Most of you would have heard the news by now. Phase two of the circuit breaker is coming into effect tomorrow, Friday, 19 June 2020 at midnight, a much-anticipated announcement to the delight of all. To all the discerning folks out there, let us all perhaps celebrate both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day together, in person, over the weekend shall we – even though most families had made it work with the likes of video conferencing software (thank God) and our tireless food delivery riders/drivers (thank you all as well).
2020 has been a turbulent year for all, even more so for Fathers and Fathers-to-be. The job market has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, causing unemployment rates to skyrocket and hiring rates to plummet to record lows. This will inevitably create a large amount of financial burden and stress on Fathers, and the family as a whole. I hope this post will come as a reminder that as much as society places the burden and expectations of us to provide for the family, we are blessed to have the pillars of support that are your loved ones.
Fathers, the stoic, impenetrable figures of strength and support, are still humans after all, and I hope that I will be able to unmask that cover that we don on so well, to uncover the fragility, struggles, and insecurity we guys face.
When I was younger, I never really paid much attention to the need to take the “next steps in life”. I was pretty much over-confident and believed that I could take things on as they come, lived by the day, dreaming of the life that is to come. In a blink of an eye, fast-forwarding to present, I’m happily married to my wife with my first child chugging along the way, entering this world in just a couple of months. It is with these recent milestones that had opened up my eyes to the reality of things before me, that life isn’t just about me and a fairy tale that I’d been living in, and that with both the marriage and our child at hand, the commitment is real.
I can no longer live by the day. I can no longer think for my own self-interest.
Planning, prioritising and panicking – the 3Ps that have guided my decision-making and causing countless sleepless nights with worries of adequacy both financially, and in my abilities as a Father. Most Father figures I’ve spoken to would have casually mentioned to “just take one step at a time, things will just iron out”. I can’t help but believe (and overthink at times) that the decisions we make at every step of the way would lead to an everlasting effect as a family, and for our children in future.
Imagine the bad decisions, piling up one after another. Apologies becoming a meaningless repetition like a shameful pledge we say out loud for being the imperfect humans that we are. Pride and responsibility will make us accountable, but when we beat ourselves up for it, it usually leads to confrontation or escape.
For Fathers out there who are feeling fragile, weak, or even cornered, do not take the easy way out and fall into the millions of temptations that surround you. Smoking wouldn’t help you “catch a breath” from the stressors of life. Seeing another woman will not make her your lifelong partner that will journey with you through thick and thin. Gambling will not miraculously make things better over the long run after a big win.
And then, there’s the mental “escape hatch” that would either assure you or defeat you. The mental element gets me each and every time. When your value at work is under-appreciated, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with yourself. When you often
Of course, even with this current climate, Father’s Day is not all doom and gloom. Staying positive and optimistic is a key element in ensuring happiness for your family and your own personal well-being. More often than not, our expressed anger, disappointment, sadness, are all figments of imagination and stories that have twisted in our mind. Know that things will get better, and appreciate what you have and those around you.
Whilst we take this opportunity to celebrate Father’s Day together, we want to exalt the sacrifices that have often gone unnoticed. The lonely battles that Fathers have to fight alone to provide for their family and to give them peace of mind. A solid Father figure would create a tightly bonded family unit that will continue to thrive and create memories together.
Special shout-out to all the Fathers out there who have lost their way. There are no mistakes too great that will take your family away from you, that if you’d made a mistake, take responsibility and make amends to things. Trust is something easy to break, forgiveness is something that is hard to earn.