Mothers are often put in the spotlight as the ones who sacrifice their all for the family. While that’s not untrue, fathers are given a lot less credit for what they do. Fathers provide more than financial support but also emotionally. I want you to know that you’re an awesome dad to the children and that I appreciate you.
From the start when we discovered our pregnancy, you have put in effort to be involved in every step of the way. From taking time off work to be there with me during gynaecologist visits, attending prenatal classes together and massaging my aching feet. Oh, and that time when I was pregnant and requested for “pizza, sushi or McDonalds, I don’t know”, and you came back with pizza, sushi AND McDonalds? Perhaps you were satisfying the little baby’s cravings?
As we counted down the days where we would become a small family of three, we were nervous yet eager. Pregnancy hormones gave me mood swings that saw me burst out crying at the smallest things. You would hold me and tell the baby to behave. Prodding my belly made the baby move and you would spend minutes playing with the baby this way. You helped to massage my aching feet that were bloating up from water retention and even helped me to cut my toenails when my tummy was too large for me to reach my toes.
From being there from the start, thank you my dear husband.
In the delivery suite, from the moment we heard our baby cry, our lives changed entirely. I wanted to breastfeed from the start, and you were supportive of it, often bringing me water when I latched so that there would be enough milk for the baby.
You never once shied away from fatherly duties. You handle poopy diapers like a pro, and burp the baby after latching. Sometimes you get puked on, but you laugh it away. I haven’t told you this, but mealtimes are much easier because you take the effort to feed our child instead of being hands-off. Diapers, feeding, bathing, changing clothes, there’s nothing you can’t help with the kids.
Although you’re tired when you return home from work, your face lights up when you see our child running to greet you. You’re the light of her life, and it shows. It is your effort – you invested the time to sit down, play with her and understand her needs. There’s no one else who would be able to play with them the way you do. The kids love it when you carry them on your shoulders. That’s something I wouldn’t be able to do. In a way, carrying them on your shoulders is a symbol of how they can rely on you in their growing-up journey.
Sure, there have been arguments and disagreements on the way we parent our child but overall, I’m glad that we are in this life journey together.
For doing the best that you can, thank you my child’s father.
For loving the family, thank you.
For choosing to end work on time to be at home with the family, thank you.
Are you expecting a new bundle of joy, yet worried about how your elder one will react to his or her new sibling? Fret not as we have some fun ways to prepare your elder child for his or her new role!
1. Bring him or her with you to gynaecologist checkups
Bring your child along to visits to the gynaecologist where he or she can see the new sibling move during ultrasound scans. Use this time to explain to your child that the baby is still growing in your tummy. This way, your child can see how his or her sibling develops from a small foetus into a baby with each scan.
If you’re feeling artsy, create a scrapbook, let your child decorate it and add in new scan photos along the way!
2. Read books on new siblings
Take your child on a trip to the nearest library and borrow some books focused on introducing new siblings to the family. There are some websites which sell personalised sibling books that you can customise with your elder child’s name. Having themselves as the main character of the book helps them to relate better to the story.
Read up on how to cope with the new baby.
3. Sibling bonding
Encourage your child to talk, kiss or hug the new sibling through your tummy. Foetuses can hear sounds from inside the womb and this will build familiarity between the siblings even before birth. Try singing together with your toddler to your belly.
4. Involve your child in baby preparation
It is natural for elder children to feel mixed emotions about the impending arrival and change in status and not want to help. Gauge their interest level and ask casually if they would like to help you pick a colour for the nursery or choose clothes for the new sibling.
Your elder child can be given the honour of choosing colours for the nursery.
If you have yet to decide on a name for the new baby, you can even let your child have the honour of choosing his or her new sibling’s name from a shortlist?
5. Reminisce about your elder child’s baby moments
Perhaps it is time to cuddle with your child and tell him or her all about how you discovered you were pregnant and show how he or she grew from an embryo into a foetus and then a baby. What did you first notice about your baby? Was it his cute button nose, or her deep dimple? How did you feel when you first carried him or her? Was it on a rainy night or hot afternoon?
