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A big part of having your spouse as an involved parent is letting him parent in his own special ‘dad style’. A special message before Father’s Day.
It’s Father’s Day around the corner and I can’t stop beaming with pride and happiness at the thought of celebrating another great year of daddy-hood with Mere Do Anmol Ratan (the two most special men in my life) – my dearest Dad and my beloved husband.
My idea of an ideal father has been deeply influenced by the way I (along with my two older siblings) have been raised by an extremely strong, super active and engaged parent. For me, till date my 80 year old Dad epitomizes this statement ‘My Daddy strongest’ to the hilt. He has been the pillar of strength, support and resilience in our family and has certainly gone that extra mile to raise all three of his kids as strong and confident children. And it sure is more than just a coincidence that International Women’s Day is celebrated world-wide on the same day as my Dad’s birthday. It simply resonates with his style of parenting and the fact that ‘strong fathers raise strong women.’
Now that I am a parent to my 11 year old son, I am amazed and inspired with the way my Dad has kept his sanity intact while raising his three kids, though losing his ‘cool’ at times . And this was mainly because his parenting style was formed as a result of his upbringing, his aspirations for his children, his high sense of duty and responsibility towards raising successful kids, his need to protect his children from failures and his fears of not letting his children experience what he did as a child. All this led him to develop a parenting style which was a combined product of ‘Haanikarak Bapu’ (Aamir Khan’s character in Dangal who believes in equal opportunity for girls and is a task master) and a Tiger Mom (who believes practice makes a man/woman perfect) and then somewhere sandwiched between these two styles was a subtle element of deep love and affection for his children, which provided a great sense of security and attachment towards him. And that’s how I my formed my impression of how perfect fathers are supposed to be. Tough on the outside and cool on the inside!
Naturally, that’s what I expected from my husband when we became parents to our bundle of joy over a decade ago. But, that’s clearly not what my husband had signed up for and he and I were both about to discover what style of daddy-hood he was tilting towards. During the first two years after our son’s birth, while I was hyperventilating over every sickness and discomfort that my baby was going through, my husband was the calm and composed one, keeping his sanity and patience intact in pacifying both me and our baby. And here I was wondering how he could not be as concerned and worried about why the baby is crying and why we were unable to figure it out. And just before I could completely lose it, he with his silent yet strong support and level-headedness would tell me ‘It’s okay, we are in this together’.
Thank God for those words and this man I had chosen to marry that we had a smooth sailing through all the turbulence and the roller-coaster ride of being first time parents. And we managed to come out intact in one-piece. This is where I started to realize that there are different shades of parenting and was beginning to unlearn what I thought was perfect parenting.
As our boy started growing older, we too were growing up with him and that has been the fun part of parenting with my partner. Every age and phase of a child’s life brings with it its own share of fun, discovery, mystery and challenges. And that’s when both parents take on different roles at different times, depending on the situation and how it helps to douse the fire. Our son is a tween now and we are both playing the good cap and bad cop, depending on where the ‘moh maya ‘(in context of where the attachment) lies. Our son may see one of us as the softie at times and the other as the ‘bad guy’ and the role reversal happens often so he knows he can’t take us for a ride, however much he may want to.
My husband and I are calibrated in our approach on parenting, we have the same set of key messages to be delivered to our boy, the same reinforcements, the same expectations of our boy be a confident, compassionate and kind person and we are ultimately two sides of the same coin. There has never been a clear divide of ‘who shall do what’ but in our own special way the pleasures and pressures of parenting are jointly handled between the two of us. I am one of those Moms who has always happily let my child be with his Dad without managing and instructing them on their time and tasks and trust me, my boys have always pleasantly surprised me.
Yes, the house has been in shambles and my favorite cushions all scattered around the home, there are wet towels lying on the bed, the swimming trunks are the first thing to see in the bathroom , but all this is nothing when it comes to the happiness on their faces when their happy hours are done . That for me is the single most treat to my eyes and how I wish they continue to indulge in these hours and have my son transition from a ‘Mamma’s boy to a ‘Daddy’s dude’.
These days, there is a lot of attention and focus on getting Dads to be involved in’ equal parenting’. But I don’t subscribe to making Dads to adhere to this. Like being a mother is an intrinsic art, being a Dad is equally intuitive. Just give the Dads a fair chance to show their mettle. Yes, we mothers have taken on the front ending role of parenting and being visible all the time when it comes to our child and their eco- system, but we must remember that are able to do this only due to the solid back-end support we have from the Dads who are more than happy to have their happy hours with their children.
I go on my annual girl’s trip without any guilt, because I know my husband and my son will be happy to see me take off and they will have a blast during that time. My husband may not come along for every school PTM or may not get hyper and lose his sleep every time our boy is down with flu, but he does the healing bit with his sincere actions and his words of wisdom. He is engaged and involved in every aspect of our son’s life and in his own cool way, he is teaching our son what grit, perseverance and passion is all about by doing it himself. And he is also teaching me another side of how real fathers are. Cool on the outside and Tough on the inside.
There is no such thing as perfect parenting, it’s the way we as parents enjoy this ride together with our children that makes it perfect for us to be happy and raise happy kids. Variety is the spice of life – There are different shades of ‘Fatherhood’ and this Father’s Day lets raise a toast to all the lovely Dads who are making parenting a cool thing.
Image via Pixabay