Our silent appreciation

Young families are often in a difficult position to find balance between life and work. Things get more complicated for those with young children: the parents need to decide on how to make sure their children get a proper attention and care that they deserve while at the same time allowing the family to generate income. Two conditions usually serve to answer this demand: first, to put the children in a day care service; or, for mothers to take care of the children while the fathers are away to work.

A family is, of course, not just a combination of two persons and their offspring. A family is a thing in itself. An entity whose members are inseparable from one another. And a family has a function to sustain themselves (that requires money) as well as a place where love, care, attention, and support are primarily expressed (that requires time). Oftentimes, there is a trade-off between the two. Yet, both need to be satisfied! Therefore, when a family decides that the father will work and the mother will handle the children while he is away, the father should not think that the very fact that he is working gives him a privilege that is above the mother who is not working. Income is necessary, but so does maintaining the wholeness of the family and nurturing the next generation.

A working father is not in any case superior than a non-working mother. So when the mother accepts that the father will be late to come home because of work, the father is actually at the mercy of his spouse’s gracefulness to maintain the wholeness of the family. And this is far from being an easy job to do. At home, a mother is always faced with constant tensions, every day, to fulfill the children’s needs (and also for herself). A father, on the other hand, could alternate between home and office and this switch makes it less daunting for him.

Therefore, these divisions of work and life, of father and mother, of earning and nurturing, should not be taken for granted. And not all mothers have the same level of tolerance to bear with the pressure of daily life. Therefore, we, as fathers, need to understand and, more importantly, show our understanding to our spouse by doing whatever that is to ease her burden. Because they have put so much faith on us, and our deep appreciation to her cannot be left in silence.

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