Birth stories help your elder child understand that they are just as important as the new addition.
In your third trimester, your elder child will be able to feel distinct movements from your belly!
6. Let your child be the first visitor
It can be confusing for younger children when they see their new sibling who used to be in Mom’s big, round belly. Allowing your elder child to be the very first visitor makes them feel important and there will not be external disruptions by other visitors who will crowd around the infant.
Try the above tips out and let us know if they worked for you! Do you know of other ways to help your elder child prepare for a new sibling? Leave us a comment!
Dads-to-be, are you feeling confused and left out? Being involved in the pregnancy strengthens your relationship and lets your wife know that she’s not alone in this journey. Read on to find out how you can support your wife during her pregnancy in 8 simple ways!
1. Be part of the pregnancy
The most important step in supporting your wife is to ensure that she knows you’re there for her. When announcing the pregnancy to friends and relatives, say “We’re expecting a baby” instead of “My wife’s expecting a baby”. This small move acknowledges your involvement in the new chapter both of you have embarked on so your wife knows she’s not alone.
2. Do the house chores
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and make life as comfortable for her as possible. If you don’t have the energy for house chores, get a helper to maintain the house in a clean condition. Pregnant women have a nesting instinct which creates a desire for a place that is spick and span to welcome her offspring.
Dads, it’s time to work those muscles and help with the house chores, especially when your wife’s pregnancy bump gets bigger.
3. Help out with the baby shopping!
Part of the fun comes from shopping for the new little one! Rather than simply passing your credit card to your wife, take interest in the necessary preparations to show your support. If you’re up for it, visit a baby fair to get a feel of what’s needed and what’s not. Baby fairs often have cheaper deals too!
4. Accompany her to gynaecologist visits
Try to be there with her for visits to the gynaecologist. Your wife will definitely appreciate the emotional support, especially during the oral glucose tolerance test in the 2nd trimester. What’s more, you’ll get to see your little one moving in utero via ultrasound!
See your little one at the monthly gynaecologist visits – it helps daddy to bond and understand how the pregnancy has progressed too.
5. Attend antenatal classes together
Taking care of a newborn can be daunting for first-time parents. Prepare yourselves by learning how to handle newborns from the experts. Some classes offer practical sessions with a doll. Although it’s nothing close to the real thing, having some experience and knowledge is better than being cluesless when baby is here!
6. Talk to the belly
Foetuses in utero are able to hear sounds from their external environment. Start bonding with your baby by singing, reading or simply talking to your wife’s belly. From the second trimester onwards, you’ll be able to feel baby’s movements including some sharp kicks! You’d be surprised – when your baby is here, she’s also likely to respond to familiar song and voices too!
7. Capture the memories
Surprise your wife with a maternity photoshoot to capture this precious moment in her life. You can even do a before-and-after shot in the same spot and pose after your baby is born!
Capture your wife’s glowing moments with her baby bump – the pregnancy journey is precious and memorable for both husband and wife.
8. Have a babymoon
A babymoon is a vacation taken during pregnancy. It’s one of the last few times to fully enjoy each other’s company. Air travel is restricted for pregnant women over 32 weeks of pregnancy, and a medical certificate is required between weeks 28 to 32, so remember to plan your trip before week 28! Morning sickness usually goes away by the end of the first trimester, so consider travelling in the second trimester.
Women undergo huge emotional changes during pregnancy and it is important that you show your wife that you’re there for her. Try the above steps to see if it helps and leave a comment if you have other ideas on how to pamper your wife!
Parenting is an exciting life-transforming chapter.
It can unearth character traits or skills you never knew existed, and turn you into a new person you never imagined possible. Has becoming a parent changed you for the better, or for the worse? Let’s hear it from these mums in Singapore who share their earnest transformations and experiences!
The most obvious change after becoming a parent would be physical ones for mothers. After nine months of skin stretching to accommodate a growing baby and belly, some things may not revert to what they were before.
Mum of two toddlers, Jingyi Gab says looking at herself in the mirror and accepting those scars and stretched tummy are some changes that took some getting used to since pregnancy. This mama acknowledges that they are her badge of honour and feels that these physical scars portray the truth about unconditional love.
