You may have noticed our sister site Sassy Hong Kong recently added their new Man of the Month feature, highlighting amazing man-preneurs (and all-around studs) around town… well, we thought we’d do the same here at Sassy Mama and share the spotlight with some incredible dads! Over the years, we’ve had the chance to interview some pretty inspiring That Mamas and Mamapreneurs, and it’s about time we shared the love with the papas in our lives, right? While our That Papas all have successful careers, we’re more interested in finding out what it’s like to be a first-time dad in Hong Kong! First up is Robert Smith, proud papa to adorable 3-month-old Isabella…
Where are you from and how did you find yourself in Hong Kong?
I’m an Australian living in Hong Kong for the past 8 years. I came over for a short work assignment and stayed for my wife-to-be Jasmine who I met over here after just a few months. She stole my heart and forced me to stay!
When did you find out your wife was pregnant?
Jasmine sat down on the couch and told me with a big grin that we ‘might be pregnant’. Turns out she had suspected all day and had snuck around buying a home test kit and drinking lots of water. I was oblivious to all the sneaking and the drinking.
What was your reaction to finding out you were about to become a papa?
I was over the moon when I found out! I especially remember Jasmine’s super big smile as she was telling me. It was what we were hoping for that year. Then I had moments of realisation about what she had been up to that day – very clever! There was a lot of excitement and more silly grins and smiles from me.
How hands-on were you during the birth process?
I was there every step of the way… but I drew that line at the literal ‘hands on’ – I left that to the obstetrician. We had the help of a most amazing midwife Sofie Jacobs, which took a load off both Jas and me. Isabella had a natural birth and I was privileged to experience it all the way. I’m still in awe of Jasmine when I think of it.
How did you choose your daughter’s name?
Jasmine and her brother both wanted the same name for a girl and we locked it in before he could!
How was your experience changing your first diaper?
Well I had a lot of help! It seems to have gotten a lot easier since that fateful night – and I have a few more tricks up my muslin sleeves. A mobile above the changing table works wonders for distraction.
What’s your biggest fear when your daughter grows up?
That she has my sense of style. That and Lan Kwai Fong.
How old does she have to be before she starts dating?
As soon as she has mastered her black belt in Kung Fu.
What’s your favourite part of your parenting routine?
Well I do the bedtime routine, so that involves singing her a little song which I make up the words to (until I relearn some of the classics) and getting her to settle. She sometimes gives me a goodnight smile which is golden.
Who plays good cop and bad cop between you and Jasmine?
It’s too early to say – but we both think the other one will be the good cop!
Do you plan to have more kids?
Yes indeed – the decision’s still out on how many.
How do you keep the romance alive after having a kid?
It’s all in the small details… for instance Jasmine insists on seeing me to the door when I leave for work, and I always blow her a kiss as I leave.
What’s the hardest part of being a dad in Hong Kong?
At this age it’s actually quite easy! I think later on I’ll miss the outdoors and beaches that people take for granted back home.
What’s the best part of being a dad in Hong Kong?
I could be a dad anywhere in the world and my daughter’s smiles would always be the best part of my day.
Who does your daughter look like, you or your wife?
Without a doubt… me. People comment on that fact all the time. Isabella is so like me she even has my toes.
What’s your favourite characteristic of your little girl?
Well, it’s clearly her smile – and the new sounds she makes each day are so very cute.
What do you know now that you wish you knew before becoming a dad? Biggest lesson learned?
Always set up the pram before you actually need it. Do not leave your first time until you are about to head out the door.
What’s the funniest parenting story you can share with us?
Nappy explosions are always good for a laugh – but never at the time. Isabella has had her fair share, especially when its my turn to change her. I had to wake Jasmine once to help me and I was rather ashamed of my shrieking.
How has having kids changed the way you define work?
I now have different goals and dreams for my growing family. Quality of life now factors into my decisions and work-life balance is more important. I have Isabella FOMO and call home for updates.
Do you have any tips for soon-to-be dads in Hong Kong?
I’m not kidding about the pram. Get to know your equipment. The baby carrier might seem easy, but when she’s screaming – you have to have your technique down!