blogging friends from Africa.
Yes, we too have large pockets of misogynistic behaviour but this is changing for the better.
If we truly love our family – we should show that love in tangible terms, I reckon.
A good husband and father – a challenge, but perfectly doable 🙂