Parental Stereotyping

Recently, I got this in the mail, directed to my name:

supermom
So, I’m a Supermom?

FYI, this is a tie-up between Tesco and P&G, where Tesco Clubcard members get to get some special offers on P&G products when they flash the Supermom card.

I have a few hypotheses regarding why I would receive such an offer:

  1. I suspect Tesco has a pretty good CLM (Customer Lifecycle Management) system, as I’ve been receiving cash vouchers on products that I have bought quite frequently. Maybe I’ve received this because I’ve been buying a lot of baby/household stuff recently? But they could have checked my gender and choose their recipients, right?
  2. It was a mass, random offer to ALL Tesco Clubcard members. But that wouldn’t make too much sense, right?

If it’s really Point 1, then it’s really funny to be assumed as a mother because of my purchases.

Which brings me to my own point today: Gender/Parental stereotypes.

As mentioned in my previous post, I consider myself a pretty involved father, and I thoroughly enjoy the process. I also know that are certain quarters out there who still believe in the traditional view where the bulk of the parenting is done by the female of the species.

Yes, it was definitely like that during my parents’ era. I remember my father as person who literally doesn’t do much house chores at home, eg. Washing the dishes, mopping the floor etc. Cooking was unthinkable!

The way I see it, there really is nothing in parenthood that my wife can do, that I cannot do, except breastfeeding. Even then, if we decided to go with the bottle, there wouldn’t be any differences technically. I do not say this to belittle the efforts of mothers everywhere, but to emphasize the point that fathers can do so much more.

Diaper changing? Check. Bathing the baby single handedly? Check. Washing and drying baby’s clothes? Check. Cleaning and sterilising baby’s bottles? Check. And some other stuff that I can’t think off my head right now.

And what an experience it has been to be involved in such a way. I feel a renewed sense of excitement, being able to be directly involved in my son’s life this way.

So, to young parents out there just like me: Are the parenting duties well split between both of you? Or does your family subscribe to the traditional view like my parents?

Welcome to Parenthood

So, my almost 5 month old son has achieved some milestones in his life in the last few days, one of which is that he’s able to roll from his back to his tummy unassisted.

How did I even get here?

Secondly, he is able to enjoy a sumptuous serving of fresh toes. I really don’t understand what goes through their minds when this happens.

And now, time for a toes. Get it?

I haven’t really talked about my experience of being a first time father, I guess now’s a better time than any other.

Life as I know It Has Ended

I think this is one of the biggest myths of becoming a parent. Sure, there’s quite a fair bit of stuff that you previously enjoyed that you most probably cannot do (or do much less), such as having a bromantic evening with your mates, jamming with your band in a dingy studio at midnight, or making an impromptu trip at night to the casino in Genting Highlands.

In return, you get to spend time at home having to entertain your baby while your wife finishes up her dinner, followed by you consuming your cold soggy meal after that. There’s also a high chance for you to sleep late because your baby doesn’t want to sleep, and putting him/her to sleep took 1 to 2 hours. Only for the baby to get up again at 3am just to wake you up.

Sounding all doom and gloom so far? Trust me, there’s more.

Instead, let’s have a slightly different perspective. What if I say that you get to play and make your child laugh uncontrollably, and that makes you laugh uncontrollably as well. Or that the last face your baby sees before they sleep is your face.

How about me time? Believe it or not, with a bit of time management, I’m still able to watch some TV shows, read some comics in a week, and even put in some Xbox time at night.

Yes, you might have lost your previous life, but you’ll get to have a new one – Both yours and your baby’s.

It’s So Difficult

Oh yes it’s tough. My first few experiences changing Jamie’s diaper was calamitous. There was rarely a clean diaper changing experience.

Not having enough sleep also ranks as one of the toughest part of parenthood. And for someone like me who’s pretty petty about punctuality and order in life, parenthood can really throw everything off course for the day.

At the same time, it’s such a fun experience. Every experience I’ve had with my son has been golden. I look back at a particular bath session where Jamie decided to pee ONLY when I took off his diaper, all while I was carrying him. And it was friggin’ hilarious. We laughed then, and today we still laugh.

Some people might think that I’m taking parenthood too lightly, but trust me when I say that having a positive attitude will definitely make even the most mundane and trying challenges a fun experience.

Let’s Have Better Finances Before Considering Having Children

Myth, myth, myth.

It can be terribly draining on your bank account, if you decide to get the “best” of everything for your kid. You know what? Children have grown up strong and healthy on much less.

With so many resources out there, second-hand options for cots, strollers and other baby equipment are aplenty. Can’t afford Mamypoko all the time? Then switch between a cheaper option during the day and possibly save almost RM0.50 per diaper.

Basically, money spent can be earned. It can be expensive, but with a little planning and resourcefulness, this can be overcome easily.

Being Involved

I’ve always tried to be as involved as possible in my marriage – From doing the chores, to cooking the meals. Admittedly, I’ve never thought of myself as great in all these things, but I try my best.

Same thing with my son – I’ve tried to be as involved as much as I can, from diaper changing, to bottle feeding, bathing, and even his laundry.

And, it’s really not that bad. Just find a process that works for you, and take some burden off your wife. It really does keep everyone in the house sane when the duties are shared.

***

The way I see it, the one and only negative point of parenting is how tiring it can be for all parties, that’s undeniable. Everything else that comes along with it is definitely a plus point, in my opinion.

This comic perfectly captures what I’ve been trying to say in this whole post, courtesy of Fowl Language Comics. Maybe I should have just put this up in the beginning instead of getting you, the reader to read through this long post.

Courtesy of Fowl Language Comics

Here We Go

As you can see, I’m back in the blogosphere.

I know, it just seems so out of character for me to start writing again. Amidst my busy work schedule, time spent with my wife and 4.5 month old son, church activities, friends, and some good old fashioned Xbox gaming, how do I find the time to pen down whatever it is I want to express? Why now, of all times?

If you ask me, with so much things going on in my life, now’s the BEST of times to start a blog again. There’s just so much I want to tell my friends, family and the world about that I need some form of medium to unleash it all.

On top of that, I have a few personal projects that I would like to see come to fruition – Ideas that are just waiting to be put on paper. And what better way for me to do than through my personal blog. Here’s a sample of what I’m doing, without revealing too much of anything at all:

Yes, it's just a sample. Go easy on me critics.
Yes, it’s just a sample. Go easy critics.

I figured with a bit of discipline and hard work, I might be able to achieve some personal dreams, and have fun at the same time. All done through this blog.

So, here’s to a new beginning, and hopefully, a journey that wouldn’t end too prematurely.

For those who are reading my writings for the 1st time, welcome! For anyone else who is reading my blog again, welcome back.