Singapore dad gave up his job to look after son

By Lynn Wee   — June 13, 2017
  • He gave up his job to care for the little one
    1 / 9 He gave up his job to care for the little one

    What would make a man give up a 15-year career in trading, to be a stay-at-home dad? The return on investment was very clear for Adrian Shen, 40.

    “When your kid comes along, your priorities change, and it isn’t so much about yourself anymore,” says the boyish-looking father of 19-month-old Kai Shen.

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  • They were reluctant to hire a helper
    2 / 9 They were reluctant to hire a helper

    His wife, Caylee Zeng, 33, wanted to continue her job as a marketing manager, and they were reluctant to hire a helper or enrol their son in infant care at such a tender age.

    Besides, Adrian wanted to grow up with his only child.

    Related: Who says only millennial dads are involved father? 

     

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  • He plans his schedule around Kai's nap time
    3 / 9 He plans his schedule around Kai's nap time

    It’s clear that he’s one devoted dad.

    During our interview, he is distracted from time to time, waving to and interacting with his perky boy, who already has Mummy there to keep him company.

    Adrian now plans his schedule around his little one’s nap time and sets aside two hours a day, before 11am, to trade.

    Related: 5 things not to say to stay-at-home dads

     

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  • The "Rojak porridge"
    4 / 9 The "Rojak porridge"

    Besides nappy changing, bottle-feeding and carrying his tot to sleep, he has no qualms about cooking for his little one as well – something he managed to do successfully only with instant noodles in the past.

    He calls the dish “rojak porridge”, which literally translates to a hodgepodge of ingredients such as brown rice, barley, carrots, pumpkin, onions, chicken, and water (or whatever he can find in the kitchen), thrown into a decade-old electric crockery pot passed down from his mum, and cooked for two hours.

    A dash of pepper, basil leaves and sesame oil, and it’s ready to serve.

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  • Household chores are under his charge
    5 / 9 Household chores are under his charge

    Adrian also takes charge of the household chores at home.

    When Kai was younger, Adrian would strap him to his chest and do minor chores such as cleaning during weekdays.

    Major ones such as washing the toilets and mopping the floor were done on weekends, while Caylee brought their little boy out for a walk.

    Related: How this Singapore dad of 4 builds strong bond with every kid

     

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  • Stepping into the unknown
    6 / 9 Stepping into the unknown

    All these may seem like a child’s play for Adrian now, but entering fatherhood was like “stepping into uncharted waters”.

    “You can’t really be prepared for it,” he shares.

    “You know what to expect, but you don’t really know what to expect at the same time.”

    He recalls one of the toughest times when Kai, then an infant, would cry for two hours straight after waking up.

    Soon, the new dad found himself entangled in a monotonous cycle of changing diapers, showering the baby, putting him to sleep, and pacifying his cries.

    Related: Is your child growing up too fast? This Singapore dad learns to let go 

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  • "My wife is the real superhero"
    7 / 9 "My wife is the real superhero"

    At times, he would text his wife during the day to urge her to get home quickly.

    “We can play and spend time together the whole day, but when Mum comes home, or when she is around, I become invisible,” he says.

    “My wife is the real superhero, not me.”

    Related: Secrets of 5 super dads in Singapore 

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  • A newfound appreciation for his mum
    8 / 9 A newfound appreciation for his mum

    Over time, he adjusted to his new role, which taught him to think from his son’s point of view – what made him cry, or why he was reacting in a certain manner.

    This experience also fostered in him an appreciation for all mothers, especially his own.

    Related: Born at 1.27kg: How this dad helped premature baby gain weight faster

     

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  • "If mothers can do it, why can’t I?”
    9 / 9 "If mothers can do it, why can’t I?”

    When asked to describe fatherhood in one word, he blurts out: “Amazing!”

    “I didn’t expect it to be such a wonderful thing. I’m just enjoying myself every moment. Sometimes, I even feel like I’m a crazy person, because I’ll just look at Kai, and I’ll laugh,” he explains.

    His tip for new stay-home dads? It’s to have a never-say die attitude. “Tell yourself, if others can do it, so can I.

    If mothers can do it, why can’t I?”

    Related: Top 10 tips for new dads

    (Photos: Young Parents and Instagram/ Scallywag.31)

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