Being dad - Things I knew but didn't understand

Coftea , , 15 Comments

There are many ways to put it. I have been promoted. I joined the club. Your BMT is going to start again. I knew what being a dad entails, but I did not truly understand them.

Not until my little darling daughter came and stole my heart.

I knew having a baby at home is tiring. The most common question I heard directed at new parents is how often their baby wakes up at night. However, being mentally prepared to forego my beauty sleep did not help much, the nights were tougher than anything I could imagine.

Waking up is easy, the daunting part is to rouse yourself from 0% to 100% consciousness to combat a crying baby. Your mind is going through the drill- Is she hungry? Is the temperature right? Is she sick? Is the diaper soiled? Does she needs to burp? At the same time, your body needs to be in motion. Put her over the shoulder, prepare the milk, try to feed. Nothing works? Change hold to cradle, make her feel safe and slowly rock her to sleep. It's 4am when you first woke up, and then it’s 5am. Finally she calmed down and it’s time to lower her down on her bed. Lowered too fast or knock on the bedside table? Good luck pretending to be normal the next workday. It is a true test of grit and endurance and you will only be spared for occasional lucky nights.

I knew I need to take good care of my wife. Being a woman is tough, being a woman going through pregnancy is exhausting. They go through an extended period of discomfort and worries to experience the ultimate pain in the labor room. Just as they thought the battle is won, an even torturous period of confinement and restriction awaits. Concurrently, they fight a seemingly hopeless battle with their own emotions and newborn baby. And with breastfeeding, it will be unfair and insensitive for me to describe the pain mummies go through. Some say it is worse than labor, some don't want another child because of it and some became depressed after encountering difficulties.

I have underestimated how vulnerable my wife was after birth, until I saw that hard to come by tears on her eyes. You see, mummy can take care of baby and not the other way round. Treat the mummy as the queen of the world and your baby will be the prince or princess in making.

I knew I will lose much of my free time. I had foolishly thought I could still sneak in some hours here and there for my leisure. Well, I could if I would want to be a non-participating dad who misses all the important moments. But I am not.

A baby needs to be constantly monitored and it requires most of your attention. Free time now is a privilege. If she does not go to bed on time, there would not be any time left to unwind. The short supply of my time has caused its value to increase ten-fold, which ironically forced me to become more efficient, cut down on procrastination so as to earn more time. Strictly no OT nowadays, I would rather spend my time on more important things, like making silly faces and having a good laugh.

I knew babies bring joy. Parents responded with a reassuringly yes when I asked them if their efforts are worth it. Hence, I anticipated happiness, but what surprised me was the overwhelming extent of it. It felt like my happiness spectrum had expanded and is now able to feel new concoctions of happiness and contentment.

I think about the haphazard way my daughter crawls to me smiling when I reached home, the excitement on her face when I make silly faces, the curiosity she shows when looking at new objects and oh... that angelic face when she is sound asleep. She is a new ingredient to my recipe for happiness, making my life sweeter than ever.

What I didn’t know was that I enjoy being a dad so much. The hardships are quickly forgotten and what’s left are the precious memories of our time together. If you are not a parent, I’m sorry, you will not understand how parents feel just by reading this. If you are planning to be one, go forth and never look back. If you are already one, I hope you share my feelings.

For Chinese readers our there, sharing you a song that encapsulates what a dad feels. Now, when is my next BMT?


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  1. Coffee tea or me,

    Finally a post from you!

    Greetings and Salutations!


    Good, good. You are not the "outsource to wife" kind of dad of our parents' generation.

    I'm not a dad; so I can't comment.

    But I'm a son. There's a reason why I always mention my mom but hardly comment on my dad ;)

    "Success" is what we have to sacrifice to achieve it.

    1. Hi SMOL,

      Greetings! Happy new year to you!