For Lup Wai who home-schools both her kids, she gamely accepts that the “haggard look” comes with being a mum who has witnessed the “ups and downs of looking after kids “, as “having children makes life even more colourful, interesting and exciting!”
Patience and temper – lost or found?
With children, situations may take unexpected turns which catch parents unawares. You may find yourself breathing through gritted teeth and struggle to remain calm when dealing with the kids. When that happens, patience run thin and tempers are lost, or found?
Mums agree that after having kids, they undergo self-discovery and revelation…only to learn more about themselves. Patience, or the lack of, is an understated hidden gem!
The worse bit for Joanne, mum of 2, is “discovering I have less patience and worse temper than I thought I did. Now, I (try) to be more patient, choose kinder words and generally being more aware of my “triggers!”
Andrea Kang Gruszka seconds Joanne’s revelation: “I go from Jekyll to Hyde in a matter of seconds – it takes VERY little to antagonise me now!”
While it takes a conscious effort to hold their tongues and minds before firing away, mums also realise that their children are mirrors of their teachings. For Yvonne Mardiana whose girls are in primary school, she admits that she “became more aware of how mean and how loud I can be from my children’s reminders.”
Days before children came into the picture, it might have been easy to judge other parents when their kids throw tantrums in public. After becoming a mum, Lai Xiuli who has two young children understands that some situations are trickier than others. She compares them to “infantry training” (as the kids) train my energy level, my patience and train me to see things with an open-mind. Guess that changes me to be a better person? Children definitely add lots of colours and laughter into our lives.
”For new mum, Nerissa Lewis, despite the sleep deprivation, she feels that becoming a mother has made a better loving person with the new perspective and meaning in life.
“You become more aware of what’s going on in the world just because you want “it” to be a better place for your children,” she adds.
As Andrea rounds it up, “Everyday I’m pushed to consciously choose love – love is not an emotion, it is a choice. Patience, self-giving, tolerance, optimism are thankfully by-products of having chosen to love.”
Making decisions and managing time
Naturally, decisions made are usually in the best interest of your children. That includes deciding to eat healthily, go for more vegetables and be the right role models in front of your kids. Mum of 3, Clarissa Chen shares that she has since become “more aware on food choices”. Late night suppers and date nights with the husband is also a thing of the past as part of their marriage! Turning into a picky eater no more because “the kids are watching me at meal times”, says Jessica.
Candidly revealed by mum of a toddler, Serynn Guay, “I’ve (become) better at multi-tasking and generally more tolerant of work, because nothing, NOTHING (including coordinating a 1000 pax event involving Ministers) at work is more challenging than getting a toddler to eat vegetables.” Suddenly, no mountain is too high to climb at work! Much have been said about time management skills being sharpened too, regardless of the size of your brood, right?
As Evangeline Yang, mother of 2, shares about motherhood, she has become more patient, more loving and more creative.
To that, Yvonne agrees that becoming a parent “improves my creativity in cooking, arts and imagination”, skills which might not been used to describe her prior to starting a family.
Creativity skills are also sharpened and used in unexpected ways as Jessica Kong shares.
“I gained the ability to tell smooth white lies without flinching when asked about the whereabouts of their pacifier, tv remote, kinder surprise egg…,” she reveals.
“Looking at my children with love, taking care of them takes so much effort and knowing you would do anything for them opened up my eyes to how my parents took care of me,” confesses Yvonne. “Be appreciative of the time spent with your spouse, your children and your own parents.” It takes a village to raise a family, just as it has been for our parents themselves.
After all the days are long, and the years are short. First time mum, Melissa Goh agrees wholeheartedly that she enjoys the positive changes in herself.
“The feeling that we give selflessly really applies here,” she shares.
At the end of the day, parents continuously strive to become better individuals and better parents. All in a bid towards loving our children more with each day, as we nurture and raise world-ready children with each tantrum, spice and everything in between!
Do you think you have changed for the better or worse after becoming a dad or mum? Share with us your thoughts too!
