Father’s Day Special: Being An Involved Dad At Home And Work

Photo credits: Art Restaurant, G & L Surgical Clinic, Epigram, Jason Godfrey, Suhana Ab, Darren Lim

This Father’s Day, Mummyfique chats with six popular daddies about how they cope as a Dad with work commitments and being at home with their family during this challenging time.

BEPPE DE VITO, Dad of 4 boys
Chef-Restaurateur, il Lido Group Of Restaurants

Beppe De Vito’s passion for food first began to take form while he was still a boy living in Italy and working at his neighbourhood cafe. Fast-forward 20 years, he was sent to work in Singapore via London by the renowned Italian restaurant group, Bice. With numerous accolades under his belt, Beppe founded the il Lido Group of Restaurants, with Braci receiving its first Michelin star in 2017.

1. What is your typical day like as a dad during this pandemic?

Lynn and I try to keep the kids on the same schedule as when the schools are open, so they wake up earlier than me and carry on with their breakfast. By the time I’m up they’re all showered and and dressed and ready for t he daily homework routine, while I get on with my work. We will have lunch together and play by the pool for a an hour before I get back to do some work and they carry on with some activity like reading and art and crafts. Most of the time, Lynn prepares their dinner, but twice a week we make something together like pizza using the pizza kits from Amò, or bake something savoury out of whatever we’ve in the fridge. After dinner we play together for an hour before bed time. Only on weekends they’re allowed to watch TV so we enjoy watching a nice family movie together. By 8:30pm it’s bed time for the kids!

2. How do you cope with helping out at home and juggling work responsibilities?

My wife Lynn handles mostly everything at home, thus making it very easy for me. Most of our restaurants are closed during this CB period with only Amò opened. In the meantime, I am working on reopening plans and creating a new virtual restaurant concept.

3. What is one inspirational quote that you live by all these years as a dad?

I’m not much of a quote person. I don’t believe there is a perfect formula; I try to offer my kids as much love and affection as guidance and inspiration.

4. What is one piece of advice you can share about fatherhood to inspire all dads out there?

Parenthood is as much a learning curve for them as it is for us. Each day there’s something new for us all to learn, absorb and evaluate. I try to be there for them emotionally and offer as much guidance as possible without stressing them too much.  

5. What is one wish you have for all dads in the world?

To be kind and remind your children each day how much you love and care for them. 

DR GANESH RAMALINGAM, Dad of 2 girls
Specialist in General Surgery, G&L Surgical Clinic

A graduate from the National University of Singapore with a degree in Medicine, Dr Ganesh is currently a Consultant with G&L Surgical Clinic at Mount Elizabeth Novena Medical Centre, specialising in General Surgery. He is part of the Football Association of Singapore Medical Committee and the match doctor for the Singapore National Team. Outside of his work commitments, Dr Ganesh has also been on voluntary Humanitarian Efforts at Banda Aceh after the tsunami and Jogjakarta for the earthquake relief mission.

1. What is your typical day like as a dad during this pandemic?

A typical day for me would involve hugging and kissing both my daughters goodbye while assuring them that I will be back home as soon as I can to accompany them. They will require this to be repeated a few times before I leave for work. As a medical professional, my job still requires me to be at my clinic to handle emergencies and post-surgical patients. On days where there’s free time, I will usually organise a video chat to reassure them that I am on my way home!

2. How do you cope with helping out at home and juggling work responsibilities?

I strongly believe that striking a balance between work and family is important especially where it comes to being with my wife and daughters. I try to keep my weekends and evenings available to ensure that I get enough time to spend with them, especially playing with them after dinner and thereafter putting them to sleep. This is extremely important to them and me for our bonding. After that my wife and I would then spend time together and catch up on some leisure time for ourselves.

3. What is one inspirational quote that you live by all these years as a dad?

A father holds his daughter’s hands for a short while, but he holds her heart forever. And for me to hold 2 daughters and my wife’s hearts is truly a blessing that I will dedicate my life to protect and cherish.

4. What is one piece of advice you can share about fatherhood to inspire all dads out there?

Cherish the moment. There is absolutely nothing in this world that is as amazing and as powerful to see a little one grow in your image. Just looking into their eyes as they look up to you and smile places emotions in my heart that can’t be described in any language.

5. What is one wish you have for all dads in the world?

I wish all dads in the world a Happy Father’s Day! We never really don capes but we sure do our best to be the Superman in our kids’ life! It is easy to forget how fast the little ones grow up, and always bring the same passion you have in your career to your family.