      I try not to outsource, but sometimes I secretly leave some dirty work to my wife :X Other than being involved and having good memories, another motivation is I don't wanna feel useless when my baby cries, so embarrassing.

      Yes, agree with you. 世上只有妈妈好, dads like me should protest it, but I don't mind. Because mummies sacrifice so much more. So all mummies are by default a success! :)

  2. Beautiful writing!

    Life is more just counting money with the Secret of Compounding!

    1. Hi CW,

      Thank you, so happy I put in effort to write this piece :)

      Must make sure to enjoy other parts of life after learning the secret of compounding, else no point in doing it!

  3. Beautiful. Man must love their wife. It's a command!

    Two most difficult tasks for a man are to be a good husband and a father.

    The glory of a man comes from the woman and the glory of the woman comes from the man.

    And the joy of the man and woman comes from their children

    1. Hi Rolf,

      Thank you! Totally agree. The baby will take up much of our time, but as a husband, we mustn't forget to put in effort to express our love to our other half.

      Last time, when its man and woman, it will be like I feel happy for you, you feel happy for me. Now, when its man, woman and children, there is a new we feel happy for them :)

  4. And if one of your children can't fend for himself, do you still have joy from him?

    1. That's why father and husband are two difficult tasks of a man.


      One of the father successes comes from disciplines / loves....

      How can a rebellious kid add joy to the parents.. contemporary problems of today society

    2. Hi temperament,

      I would think when they are young, joy can be derived from teaching and guiding them on their growing up journey. When they are older, joy can come from their simple act of caring for us. When they are adults, well.. I wouldn't want to depend too much on them, but to have joy in the things I do in life.

      My 2 cents :)

  5. You can discipline all the way, it is quite easy.

    How to give love unconditionally, unlimited and you still think you have done your duty as a father?

    Is there a model or precedent example to learn from?

    Even if there is, time, environment and circustances are not the same.

    1. Hi temperament,

      I am in the process of learning the answers to your questions! They are such tough questions.

      I think if we have already given our unconditional love, we must pat ourselves on the back and reassure ourselves we have done our duty. What's done is the past, so the pertinent question is what we should do for the future.

      Please do share with us all if you found the answers!

  6. Sorry, i ask because i have not found the answer.

    i only know and always say to people must remember a father or mother is for life.

    And you can't even choose when you don't want to be?

    1. Hi temperament,

      Definitely, it is a life time commitment that one makes when he or she decided to try for a baby. It can turn out well or really bad. But nonetheless, it will definitely be a true life changing experience :)

  7. Temp that is correct!
    That is where discipline comes in. A child's failure is not on them but on their parents.

    Parents who does not discipline their children Does not really love them in essence.

    And even discipline, but be make reference to the correct way (or book) of life and not of this world, and the atmosphere (or spirit) must be presence so that discipline is expressed through love and not of anger. Not easy!

    So the answer is love first then discipline! Build the relationship upon rock!

    And perhaps its a phase of contemporary society problem as follows:

    when 20 yrs old, worry about studies
    30, worry about marriage, career and house
    40, start to see cracks in relationships with spouse
    50, worry about rebellious kids
    60, worry about health...

    Must it really be this way? sometimes we ponder! Are there really a solution for this age?


  8. Hi Rolf,

    Childrens's failures are not on them but on their parents may be true in most cases.

    But don't forget besides parent's influence no one can stop outside peers influence. The world at large may be "dangerous" too!

    Also a child's given psychology or mental make-up may determine his own future.

    That is not nurture alone can decide what he will become.

    That say, if a pastor's child failed in life, .....

    On the hand, i have witnessed a child from a traumatic brokened up family, have suceeded in life to become a GIC scholar.
    Who is still serving her bond.

    As parents we also have to learn from our mistakes in bringing up our children.

    Often we try to give the best to our child but that may not suit him or that's not what he wants.

    i agree it is tough to be a good husband and father, we can only try to do our best and the rest is up to God like what most good doctors say.