How can we raise our children to be ready for the world of tomorrow?
Parenting is a lifelong journey, and as we strive to offer our best to our children, we also wish to prepare them for their future.
Besides a safe and loving environment, we work hard at meeting their needs and support their holistic development. Family values are also integral aspects of one’s character, and parents explore ways to impart good values to nurture responsible citizens of the world.
Let’s find out what values are important to families in Singapore, and how do parents teach their children these great values!
#1: Values are part of our daily lives
In school where Civics and Moral Education (CME) was part of the curriculum, we learned about moral values through stories and examples. At home, parents appreciate the importance of imparting positive values at an early age, as they set the foundation of one’s character which translates into how they interact with others around them.
To that, Evangeline Yang, mother of two, shares her beliefs that her kids should be “man or woman of what they say”. Through speech, behaviour and actions, children pick up these values through those around them. Leading by example is an effective way of getting their children to understand and appreciate the importance of positive values.
Through interaction with others, children may also pick up the “wrong” concepts and ideas which they may not be able to differentiate during their toddler years. As Dominique Goh, mother of three notes, “… don’t put up with those adults or kids who refuse to exhibit such moral standards.”
#2: Learn to be contented, appreciate life and others
My boy is only two-and-a-half years old so he’s at the very self-centred stage. But, we are trying to teach him to share with others, and take turns. We also always stop to admire caterpillars or a yellow bird on our way to childcare, because we need to appreciate all these little things!
— Serynn Guay
To that, experts analyse that toddlers are at the phase where they are self-centred, and it is a normal part of their social and emotional development. During this period, parents can encourage autonomy, and allow toddler to have the feeling of self-control.
In the daily pursuit of wants and needs, we might forget to appreciate what we have, and lose sight about the amount of happiness accumulated. No thanks to the chase of ‘a better life’, or, ‘more things’, where it is always about the grass being greener on the other side, contentment becomes a moving goalpost.
As Andrea Kang Gruszka, mother of two under two-year-old, laments. “I just pray and hope that my kids do not spend their days comparing and always wishing and hoping… I guess I’ll just have to start with myself.”
Appreciate the simple things and being happy with what we already have allow our children to embrace the value of gratefulness and learn to be contented too.
#3: Effort and results are related
Citing examples of her five-year-old and two-year old, Janice Wong shares that as her kids watch her juggle work, home-schooling and parenting, she believes her actions speak for itself in allow her kids to understand that hard work is important. She hopes to instill in them that “nothing free falls down from the sky… don’t take anything for granted. Work hard but smart too.”
Like Andrea and Serynn, Janice is also a firm believer about having her kids dispel any sense of entitlement. The right working attitude has an impact on effort and results too. During the process, having the right manners is a behaviour Janice hopes her young children adopt.
Our P’s and Q’s are integral as they are an extension of how we treat others too.
#4: The value of love springboards to greater depth
Walking the talk is important and for Jessica Kong, she feels that children need to be respected too.
“We believe that when children feel respected and see us respecting others, they take on the same values too,”
— Jessica Kong
Furthermore, children are keen observers who learn values such as empathy and kindness through role model. As parents, what we do and say influences our children more than we might think.
She adds, “We show adequate care for them when they are hurt or when they get punished for a wrong doing. However, instead of asking my six-year-old son not to cry and be a ‘big boy’ when he falls, we offer suggestions to help distract him about the pain. When he gets punished for a bad behaviour, we will acknowledge his feelings after the incident and find out his reasons for his behaviour. We will always hug and remind him that he is loved but the behaviour is unacceptable, and soon realised that he adopts the same method when his sister gets punished. He would empathise and saying (care for her) her the same way we did to him.”
#5: Teaching children the right values need not be 100% serious work
In all seriousness, raising children with positive values may seem like a tall order, some parents find ways to do it through light-hearted manners.
Mother of two, Liang May, says of her husband “who wants to teach his children ‘others before self’ with the underlying virtue of kindness. He does so by example but is also quick to add that ‘your father is the most selfless guy! Why (are) you so selfish!’ when he speaks to our children!”
