Stories by CLARISSA CHUNG, ASHLEY TANG and FATIMAH ZAINAL
PETALING JAYA: For most people, the role of parenting has always been perceived to be a mother’s responsibility.
However, for Mohd Ainullqamar Siam, he has chosen to be a stay-at-home father to nurture and care for his three children.
He said his children, Miftahul Jannah, eight; Ahmad Muaz Ramdhani, seven; and Khadeejah Raihanah, four; love having him around as he cooks and takes them to school.
“As I am able to look after the children, there is a satisfaction that cannot be described. I take care of their meals, and the kids appreciate it. “After a meal, they tell me ‘thank you, daddy’. That is the type of satisfaction that you cannot get anywhere else,” the 41-year-old said.
Mohd Ainullqamar said he first decided to be a stay-at-home father as he was unable to care for his wife, Suaztini Md Jalil, when she was pregnant for the first time.
“I was only given a one-day paternity leave during that period, and when my wife was pregnant with our second child, I had to take leave to care for her and the baby,” he said. Mohd Ainullqamar, who once worked in the food and beverage industry, said he then decided that it was time to leave and start a home-based online food catering business.
He said the business gave him the flexibility to earn money to supplement his wife’s salary as a bank staff.
He said with his hands-on parenting, his children are more attached to him.
“Most children usually grow up to be more attached to their mother, my children instead are closer to me.
“Anything that they want they will ask me. It is not easy for children to be closer to their father, but here they are,” he said.
For Michael Chin, having chosen to marry and have a child in the later stages of life, has him relishing every moment of his newfound fatherhood.
“Being a first-time papa, I embarked on this journey of fatherhood not only with an inexplicable combination of joy and excitement but also with a healthy dose of fear and trepidation,” he said.
Chin, a corporate lawyer in his 40s, said one of the most enjoyable experiences since being a father to two-month-old Jazriel was the opportunity to be a primary carer for not just the baby, but also his wife, Kate.
“Make no mistake, the continuous beavering, juggling of tasks, and sleep deprivation did make me feel as tired as a worn-out shoe.
“Despite the exhaustion, when the baby gives you a loving smile, it magically empowers you to keep going. It is then that you realise that your efforts for both the mum and baby are all worth it and are not in vain,” he said.
Ten years ago, Datuk David Morais made the fateful decision to adopt Joshua as his son.
The lawyer, who was 49 at the time, said Joshua who was then only a few weeks old, was offered to him through adoption.
“It wasn’t planned, but I had to make a decision straight away. It’s a sliding door moment.
“If I said no, then my life would have continued as it was. If I said yes, I would go through the door with the baby into the unknown, with all its possibilities,” he said.
Morais said since making that decision, his life has “changed overnight”.
However, he said his long-time girlfriend, though supportive of his decision, did not want to get involved in it, and sadly, she and him separated.
Despite the separation, Morais said he quickly felt the rewards of parenting.
“One night, two or three months after I’ve adopted him, I was giving him his night feed.
“He was looking at me and I at him, and we just had this moment where we knew ‘We’ll be fine’,” he said.
As Morais turns 60 and his son turns 11 this year, parenting remains an exciting and meaningful aspect of his life.
“It has kept me busy, I don’t have time to grow old.
“I love him to bits. Every single day is a Joshua day.
“My days begin and end with him. There is no bigger priority in my life,” he said.