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Halimah, Adam and Their Father

Halimah, Adam and Their Father

Issue 1 Sept / Oct 2003

“Looking after children is certainly very tiring. And yet my wife manages to do this and look after me and the house!”

 I have just dropped my wife off at the centre where she will be teaching for the next two hours. As I wave goodbye to Shabnam, I think about how I'll spend the next few hours with my two little children, Halimah and Adam. Halimah is 2 years and 9 months old and Adam is only 3 months old. So here I am with a couple of kids weighing about forty odd pounds in total - shouldn't be too much of a problem. Or so I thought . . .

 While driving back from the centre, Halimah tells me she wants to listen to a nasheed (devotional song). After I finally manage to find and play the particular nasheed she wants to hear (and no other nasheed will do) Adam decides to join in with a tune of his own -"Feed me!" In an effort to calm him down, I call his name and head back as soon as possible.

 We finally arrive home and before I can do anything else, I put a bottle on for him. While that's heating up I take their coats and shoes off and begin preparing some food for Halimah.

 Adam has just finished his feed and needs to be winded before he goes to sleep. Halimah has finally finished eating and has left the dining room in a mess! Now it's time to take Halimah to one of her local playgroups. Getting Halimah to put her shoes and coat back on is proving difficult. She decides she wants to wear a different dress first. I mustn't forget to change her nappy. We get in the car and as I strap them in, Halimah decides she wants her special toy from the house. This means I have to take them both back into the house and spend 5 minutes trying to find Halimah's toy. Finally  we leave for the playgroup. We just about drive up into the centre when Adam decides it's time to wake up and keep Daddy busy. So I get his bottle ready once again.

 Whilst Halimah is busy tackling the obstacle course, I start feeding Adam. However, he decides he doesn't want to drink that much and would rather watch what his sister is doing. A few minutes later it's time to change his nappy.

 Twelve o'clock finally arrives and it's time to pick up Mummy. Whilst driving back we discuss what we have done in the last few hours. Having finally arrived home I am absolutely exhausted. I have only looked after my children for three hours of one day and yet I'm so tired and drained! But what about my wife who looks after them almost every day? I can't begin to imagine how tired she must be feeling. So although I feel like moaning and complaining to her about how difficult it's been looking after the children, I don't really have a leg to stand on as I am merely just a stand-in whilst she sacrifices most of her time and energy on Halimah and Adam day in, day out.

 I remember during the summer last year when I looked after Halimah for a few days while Shabnam worked on a major project. Looking after her was so exhausting. I remember feeling perplexed, frustrated and undervalued. And yet my wife has enacted this tricky and important role almost every single day since our children were born. Looking after children is certainly very tiring. And yet my wife manages to do this AND look after me and the house!

 Bringing up children is a demanding job and one that some men don't seem to appreciate. It's so important that we fathers play an active role in bringing up our children because not only will this bring us closer to them, but it will also help us appreciate our wives even more. Without a doubt, every minute I spend with my children makes me appreciate not only my wife but them as well.



image: Peter Sanders

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