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Mom has always been the default parent. It’s time for fathers to step up, though. Fathers talking to kids would be a welcome social change!
“He drops them to school every day,” says Geeta proudly.
“He plays lego with him when I go out to the parlour,” says Shyla relieved.
“I’ve put her to sleep, so that should give me about 2 hours. Plus I think he can play with her or watch TV with her for an hour, so that gives me a total of 3 hours,” says Diana overjoyed of managing a day out with friends.
All these are received with gasps or applause from whoever hears. What a nice husband who takes care of the kid!
But is this it? Is this only the kind of involvement you want to have in your kid’s life? Are mothers the default parent and fathers the backup only? This has definitely been changing but would need more open-hearted, drastic changes led by men.
Why is it that when a wife gets pregnant, especially the second time, she starts wondering if all her dreams of the corporate world are shattered? “Do I have to think of any craft I know of that I can start working on instead of this?”
Why are parent teacher meetings by default a mother’s job if it’s a weekday? Why do all school projects become a mother’s responsibility? Why are mothers at wits’ end during exam time and equally during vacations?
Where are the fathers? Working away to get home the money? What about the father as the parent?
It would not be wrong to say that it’s high time fathers stood up for their rights at work. There is no harm in leaving office on time and going back to spend time with family. He is not going to get back this time again. It cannot be looked upon as odd that the father went with the kids to watch the latest children’s movie. It’s not wrong for the father to turn Father’s Day into a day where he and his son bake a cake together. It’s definitely is right for him to take interest his daughter’s school project or take the kids to the museum.
As a child the initial years before teenage are very essential as what they learn in those years shape their character. Parents participating during those years in providing the essential information and experience during these years are the true winners.
I know a father who is the one who chooses the book that his child should read and also reads and explains to them as bed time stories. Kids learn a lot through stories and hence a great connection between them ensues in the question and answer sessions during those interactions.
‘My daddy strongest’ – the phrase from a famous ad on TV. I would like to say that kids would love to say that in all aspects. I would consider a man strong when he is able to sit and talk to his son who comes home after being roughed in a school fight and also when he comes back home talking about the sex education class he had in school. I would consider a man strong when he is able to sit with his daughter and talk about good touch and bad touch and also at the same time talk to her when she lost the first place at a dance competition.
I know a father who taught his kids the habit of writing in a diary from the age of 6. This is a lost habit to the current generation but is a wonderful way of introducing kids to write their down thoughts. It later becomes a habit for the child to discuss these thoughts and also would be a start of a friendship with them. Fathers could be a great counsellor in the growing years for kids and help them in handling situations at school and otherwise.
Schools these days have become very challenging in terms of the extensive syllabus and the numerous projects that are part of it. Children sent to tuition or left to struggle on their own are not the best of options. Engaging in the subjects which have been the parent’s forte and helping the kids through it is a great way of connecting with the children, and they learn faster this way.
I know a father who used to sit with his daughter and mark the lines in her social studies text book to help her learn from the important chapters. He would read each of the chapter that was taken and mark it out for her. Later in her college days he proudly saw her writing out essays and stories for her literature classes and she fondly remembers it as the result of technique that he had laid out.
Family is the comfort bed and father and mother are the pillows on which the children can sleep in peace and be allowed to dream.
So fathers this time it’s not about feminism it’s you who have to come out of the closet of being the backup parent and take the reins of being ‘the parent’.
Image source: father and daughter by Shutterstock.
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If you want to get back to work after a break, here’s the ultimate guide to return to work programs in India from tech, finance or health sectors - for women just like you!
Last week, I was having a conversation with a friend related to personal financial planning and she shared how she had had fleeting thoughts about joining work but she was apprehensive to take the plunge. She was unaware of return to work programs available in India.
She had taken a 3-year long career break due to child care and the disconnect from the job arena that she spoke about is something several women in the same situation will relate to.
More often than not, women take a break from their careers to devote time to their kids because we still do not have a strong eco-system in place that can support new mothers, even though things are gradually changing on this front.
A married woman has to wear a sari, sindoor, mangalsutra, bangles, anklets, and so much more. What do these ornaments have to do with my love, respect, and commitment to my husband?
They: Are you married?
They: But You don’t look like it
Me: (in my Mind) Why should I?
Why is being married not enough for a woman, and she needs to look married too? I am tired of such comments in the nearly four years of being married.
I believe that anything that is forced is not right. I must have a choice. I am a living human, not a puppet. And I am not stopping anyone by not following any tradition. You are free to do whatever you like to do. But do not force others. It’s depressing.