Single dads became closer to their kids during the MCO

Like father, like sons: Tan (left), 64, says the pandemic has brought him closer to his his two sons, Homun, 19 (right) and Lokmun, 12.

IT’S tough taking care of children during the movement control order as a single parent.

But for some single fathers in Malaysia, the increased time spent at home during the pandemic has made them feel closer to their kids.

A single father, who wishes to be known only as Ahmad, 32, says his two-year-old son is what keeps him going each day, despite the challenging times.

“Sometimes, I feel like my son is the one looking after me instead of the other way around.

“He keeps me company at home, even while working and minds his own business.

“He makes me laugh, ” says the business executive, who has picked up cooking skills by preparing more dishes during the MCO for his son.

Ahmad has three other children, who are with their mother, but he has custody of his youngest child.

“For me, the most challenging part in this pandemic is at night when my kid is asleep.

“That’s when my world just becomes silent and lonely and I start missing my other kids, ” he shares.

As a single father, Ahmad says he is also concerned about what should happen to his son if he falls sick.

“Nobody can take care of my son if I am unwell. I normally bring him along if I have to go out, ” he admits.

As for another single father, Tan Poh Choong, 64, the pandemic has strengthened his bond with his two sons, aged 19 and 12 respectively.

“We spent a lot of time together during this MCO and I’m thankful for that.

“My two sons are my source of courage and strength during moments when we were lonely and scared, ” says Tan, who has sole custody of the boys since his divorce with his wife seven years ago.

As a former chief executive officer of an asset management company, some of Tan’s leadership skills got humorously translated into their home life during the MCO.

“During the pandemic, I have had more time to monitor my boys and I could tell them to make their beds.

“I could see their ethics at home, ” laughs Tan, adding that to be fair, the boys also got to know more of his habits too.

Labelling fatherhood as “a sweet burden”, he says many parents believe they sacrificed for their children but he disagrees with that notion.

“You don’t sacrifice for your children but you step up for them.

“As a single parent, things can be overwhelming but my children have given me back love and protected my sanity.

“And that sustains me. It’s a joy when they are around me and they give me purpose, ” Tan adds.

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