By Allan Wu
I am sure you’ve heard the age old adage that “There’s a time and place for everything.” While this might hold true for most things in life, there’s one area where I believe you can flush this notion right down the toilet… when it comes to being a parent. No matter how much we try to prepare for this monumental change, the vast majority of us never feel truly ready despite all the preparations we’ve done (or haven’t done). We ask ourselves a slew of questions like ”Am I ready to be a parent? What kind of parent will I be? What if my child does not like me? What should I do to ensure that my child is happy?” Now press Rewind and then Repeat. Maybe this is part of the excitement or simply a byproduct of the unknown, and we all deal with it differently. For me, I’ve decided in the end to just try and go with the flow and roll with the punches or whatever errant used diaper comes my way.
Right here, having this opportunity to churn out my thoughts onto the digital community on the topic of parenting from a father’s perspective is new and refreshing in many ways. Like all parents, we each have accumulated a pile of experiences and anecdotes from raising our children. Even though my daughter Sage is now fourteen years old and my son Jonas is thirteen years, I still have no problem recalling their early years as those pint-sized toddlers spewing out nothing but poorly chewed food and random gibberish. Now when I see them, I cannot help from time to time to marvel at how quickly time has passed as they mature and young adults, and I cannot help but ask myself how have I done as a father? What did I do well and what could I have done better? Did I do enough or I tried to do too much? It’s these types of questions I ask myself to assess where I am doing well and where I could improve.
Occasionally, people have come up to me and commend me on my job as a father, and I must thank social media for this. And yet, I must confess that I do have a mixed reaction. On one side, I like to be recognized for my contribution as a father. I mean… who wouldn’t? While on the other hand, I find myself telling myself, “What is the big deal? This is something that every parent should be doing. Furthermore, we all curate and only choose to share what we would like people to see on social media so I believe this is a very subjective and skewed window into each of our real lives.
With this reminder in place, I look forward to sharing my role and experiences as a father complete with all the bells and whistles. Nothing is ever easy when it comes to raising a child, and this is simply because there is no absolute right or wrong compounded with the fact that every child is different. We all have our own individual journey as a parent, and I believe that the greatest present you can give your child is simply your presence where merely being in the same room returning emails or messaging your friends does not count. I am sure this sounds like common sense, but I know I wouldn’t mind being reminded of this every now and then so even on a subconscious level we’re working towards getting the most “quality time” together with our children. On that note, I’d better get back to seeing whether any of my kids need any help with their homework because now that they are older, I know that this “time and place” are inevitably a thing of the past… and certainly won’t last.
Wu’s Your Daddy? is a parenting column by celebrity host Allan Wu (known for his role in ‘The Amazing Race’), where he recounts his experiences as a first-time dad, and shares parenting tips and advices, without the one-size-fits-all notion. Questions for Allan, direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Wu’s Your Daddy?