ROBIN LEONG, Dad of 2 boys
Sports, Entertainment, Lifestyle Presenter, Owner of Ch’i Life Studio, Author

Robin Leong became a household name in Singapore with his starring role in the popular police drama ‘Triple Nine’. His passion for martial arts and sports led him to Channel News Asia where he was a sports, entertainment and lifestyle presenter.  In 2002, he established Ch’i Life Studio, Singapore’s premiere martial arts studio for children, and it has since expanded into China and the USA. The Kung Fu Force and the Building of Doom is his first book for kids ages 3 and above.

1. What is your typical day like as a dad during this pandemic?

Wake up, breakfast, work out, clean mess, referee argume nts, lunch, re-learn 4th grade Math, kungfu practice, play ball, dinner, manage physical altercations, bed time story, collapse, sleep.

2. How do you cope with helping out at home and juggling work responsibilities?

It has actually been quite a good experience as I have able to test my patience limits and learned how to turn whines into lots of smiles! I wouldn’t change a thing as the the constant ‘noise’ is music to my ears now, seeing the boys growing up fast right before my very eyes.

3. What is one inspirational quote that you live by all these years as a dad?

‘The Man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.’ Confucius

4. What is one piece of advice you can share about fatherhood to inspire all dads out there?

Cherish every single moment you spend with your children. Memories of your children’s milestones and moments are priceless. Never be too busy with other things…always try to make extra time for your children. You will never regret it!

5. What is one wish you have for all dads in the world?

Great health for family’s wealth!

JASON GODFREY, Dad of a 3-month-old boy
Actor, Presenter, Host

Studying theatre and acting at the University of Waterloo in the mid-90s, Jason landed roles in ‘Animorphs’ and ‘Paradise Falls’ before leaving Canada to model internationally. He is an avid writer who contributes to Her World (Singapore), Stuff Magazine (Singapore), has a bi-weekly column in The Star (Malaysia), co-wrote the series ‘Left Behind’, and has hosted live events. In recent years, Jason has been increasingly prominent in the local television scene, with a recurring role of James Shelley in Mediacorp Channel 5’s long-form series ‘KIN’.

1. What is your typical day like as a dad during this pandemic?

In many ways my circuit breaker was probably just like most Dad’s paternity leaves. You’re in a fatigued state all the time, trying to figure out a schedule that works for you, your wife and your baby. The pandemic makes itself felt by making every day feel the same. Every day bleeds into the next, with no breaks to see friends, or no respite to go for a lunch to break up the repetition of baby sleeping and eating. So it’s gotten to the point where the past two months feels like one long night.

2. How do you cope with helping out at home and juggling work responsibilities?

My wife and my mother-in-law (who has been with us this whole time, thank dios) take care of Will most of the day. I split the nights with my wife, so we can all get a decent amount of sleep. When it comes to juggling that with work, it’s tough. Because if I have an early call time, and a long day ahead, I really need to get a good night’s sleep. Acting isn’t the kind of work where you can go in half dead, skimp by, and hopefully no one will notice. Memorising lines means needing rest, and acting is even tougher when the primary thing you’re trying to do is act like you don’t just want to pass out on the floor. So on these days, my wife takes the entire night shift. The saving grace with my job is that some days are long, but I still get days off in between where I can make it up to my wife by taking a few sleepless nights here and there.

3. What is one inspirational quote that you live by all these years as a dad?

I’m a new dad, so it hasn’t been in place for years, but I’m instilled with the idea that whatever person you want your child to be, you can’t just tell them to be a certain way, you need to live that life. And you quickly realise, that you don’t want your kid to have all your faults. So I think the challenge with being a parent is going to be becoming the best version of myself I can be to teach my boy by my own example. That’s going to be hard.

4. What is one piece of advice you can share about fatherhood to inspire all dads out there?

I really don’t have much advice about parenting. My boy is only three months old, we’re still trying to figure it out, actually I feel like, if anyone has advice for me, that’d be great. I suppose the only advice would be for people in the newborn stage, it will get better. That’s the only advice I got. The newborn stage is this chaotic state where you say goodbye to your previous existence of sleeping in, and leisurely brunches to enter this realm dominated by a little sack of screaming flesh you call your baby. Baby wants to feed. You feed. Baby wants to poop. You clean it. Baby wants to stay up all night screaming at the wall, then you get to listen to baby screaming at the wall because who needs to sleep? But this does get better. And I wish I had some more sage wisdom from getting through this period but it’s really like you’re in a disaster zone. Just get as much rest as you can by taking shifts, take care of yourself, and power through, because really you’re at the mercy of your little bundle of joy.

