Nothing changes a man’s life more than becoming a father. Whether he’s a first-time dad or not, the feeling of having a child remains—a mix of bliss, excitement, even fear. Perhaps there are even more.
The dads you’re about to get to know haven’t been in the fatherhood scene for more than a decade but we’ve already gleaned valuable insights on how to balance careers and family life in this ever-changing, ever-busy world. Here’s how they fare in raising the Generation Alpha.
Alfred Sim, Singer and Coach
Photo credit: Alfred Sim’s Instagram (@zolalfredo)
As a dad to a 20-month-old baby, Alfred Sim is still learning the ropes of being a dad but he has a clear idea of what values he’d want his child to learn. “Perseverance, grit and discipline (are) important to me.” When it comes to his parenting style, he believes in being patient and explaining things to his child properly.
As to how he thinks he can ace parenting, Alfred underlined the importance of communicating well with your wife and in-laws as keys to a happy family life.
Lee Boon Seng, Executive Chef, The Spot Singapore
As the head chef of The Spot, Lee Boon Seng spends long hours in the restaurant and would be lucky to have at least 30 minutes with his three-year-old daughter every day. “That’s because most times when I get home, she will already be asleep. During my off days, I just want to spend every moment with her,” he shared.
He finds himself becoming an authoritative parent—but still with a soft spot for his child. “I would still do the best I can to help her achieve something she sets her eyes on,” he said.
When asked what traits he teaches his child, he points out to kindness and resilience. “It’s a harsh world out there, although it’s important to bring up tough kids, I think it’s important that they grow up to be empathetic human beings as well.”
When it comes to acing parenting, he emphasised the importance of having a supportive wife. “I’ve only been a father for 3 years, so I’m still learning how to ace this. It really helps to have a good wife to offer support to this family. Being a chef and a father is not an easy task as there is really no way to find a perfect balance between them both. So, my only tip is to spend as much time you get with your kid, even if it’s over a 10-minute bedtime story.”
Aernout Dijkstra-Hellinga, Senior Lead Designer & VP of Sustainability, Bugaboo
Aernout Dijkstra-Hellinga is the Senior Lead Designer & Vice President of Sustainability of Bugaboo, a Dutch company known for sustainable mobility equipment for infants and toddlers. Aernout’s job allows him to explore his passion for sustainable design thinking and apply his experiences as a dad to his two kids, aged 8 and 10. As a parent and a designer, Aernout always keeps safety, ease of use, and quality in mind whenever he creates new products.
His flexible work schedule allows him to achieve a good work-life balance. In fact, he even coaches his son’s football team. He finds himself assuming the coach function too when it comes to parenting. “I think our style is quite pragmatic, open, honest, and giving them trust and responsibility. We see ourselves much more as coaches, guiding them through [the] beginning of their lives, preparing them to become independent, open minded people.”
Being an advocate of sustainable design, Aernout enjoins dads to be more conscious in purchasing products for their kids. “Try to find people that already own the product for a longer period of time and ask them if they are still feel (very) happy with it. Always choose quality over quantity… It’s about enjoying time with your kids, it’s not about the products you buy or own,” he said.
In the end, work responsibility can’t outweigh the importance of fatherhood. “It’s important for your children to have a father [who] spends time with them. They grow up so quickly, before you know it, you have to wait until you are a grandfather to enjoy [spending time with] little kids again.”
Sedfrey Figueroa, Restaurant Manager, The Spot Singapore
Sedrey Figueroa is a Filipino working in Singapore. His job as a Restaurant Manager of The Spot allows him to provide for his wife and daughter back home even if it means less bonding time. “With her living in the Philippines, I only get to see her twice—four times if I’m lucky, and only five days each visit. I mostly speak to her through video chat, but that doesn’t happen a lot either as she will be asleep by the time I’m done with work. A lot of my conversation with my wife is about her, and how they’re doing.”
Regardless of the distance, Sedfrey wants to teach his child the values of humility and fear of God.
He sees himself becoming a strict father, though not as tough as his father has been to him. “I can only assume at this point since my baby is only two years old. But I can imagine myself to be a very strict father since I have a daughter—I might think differently if I had a son. I’m generally very easy-going, so I guess what I mean when I say strict is that one has to know their own limits. Perhaps I got it from my father, who had really high expectations of me growing up, and I take that experience and impart it to my kid.”