Clearly a sense of humour is a trait our kids could do with as they get ready to tackle life’s challenges.
“We do this by demonstrating it in the way we work, live and play. Being consistent in our parenting approach is also important. For example, if I tell my son not to spend too much time on his smartphone, I should do the same too.”
— Father of a teenage son, Walter Lim, sums up our effort in nurturing children with the right values
Wise words of advice indeed from fellow parents. After all parenting is a learning journey for both children and adults. When it comes to raising world-ready children, growing up with the right values help develop a person’s character and attitude, as they prepare to step into their future.
What are some values you hope to instil in your children? Do share with us too!
Parenting takes two to clap, and plenty of teamwork to boot!
From playing cheerleaders at the delivery suite, to helping with night feeds, fathers play a supporting role in their own ways.
According to the Father Involvement Research Alliance (FIRA), “Involved fathers are more likely to see their interactions with their children positively be more attentive to their children’s development, better understand, and be more accepting of their children, and enjoy closer, richer father-child relationships.”
Mums often play the role of gatekeepers in the family, and that sometimes influences how much fathers are involved in parenting (or, want to be involved!), and that would unknowingly affect the dynamism of a father-and-child relationship too. Fathers are also pillar of strength and support for mums during the challenging journey, from being the protective father who nurses a wounded knee to instilling child discipline and imparting values.
While both parents are antagonistic when it comes to raise healthy, world-ready children, the importance of an engaged father during a child’s growing up years is certainly instrumental, and deserves more than just a pat on the back.
Celebrating fatherhood with words of love from mummies
We spoke to four mummies in Singapore who share their heartfelt gratitude for having their spouse’s support in parenting. Fathers, these mums want you to know that they appreciate what you do for the children and family! Mums may not say it often, but every action from papas speaks a thousand words to your ladies. Raising your children together is like nurturing your flowers and watch them blossom with your love!
To Daddy Ken, father of two:
I would like to thank my husband for always lending me immense support during these initial years of parenting. One great help he has rendered up till this day is his willingness to do night duty. From the time our boy could take to bottle-feeding, he has been waking up in the middle of the night to feed him or get him back to sleep. He knows I need my rest so that I can function properly the next day. Also, he often encourages me to get some ‘ME’ time because he knows I need to be recharged. So, while I get my time off, he would look after the kids. Really thankful to him, my awesome partner.
To Papa Aw, father of two:
To my dear partner aka Papa Aw,
Sometimes, you do make me mad;
Sometimes, you do make me laugh.
I believe that’s what love is about?
I appreciate the little things you have done for me & our family. Spending your time with us (though you could have choosen to work OTs for extra income)
Waking up in the middle of the nights for the kids (eg: to prepare their milk), which allows me to have more rest.
Just listening to my naggings when I’m down.
You are my partner, lover and my best friend.
Thanks for always being there for me. You’re the best!
To hubby Terence, father of one & expecting their second child:
Thank you, dear hubby, for 13 awesome years of being together and for going through the ups and downs of parenting. It warms my heart to see how you dote on our little girl and shower her with love and attention. Although there are times when there is a need to step in to discipline her by making unpopular decisions, you never fail to make it a point to remind her that she is very much loved by her mum and dad. As we look forward to the arrival of our second bundle of joy next month, I know that the best is yet to come and I know that we can count on you to create more happy memories together!
To Daddy Changhan, father of two:
I really want to thank God for a wonderful partner, friend, husband and father in my life. He has been a great source of support when we had our first child, and to our second child. I remembered there were many times when I need help with the house and baby, he will always be there with me. Often, he would offer to spend time with our children and be willing to listen to me on my preferred type of parenting. He supports me in all my decisions and walks with me to try to make them successful. Thank you, darling!
Fathers, you’re more important than you think when it comes to parenthood. Together, you can build a wholesome family environment for your children to thrive and blossom into strong, independent people who value the importance of relationships and marriages.
Mums, do you have a special message to your husbands? Remember to share your heartfelt words of appreciation to let them know they are awesome!