5. What is one wish you have for all dads in the world?

I wish that all Dads can be there for their children. It’s become more and more obvious that parenting is a major factor in determining what kind of person a kid grows up to be. And when a Dad is absent for whatever reason, or a Dad is there but maybe not as supportive as they could be, it wrecks havoc on the psyche of a little one. It’s the same with an absent Mom too. Parenting is so important. So if we could all just be there for our children, the world would be a much nicer place.

FADHIL ABDAT, Dad of a girl and 2 boys
Director Pinklift Pte Ltd / Director, Adlina A. Pte Ltd

Being a director and partner at 2 retail SMEs, one a kids wear label, Maison Q that specialises in reversible clothing and the other, a modest wear brand, Adlina Anis, Fadhil also has his hands full with 3 kids! He tries to be a vegan 5-days a week and is mostly successful till his kids insist on McD’s for lunch.

1. What is your typical day like as a dad during this pandemic?

I start my days as early as 5am. After a shower, pre-pandemic I would have breakfast at a mama stall and then catch up on the news as well as some reading. This is the only time in the day when I am not interrupted by anyone and I value these early hours very much. It is my me-time. At about 7am I usually would head to work and start my day. With this pandemic, my routine has been interrupted. I still wake up at the same time but the aforementioned are all done at home. I try to reply my work emails and other matters in the same time frame before my kids 7yo and 4yo wake up at 7 plus. They have their shower, breakfast and then we settle down to get their HBL done. This takes a good few hours. Let’s just say I’ve learned to exercise more patience and looked up ways to improve the way I help my kids to understand the subjects. The rest of the day is spent on completing work tasks and on some days, my kids and I make dinner and discover new recipes. I am happy to share that we can make our own bread now. 

2. How do you cope with helping out at home and juggling work responsibilities?

It is quite a challenge as the kids require a lot of attention. Working from home, I must have been interrupted some 20 times in a day. Home is not really the best setting for work especially when you have young kids. As time went by, we started setting boundaries and the kids were not allowed to enter our home office unless it was urgent. This worked out for a bit but with kids things can never go that way for too long. Taking on one task at a time also helped. On some days  I’d be left with no choice but choose a time when everyone is either asleep or busy with TV  before I can catch up with work.

3. What is one inspirational quote that you live by all these years as a dad?

As a parent, what I do now will define my family’s future. This is always at the back of my mind when I make decisions, may it be personal or business. Another one I try to live by, is to lead by example. I believe children will remember how you behave more than what you tell them.

4. What is one piece of advice you can share about fatherhood to inspire all dads out there?

To your children, you will always be the best dad. Children forgive easily even after they have received a scolding or are in tears. They love you wholeheartedly and with everything they’ve got.

5. What is one wish you have for all dads in the world?

That we have superpower to freeze time, mute everyone and just chill out. 

DARREN LIM, Dad of a girl and 3 boys
Actor, Host

Perhaps most renowned for his role in the MediaCorp series, ‘The Little Nyonya’, Darren Lim left MediaCorp in May 2012 to work at his father’s business and spend more time with his family. He and his wife, Evelyn Tan, and their 3 kids, had lived on a boat for 4 years and since returned. Darren is at present a freelance actor.

1. What is your typical day like as a dad during this pandemic?

As I have been travelling a lot these days for work before Covid-19, the circuit breaker comes as a nice reprieve that worked wonders for family bonding.  Before the school holidays started, I helped out with my youngest child’s HBL every morning. In the afternoons, it’s bread making or preparation for dinner for the family and then in  the evenings, a jog/cycling trip with one of my children around our estate. 

2. How do you cope with helping out at home and juggling work responsibilities?

Basically, because all my projects this year require travelling, I am going to be a very free man for the next 6 months since all productions do their casting at least half a year in advance.  There has been one or two on-off productions that came out of the Circuit Breaker, but I expect things to be quiet. I am going to be a full on, hands on dad this season!

3. What is one inspirational quote that you live by all these years as a dad?

I live by the belief that as one brings up his children, one becomes a better person.  

4. What is one piece of advice you can share about fatherhood to inspire all dads out there?

Children can bring out the worst in you, but be thankful they are always so forgiving; how can you not love them for that?

5. What is one wish you have for all dads in the world?

That we can be more loving, more patient, and be more available.

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