Fatherhood

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My friend Wendy, who visited us on her trip to Sydney this week, told me that she was very impressed by Nicolas’ parenting skills.

‘No Chinese father would do this much with their child: bathing, changing nappies, entertaining, preparing food, feeding and so on’, She said.

And I replied ‘well if he could breastfeed, he would!’.

We both laughed.

Nicolas seems to be so natural with everything he does, and he seems to do everything with great pleasure (except when he had to get up 3 times at night during the first couple of months obviously). And from what I can see from all the fathers I know here in Sydney – my colleagues, friends, friends’ partners, mothers’ group’s fathers – all fathers are very actively involved in parenting on day to day basis. Nicolas is perhaps exceptionally hands-on (which I admire and appreciate), but I haven’t come across any father in my entourage who claims that he would never change a nappy. Not here in Sydney.

So before Wendy made such a point to highlight this, I almost forget that not every father, esp not every father in certain cultures such as in China, takes fatherhood the same way. I should know better. I heard about stories of Chinese fathers who have never ever given a bath, let alone changing nappies. Some parents (both fathers AND mothers in some cases) have never cooked s dinner for their children – dinners are cooked by grandparents or domestic helpers. And I only know too well that some kids (such as my niece) share the same bedroom, or even bed, with their grandmothers, not their parents, till an age well passing the school age. Some fathers never show up at the school gate for drop-off or pick-up.

I know it’s a huge generalization, but it’s more accepted in China if fathers are not involved in day-to-day caring for their children, at least comparing to fathers in Australia.

From this perspective, I can only feel lucky that I’m raising my child in Sydney with a non-Chinese husband.

To my defense (haha!!), Wendy also pointed out that she was equally impressed by my capability of being a mother and having a full time job without any regular help (meaning grandparents, and helpers or ayi as we call them in China). Nicolas is a great partner to make it possible.

Gracias Palomito!

P.S. my driving skills, by the way, got a special mention too by Wendy (which is the first time in human history, so definitely worth a special mention here too:))))

P.S. II: it was such a pleasure to have a good old friend visiting. Come back one day with your family, Wendy!

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