Rahman Abdullah, father of three and carer of multiple family members
Giving children the emotional warmth and support they need
Rahman, how do you feel about taking on so much responsibility for the care and support of your loved ones?
I like to do it because I know that just as I am there for my closest people, they are there for me. Luckily, my family is quite independent. As things are now, it feels good and I enjoy supporting my kids and my wife as much as I can.
But things can get really difficult when my wife and I are both at work and there’s a situation where we’re expected to drop everything immediately. In such moments, we try to support each other, but of course, that doesn’t always work out.
Also, when my mother was seriously ill, we went through a rough patch. I wanted to take care of her, but I was also needed here. It was not easy to be “present” everywhere at once. A lot came together at that time, but I am an optimistic and solution-oriented person. Of course, we had discussions and conflicts but ultimately, we got through as a family.
Are you still able to fulfill your own needs, even though you put so much time into caring for others?
The good thing is - although I’m not always that sure whether it’s ideal for myself - that I can put my own needs on the back burner.
This may sound a bit strange, but the time spent driving to work or - in the past - my mother’s house, can sometimes be enough for me to unwind. I turn up the music and enjoy having time for myself. Or on weekends, when my wife goes to bed earlier, I just stay awake for a bit longer.