This June, we celebrate fathers and their love for junior. We put the spotlight on four dads who took a leap of faith and embarked on their journey as Stay-at-home-dads (SAHDs). Meet four fathers from different walks of life who decided to leave their careers and embark on parenthood from a different perspective.
In this article, we chat with John Yeo, father to two sweet girls, to find out what he enjoys most about his new role and what he would like to forewarn dads who are thinking of staying home with the kids too.
John Yeo (36), father to Phoebe (5) and Chloe (2)
Journey as an SAHD: 3 years
Hi John, can you share what led you to make the decision to stay home with your daughters?
My girls are growing up so fast and there seems to be insufficient time spent with them. My dad used to spend a lot of time with me when I was young. So perhaps it had greatly influenced me to be a stay-at-home dad too when I had my own kids.
So, what were the key challenges you faced when making this decision?
It’s very rare to have dads staying at home to look after kids. My in-laws were asking me when I would look for a job soon. Even my aunties were always asking my mum when I will be looking for a proper job. It was not easy knowing that you’re the only stay-at-home dad/ guy among all the cousins and relatives. There’s also assumption that you’re lazy or something is wrong with you, and so you are jobless.
Are there days where you question the decision to stay home with them?
I was running my online marketing business from my home office. It was not smooth sailing as income was not that stable. So financially, it caused a lot of stress. Baby food, diapers and medical care are not cheap too. My savings soon depleted. And babies tend to get sick easily. So I always have to drop my work (even if it’s urgent) to bring them to the doctors. It takes a lot of discipline to instantly get back to work using whatever time you have when the girls were sleeping and, at the same time, feeling really exhausted.
So, what is a typical day with the kids really like?
I have the luxury of having breakfast with my girls while most working parents are rushing to work. I even have time to play some games with them at about 8.30am before they go to childcare. Sometimes, we even watch cartoons together too. I would pick them up around evening time and we would visit the playground. This is almost impossible if you’re holding a normal day job.
What do you enjoy most about being a stay-at-home dad? Can you share some moments when you feel your decision to be an SAHD has truly been the right one?
I feel closer to my girls and they are close to me too. They still jump on me, clinging on to me whenever they see me. Plus now, they always hug me from behind to plant kisses on my head. Quite funny. But it pays off everything, including the hard times I went through as a stay-at-home dad.
Has being a stay-at-home dad changed you in any way?
I’m more patient nowadays though sometimes my little girls are always testing my patience. This only means I get more chance to learn to be more patient. (Laughs)
Read on to see more of what John has to say..
With most of your time dedicated to your children, how do you unwind and enjoy “me time”?
We need to steal short pockets of time from any free time we could find. It just happens. The day’s schedule is pretty unpredictable when it revolves around my girls. So while they are in childcare, I get to spend “me time”.
Is there a point in the near future where you think you will stop being a stay-at-home dad?
Not really. My education business is running now and I can afford to spend time with my girls when they are at home.
Have you ever regretted being a stay-at-home dad?
Having a degree in mechanical engineering and graduate diploma in social work, most people wonder if I can earn more if I’m in the corporate world. However, [I have] no regrets as I own my education business right now and every second with my girls is so precious. Won’t exchange anything for it.
To fellow fathers who are thinking of becoming stay-at-home dads, here’s what John has to say:
They need to have enough savings and immense support from their wives. Staying at home is not really a “man thing” and it’s still not commonly done locally. So, the dads also need to know their source of income while being a stay-at-home dad. Stay-at-home doesn’t mean your income should be zero. Plan carefully and plan at least 3 to 5 years ahead. You can try for short term too. Most of the times, the stress doesn’t come from looking after the girls. Yes, I know that’s very stressful too, but most of the times, there are stresses coming from how you see yourself as a stay-at-home dad and what you think others will think of you. The self-doubt, anxiety, negative feelings will slowly surface and choke you. You really need support from your wife too. And also [consider] how you see yourself when your wife is working and you aren’t. So many more things to consider.
We hope you enjoyed reading these heartfelt responses from the stay-at-home dads in Singapore. In a typical Asian country, where men are mostly deemed to be sole breadwinners, it is nice to see that the world’s perspective is changing, and that more and more fathers are sharing the parenthood role with their spouses these days by being the primary caregiver. Kudos to all fathers, and here’s wishing our children’s first superheroes, the first men our daughters love, and our rocks in the family: Happy Father’s Day!!
Click here to see the rest of our related articles in our Father’s Day Special interviews!
Father’s Day Special (SAHD) : ” I put a lot of emphasis on discipline; other dads call me Sergeant.”
Father’s Day Special (SAHD): ” It has made me realise just how hard it is to raise a child!”
Father’s Day Special (SAHD): ” I get to be there for all the little things!”
It was interesting to see how fathers get more involved in their children’s lives and family. Do you know of any other SAHDs? Share with us too!