Fathers Action Network (FAN) was recently formed by a group of prominent figures from various organisations and businesses. The network aims to kick-start a movement called "Dads for Life" to get fathers more involved with their families, especially in their childrens’ lives. Findings showed that fathers spent less time with their kids as compared to mothers. On average, a dad spends about eight hours a day with his kid on a weekend as compared to over 10 hours spent by a mother. (Weekdays rate was not quoted, and is probably nil.)
Prior to this, there is also another organisation call Centre for Fathering, whose mission is "To turn the hearts of children towards their fathers by inspiring fathers to be involved in their children’s life." They have initiated events like Eat Dinner with your Family (last Friday in May) and Back to school with Dad.
I had always complained that Mike had never ever taken part in any of these events, despite the local mass media’s prompts, which had given wide publicity to them, often urging companies to release fathers early so that they can go home to have dinner with their family on just this one weekday.
Yesterday in the forum page, a letter by Mr George Lim touched me. In response to the news on FAN, he commented that the best way for a dad to love his kids is to love their mum. He wrote that in many marriages, couples finds it a challange to keep the love alive, let alone rekindle the flames of fatherhood.
How true. My own father was a philanderer and to my relief, left his family for another woman when I was sixteen, thereby taking away many heartaches and problems he had caused. As a child, I could sense the tension in the family and had never really felt comfortable at home.
Among my family, I could see the difference a loving husband makes to family life. The women are happier, and less stress is imparted on the kids. Time for the wife = time for family. None is more obvious than my Uncle E, who accompanies my Aunt E, driving her around the whole of Singapore to visit new malls, to buy food for her mother and sisters, and even settling down to watch Korean dvds with her.
Among my friends, there are also many happy marriages. One classmate’s husband would always be on call, all ready to drive down from their house in Upper Paya Lebar to Orchard Rd to pick her up after our dinner, even though she can drive. The rest of us always sigh with envy as we made our own way to the carpark, MRT or bus stop.
Then, there are those whose marriages are more like living with strangers. Either there is hardly any communication, or worse still, the wife is nothing more than a maid at home. There is no freedom of speech, and respect is often lacking in the marriage. I’m often amazed that they have things with which they feel they can’t ask/talk/request out of their husbands.
Mike and I have the kind of marriage that most of my friends envy, despite hearing my complaints often that he is hardly at home. (I calculated that out of 24 hours/day, if we minus 8 hours for sleep, 12 hours at work, 1 hour for toilet at home, he has less than 1 hour/day for me and his three sons each.) We have an easy comaraderie and can discuss anything under the roof. He had once said that time with me is more important that time with the boys, and would prefer us to holiday alone without the kids. I had disagreed. He had never put me down in front of the kids, and supported me in my discipline of them. His love for me was none more obvious than when I was hospitalised during the birth of my three sons and this year when I had dengue and pile op.
In this December issue of Oprah, there’s an article titled How to Make The Romance Last, where it revealed the truth about what keeps marriages together. To summarize – to sustain romance, one needs the ability to sustain "positive illusions". Men and women who continue to maintain that their partner is attractive, funny, kind and ideal for them in just about every way remain content with each other.
Love Blindness – This is a gift of nature, enabling us to triumph over the rough spots and the changes in our relationships.