Double duty dad
JONATHAN FRANCOIS knows that things don’t always work out the way we plan.
Four years ago, he and his then girlfriend had welcomed twin boys Jayvan and Jayden into their lives, and he was looking forward to his family of four.
However, family conflicts disrupted the harmony of his life, resulting in the mother of the twins leaving the children with Jonathan at age two.
“Things worked out that way. I ended up having to take control of the children,” he said. “She never looked back. They were always used to me being around because me and their mum used to live together, so it was a seamless transition.”
Though the family of four was now reduced to three, Jonathan said that because he was always present in their lives it made things easier. Despite being a novice as a parent with very little extended family to help out, he still rose to the occasion.
“I was never a parent before, so it was really hard to understand how to be a parent. But I was really always fully in control of the boys,” Jonathan said. “Mum was going to [the University of the West Indies], so she didn’t have much time. I used to carry them to the nursery and bring them back home and do everything at that point in time.”
Being there for his children was always important to Jonathan because he never really had a father in his life.
“My dad left the island when I was three years old and came back when I was 26,” Jonathan said. “I saw him only once in between. So I promised myself I wouldn’t neglect my children at all – never. I will always be a dad.”
Jonathan admitted that because of his profession as a barber, he got to interact with children and had a fondness for them.
“In barbering I butt up upon a lot of children,” he said. “I always enjoy children.”
He admitted that when he became a single dad, there were things he had to learn.
“I had to learn about nutrition and I’m still learning,” Jonathan said. “I’m trying to contact PAREDOS to do a little parenting seminar or training. I got through the hard stages, threes and fours, but there are some more to go, so I want to be prepared especially for the psychological parts of it.”
Jonathan admits that his extended family is only his niece, who visits on weekends, helping him on Saturdays and taking the boys to church.
“I enjoy taking care of my boys,” Jonathan said. “It’s hard sometimes, especially when you ain’t got no money. But I do everything – washing, cooking, every single thing.”
In terms of cooking, Jonathan admits it’s easy because the boys have their favourite dishes.
“They love creamed potatoes and pasta,” he said, laughing. “You could do that for the whole week and they’d be happy. On Fridays they like chicken and chips, and on Saturdays they get pasta and they’re good.”
Though the boys are twins, they have different personalities, to which he has grown accustomed.
“One is easier than the other, so when it comes to dressing and stuff, I deal with the easy one first, and then I deal with the other,” he said. “Jayvan is the real challenge.”
But they’re not too much of a challenge for Jonathan, who is happily filling the role of mother and father.
“Once you play your role as dad, the love you have for your children should be enough to do everything you need to do,” Jonathan said. “I have to balance a self-employed career with being a single dad.
“Parenting has taught me to be responsible and vigilant and observant because I have to be a dad and a mum.”