Unfortunately, here in Egypt gender stereotypes are still largely present –especially when it comes to the mother’s and father’s parenting roles at home. However, the new age of dads are trying to break these gender norms, by being emotionally available, engaged and involved in their children’s upbringing. They might still be breadwinners, but they are also diaper changers, lullaby singers and cooks. Here is a group of workaholic fathers, who despite their busy schedule always find time to spend with their kids.
Youssef Khalil: Vice President at Fresh Electric For Home Appliances
As an entrepreneur, finding time to spend with the kids could be really challenging. Youssef thinks “the key is to create a routine, or sacred habits, to stick to. I do my best to have dinner with the kids nightly, whenever I am in Cairo –usually cooking it together. Sitting together around the table guarantees some quality time, and family bonding, and keeps me updated with the kids’ lives..”
A family that vacations together stays together. “I plan my vacations based on the kids’ vacations.Whenever they are off I am off –usually planning a trip together at that time. I have the school schedule on my phone. I plan my meetings around their activities to make sure I am present,” he says. “We do everything together.We love to go skiing together, we bike together and we sail together. This summer we are planning to try something new and we will go surfing,” he says. A father’s presence in his kids’ lives is essential.He should not just be exclusive to providing for the family, or solely taking care of the house expenses. “The father should make the kids feel secure, and give them a sense of self-confidence.Both parents are important.The father complements the mother’s role in raising the kids –who one day will be parents themselves,” he says. Youssef’s number one advice for workaholic fathers is, “Kids grow up so fast.Don’t miss the chance to spend time with them when they are young. When they grow up you won’t find them.”
Ahmed Emad: E-Commerce Lead, Middle East Africa at Mondelēz International
The more you’re away from your children the more they will be shaped by their surroundings, which isn’t always a healthy environment. “Work is important, but at the end of the day if you don’t spend time with your family then what’s the point of working in the first place?It is very rewarding to spend quality time with your family, and be involved in their daily activities,” he says. “My time with my kids consists of playing sports, video games, and introducing them to my childhood movies and TV shows.We also like to play music together.” Fathers, the more time you spend with your children, the more you will be able to discover their talents and sensibilities.“It is definitely crucial to be there all the time.With divorce rates rising,not all kids have the luxury of spending time with both their parents. It’s important for fathers to spend time with their kids.They are our children; they are not just my wife’s.It’s a responsibility we need to share,” he says. “You have to teach your kids the importance of family and spending time together, because eventually they will pass that to their household,” he explains. Workaholic fathers, seize the special moments with your kids. “Work is important, but it’s not worth it if you’re going to miss your kids’ dance recital or football match. This can emotionally scar the kids.If you lose your job it’s just a job.Family is irreplaceable,” he says.
Hisham Kharma: Musician
You can imagine how hectic and busy a musician’s day is. “My time with the kids is sacred.Despite my busy schedule, I always make sure to take a break and plan a family trip with them. It’s very important to maintain that special bond with your kids,” he says. Hisham loves engaging in all sorts of activities with his kids; anything that will make them happy and will give him some quality time with the kids. “We play sports, watch movies, and cook. I even take them to the studio to get them involved with the work I do,” he says. If you want healthier, confident and well-behaved children, then they need fathers who are present in their upbringing. “The father figure is very important.A father should talk to the kids,and be more involved: emotionally,which gives them a sense of security,” he says. Spending time with your kid presents you with a great opportunity to grow and learn; so seize this opportunity. “Fathers need to pause every now and then, and see what you’ve been missing in your kids’ lives, because time goes by so fast,” he says.
Haitham Rafie: Head of Retail Facilities and Cards Issuance at Crédit Agricole Egypt
According to Haitham, spending time with the kids is about planning, “my wife and I put a schedule for the kids based on our busy calendars.Because we are both working parents, and this helps guarantee that we spend as much time with the kids as possible.” A father’s time is precious to both him and his child. “A father gives the kids a sense of security and safety. When my kids fear something, or get scared, they resort to me.Also, my kids are still young so they are hyperactive and filled with energy.My role is to find fun, and innovative ways to get this energy out,” he says. Daddies today are trying to debunk the idea of “the man of the house”, and the fact that he’s a walking ATM. “The father’s role is as equal to the mother’s role at home –he goes grocery shopping, takes the kids to school, changes diapers, and even babysits when the mom needs some quality time for herself,” he says. “Workaholic fathers, you need to find time to spend with your kids –so the kids could find time to spend with you when you get older. Life is a cycle; you need to give to get,” he says.