Although the coronavirus outbreak has turned life upside down, it appears to have strengthened the relationship between fathers and their children.
In Turkey, four fathers told Anadolu Agency about their experience during the pandemic for Father's Day.
“I have spent time with my family during the pandemic,” said Hikmet Yalcinkaya, a 32-year-old editor who has been working remotely for about a year and a half.
“Since I work from home, the time I can spend with my children has increased a lot and we try to benefit from this situation as positively as possible.”
Yalcinkaya believes the time has positively affected his family relationship in general. “I can easily say that the sharing of housework has increased and we can spend more time with each other.”
The father of two said he noticed the time he spent on social media. “Then, I tried to control this time. This allowed me to spend more time with my children.”
“When I compare the first day we started working from home with today, I think that the communication between us has improved a lot and this strengthens our child-father relationship.”
‘We have become active playmates’
Sales and marketing specialist Mustafa Kaya has been working at home for 15 months because of the virus.
The 37-year-old father who has two children said his family has not left home if it was not necessary. “We spent time at home playing games such as hide and seek and play dough shapes.”
He noted that he spent one to two hours playing with his children before the pandemic but the time has now doubled.
The pandemic benefited housewives the most because it was tiring for working fathers both physically and psychologically, he said.
“Children with endless energy spent a lot of time with the father, the communication between us has become very good, but I cannot say that it is easy for the father.”
“During the pandemic, we have become active playmates,” he added.
He said he had the opportunity to see how tired mothers become and could empathize more accurately.
“Thus, seeing how tolerant they treat children, I also forced myself to be more tolerant toward them.”
He noted that it also allowed him to understand how being an active playmate rather than a spectator in the parks can contribute to children’s development.
Kaya said the bonds between him and his children became stronger. “The feeling of witnessing what they learn, do something new every day was magnificent such as the first crawl and the first steps,” he said. “It is very enjoyable to learn to experience such firsts by experiencing them personally, not by your spouse's phone call as in the office period.”
‘If my family smiles, I become the happiest father on earth’
Mustafa Cengiz said he was mainly caring for his family because he worked mostly at home.
Cengiz, 38, said he generally spent time sharing housework with his wife, including gardening.
“I tried to give every support to my wife when I was at home. We made the task distribution, and I did my duties to ease what falls upon my wife’s shoulders,” said Cengiz.
He also emphasized the importance of spending time with his two children during that time.
“The pandemic has been a really good opportunity for me to allocate more of my time for my family, to get to know them much better and to turn this problematic process into something that all of us benefited from,” he said. “I feel that the bond between me and my children has strengthened so much in the last year. Spending quality time, playing games and even just talking with them for hours were the things that I really enjoyed.”
His advice to fathers: “First of all, you have to support your wife, meet your daily tasks, and ease the weight on her. Doing so helps you spare more time for your children,” said Cengiz. “If my family smiles, I become the happiest father on earth.”
‘Sharing housework with your wife helps you create time for your child’
Omur Gokalp was mainly at home, working and spending time with his family during the outbreak.
“At first, it was really difficult for me to adapt to life mostly at home. Later on, I started to like it more than I expected,” the 35-year-old said, noting that if it was not for the pandemic, his family would not have had the opportunity to notice they are healthy and together, and appreciate it all.
“The pandemic helped us learn to live happily together,” he said. “I wasn’t aware of how my wife gets tired when she tried to deal with everything all by herself. But, now I know that I will always stand by her, and help her in every matter that I can from now on.
“Sharing housework will also help me and my wife to create more time for our child. So, as a father, I’m really happy that I stayed at home and strengthened my relationship with both my wife and my son.”
He also had suggestions for other fathers. “That home is yours, and if you make proper investments into your home-life, you will eventually start to feel like you are becoming a better person.”
“Before the epidemic, all that mattered for me was how much money I earned to meet our needs, but this process made me realize that all that really matters is my family, and family alone,” added Gokalp.
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