Annie Cheng is mum to six-month-old Everett. So far, she’s been surprised that her husband is much more of a “family man” and doting dad than she had expected.
Annie talks to TNAP about how her husband has helped shoulder some parenting responsibilities, made impressive sacrifices for the family, and transformed into an expert at night shifts with the baby.
TNAP: How did your husband help you cope during those early days right after you and the baby came home from the hospital?
Luckily, my husband was able to take one month off work to help me take care of Everett. It was extremely stressful during the first couple of days home from the hospital, and having my husband there helped a great deal. He took the hardest night shift (the “witching hour”) when Everett was at his fussiest), changed diapers, bottle-fed the baby and soothed him to sleep. Most importantly, my husband helped ground me whenever I got overly stressed about the small things. He calmed me down and was the voice of reason.
TNAP: How do you split or share parenting responsibilities?
My son is only 6 months old so thankfully there are no school or extracurricular activities to deal with yet. But because my husband has a very demanding job that requires traveling four days out of a week, it leaves most of the parenting responsibilities to me (feeding Everett, putting him to bed, etc.) when I get home from work. I do anticipate my husband to take over more as our son grows, though! He’s already so excited to play tennis and basketball with Everett once he’s old enough.
TNAP: What are the specific ways your husband has helped and supported you during your motherhood journey?
Financials are a big thing. As unromantic as that sounds, it has been a big relief to not have to worry about the hospital and pediatrician bills. There are enough hardships as it is! Other than that, my happiest moments are when my husband comes home after several days of traveling and holds Everett and kisses him, and Everett smiles a huge smile back. Knowing that somebody else on earth loves Everett as much as I do is a big support in itself.
TNAP: What do you think is the bravest thing or biggest sacrifice your husband has made for the family?
Withstanding my illogical angry outbursts. It’s not easy to live with me when I get overly emotional and high strung. But my husband keeps showing patience and affection throughout the difficult times, and I do think that is a big sacrifice to his ego – especially when he has to bear the brunt of my temper.
His freedom to go out is also sacrificed. Socializing has always been extremely important to him. He’s an extrovert who loves going out and having fun with his friends. But now instead of going out every week, he only goes out every other week. It’s not really that fatherhood has changed the person he is. It’s more that his priorities have shifted. I know he genuinely cherishes the time he spends with our son, even if it means passing up on drinks with his buddies sometimes.
Also, initially my husband wasn’t as ready as I was to have a kid. He’s actually a couple of years younger than me. While I wanted to try to conceive right after we got married, he wanted to wait longer. But he eventually agreed for my sake. A lot of marriage is about compromise – and it’s the same with starting and building a family.
TNAP: What is something new you’ve learned about your husband since seeing him as a dad?
He is a very family-oriented guy. He always thinks of his family first. I know that Everett and I are his #1 priority and the reason why he works so hard at work.
By Jenny Tai
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