Colin Wee is a strikingly energetic person. This energy comes through his words as he writes as The Original SuperParent. He is positive and real; honest and frank; strong minded and has a great sense of humour. Colin’s vitality extends to his role as a 5th degree black belt Taekwondo instructor, giving him opportunity to coach and teach children of various ages.
Colin is passionate about supporting and enabling parents to care for their children. Colin lives in Perth, Western Australia with his lovely wife and two children. He loves wine, fishing, family holidays and cooking for friends and family.
Find out more about Colin at:
Kelly, thank you for that very generous introduction and including me as the first househusband to participate in your interview series.
What is your best FunDad tip?
A sound bit of advice, as we all know, is to start planning with the family in mind.
The adults (that’s fathers included) can’t have fun if the kids are feral. Stick with easy outdoor and simple at-home activities; there are many examples of such through blogs beafunmum.com is connected to. When you’re ready to stretch yourself, I’ve found the following tip to be the best FunDad approach to entertaining children:
Remember your own childhood and what you loved to do when you were a kid. Was it matchbox cars? Magic tricks? Art and craft kits? Science experiments? My kids and I have bonded over the silliest pranks taken straight from my youth. So think back and guide/play/nurture your children like a big brother. Share with them your own stories and cherished memories.
Did you work full-time before becoming the House-Husband?
I was employed as a Chief Information Officer for an ASX-listed insurance broker to expand operations into South East Asia. At a later stage, I was responsible for managing 13 staff and proprietary technology development back in their headquarters in Perth.
My playgroup mums however, love it – and punch the air – when I tell them of how much more difficult it was to look after a single toddler.
Why did you and your wife decide to role reverse?
I was made redundant from my job and then we discovered we were expecting my son William. It was with extreme trepidation I become his primary caregiver. It was way easier with Bethany [Colin’s second child]; I had returned to full time work when she born, but I was looking for any reason to quit so I could take care of my little girl.
How was the adjustment to domestic bliss?
Wife: How was your day, dear? What did you feed, William?
Me: Yeah, it’s okay. I defrosted a cube of pumpkin, spinach, and sweet potato. No, wait … was that yesterday? Oh man, I forgot what I fed him.
It was difficult for about a year.
I thought I could continue building up my career whilst taking care of William; after all, he had two sleeps in one day – think of all the possibilities! How wrong I was. It took me a good long time to figure out William had to be at the top of my very short priority list. I would then plan the day with one major event (like going to the park) and one minor event (like hanging out the clothes).
Domestic bliss was made a little more challenging as I had embarked on a Masters course just as William was born. After tiring menial brain-dead days, you have to contemplate cracking open the books at 9pm. That SUX.
How do others react when you say, “I’m a House-Husband.”?
I got the most ribbing from friends who were business or industry associates. But the truth is, most have said they’d pay big bucks to trade places with me. It was a little more difficult dealing with my parents, but they seem impressed with my children and have since praised me for doing a good job as a parent. Phew. Major argument avoided on that one!
I think a great obstacle for all house husbands is their notion of self worth. Basically, what is the yardstick you have chosen to measure yourself with?
For many years I was a business executive, and naturally pegged my existence to notions of success from the corporate world. I think the role reversal has made me see the world more clearly, with greater humility and as Kelly said, has made me more ‘real’.
How do you feel attending Playgroup and the like, when predominantly women are present?
The first playgroup I attended was a tea and scones group with mostly chardonnay-sipping mothers. Don’t get me wrong, they were nice and some of them are my friends, but I’m not sure if I was more aware of being Asian or my being the lone father in that group.
The second playgroup was love at first sight for me. It was a Montessori playgroup, and I felt all of us were on a mission together. I blended in, felt right at home, and started calling myself an associate woman. To this day, I feel blessed with having an uncommon platonic bond with the small group of mums I keep in touch with.
Have your children embarrassed you?
What makes you proud?
Being an involved father has been the most rewarding and fulfilling role I’ve ever had in my life. When Bethany was born, I remember sitting in that office wondering what I was doing there – my daughter needed me! I remain most proud of this little family of ours and how tight we’ve become.
Do you get lonely?
No time to get lonely. Next.
Do you go and ‘have coffee’?
The truth is, I’ve got more girl friends from my time in the playgroup than guy friends; given that I’ve only been in Australian for 10+ years. So yes, I do hang out with some playgroup mums for coffee about once or twice a month.
Do you get the housework done?
For many years my wife and I did all the housework because we couldn’t find a domestic cleaner. We now employ a professional cleaning service once a week, but we still maintain day-to-day cleanliness. There’s also laundry and other various chores. To be fair, my wife organises the house but yes, I provide backup. I’ve not cooked very much recently – we have a home catering service, but I do cook frequently for large gatherings like Christmas or New Year.
What qualities can Dads bring to the role of primary parenting?
It takes a Dad who’s comfortable in his own skin to be a primary parent.
Kids benefit from seeing dads in an equal loving relationship with their partners. There have been many times when we fly as a family, and I see mums on board trying to deal with a young child and then feed their babies, all whilst their husbands are kicking back reading the paper or watching videos. That isn’t right.
Kids also benefit seeing their dads stretch themselves as individuals. As an example, I often tell the kids how I was never allowed in the kitchen when I was growing up, and only learned how to cook in the few months before William was born – just by watching Huey’s Cooking Adventures! I want to be a model of how they should be – to show them their own dad is striving to become better and continuing to grow with life’s challenges.
And the food’s not bad too, hey? Eat up your veggies, kids.
What advice would you give women contemplating role reversal?
Women have a lot to offer companies and organisations. Many women however, can’t see past their insecurities of being off work for some time. Maturity sells itself! Don’t belittle motherhood or parenthood, you’ve got loads more to offer than someone wet-behind-the-ears.
Look out for your strengths, apply yourself and sell yourself objectively. Check out ‘Part-time Employment for Parents – Ace that Interview!’
What advice would you give other men contemplating role reversal?
Be brave, brother. Keep your wits about you; you’ll need them. And ignore the multi-tasking jibes.
Read more Be A Fun interviews here.