Forever Bind Them

<blockquote>"Engagement ring, wedding ring, suffering." – The punchline of a joke too often used by priests, ministers, aspiring emcees at weddings.</blockquote>
Our lives as parents seem like a long chain of chores, and any free time between planned chores is quickly consumed by the immediate needs of the present. This weekend has been especially hectic with Anne succumbing to a minor flu and Caleb learning that being carried is preferable to lying in his cot.
I toil endlessly, strengthened every now and then by moments where our children are angels and the universe is in harmony, in order to deal with the illogical and unreasonable demands of same-said children. But what buoys my spirits the most is seeing Faith by my side. We exchange silent "I love you"s like members of a boy band lip-syncing to a pre-recorded track.
The premise is simple – there is solidarity in mutual suffering.
But it also goes against the very human trait to be averse to suffering.
We currently face the decision of whether to hire a domestic helper.I was at a social event the other day, sitting with Caleb in my arms, hoping no one would notice me although I sat right smack middle of the entrance. The crowd was made up of lawyers, business-people and corporate types, and the conversations were mostly shop talk. The men would discuss their latest exploits in the corporate world while their wives – equally significant in corporate ability if not more so – kept an eye on their children.
<blockquote>"When you get a helper you get used the lifestyle. There is no turning back," someone said.</blockquote>
It is true that almost all Singaporean middle class and up have a domestic helper to help with the house and kids. It is not uncommon to see women, children and helper. The job of the majority of these men is that of chauffeuring the family about, concentrating on their job and their golf swing.
It is extremely tempting to have more spare time for the better things in life. Maybe more time with Faith. I wouldn't have to bother with the baby's laundry or ironing the family's clothes. But I wonder about the value of these menial tasks, and if I'll lose a part of myself by not doing them. Or if the warmth of sitting down beside Faith after putting the kids to bed will subside if I outsourced it.
There are some things found only on the other side of the inconvenience of shared labour. I don't know exactly what they are, or if they'll be lost when the act of labour is removed, but I'm deathly afraid to lose them.

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