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How to be a man? This is a question many boys growing up in a society that has skewed gender roles ask themselves, aiming to be macho men. Our author has a different take.
Google search of ‘how to be a man’ throws up 1,53,00,00,000 results (wonder who searches such stuff)? Now, I will also add my own version to this quest of discovering manhood.
A woman gives birth, a man does not. A woman nurses the child, which a man cannot. Even there, if she can’t breastfeed, a man can easily wield a bottle.
But, after nursing, which is gender specific, how and what makes it necessary for a woman to continue the primary caregiver role? How and what led a man to be what he is today – an arm-chair expert, bossing around the family no matter what his own capability is, carrying the belief that since he is the primary bread-winner, he is a know-all though he is actually a pain in all the wrong places?
I have many issues with this being the way how to be a man, which I was myself, rather still I am.
After the birth of my twin daughters, I always wanted to be with them, contributing to their day-to-day upbringing. Finally, after they turned 2.5 years; I put down my papers, my wife started working full-time with her own enterprise that she considers the first child, and I started my journey of a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD).
Now, I understand what this experience is teaching me. I recognize what a woman goes through being at home, taking care of the children and the house-hold – a thankless task, and if the woman is a working professional herself, consider that too.
The man, just for the sake of putting in 8-9 hours of formal work (and only he would know, how much he actually worked in the age of WhatsApp, Facebook, tea break, gossip break, meetings etc.), takes for granted what the woman does in the house the whole day for his family, and the bugger gets to order around everybody when he is back. Ok, ok, not all men would be such a**-holes, but many of them are, and all of us know it.
To be a man – I would like to propose a mandatory period for the man to be involved in the upbringing of his child/children till they turn 18. Every year, a man should get to spend a minimum of 2 months with his progeny so that he is aware of what the woman gives to the society, and how he can contribute to the betterment of tomorrow’s citizens as an active parent.
Man becomes more civilized, becomes aware of the gender divide, understands what goes into what he takes for granted, and moves his back-side and his mind, for once, for his own children.
As this makes a man more open-minded, his violent instincts will get curbed – less road rage, less aggressiveness, less spitting around – less of all this unwanted behaviour. Here I’m assuming that the man would, at the least, not want to set a wrong example for his own children, even though he keeps doing this all the time when he is away from his kids, in public, or for that matter, even in private.
The man gradually becomes more accommodative, more progressive, more tolerant, more persuasive – more of all the ‘wanted’ qualities, once he starts staying at home for an extended period with his children.
On the economic front, for the service class to get 2 months of paid leave means that organizations will have to create new jobs. For the current 6 jobs, one more job will be created, as a rule of thumb, meaning 16% more employment. For the self-employed, they will also need to come up with their own replacements in this time-frame. See, job markets suddenly start looking better.
Of course, man will not be ready for this change over-night, as he has looked down for centuries on what woman contributes to the society. However, if we have to build an inclusive society for tomorrow’s citizens where there is mutual respect, peace and love, this change has to happen.
The man has to learn how to be a man. The sooner, the better. Raise a Child.
A version of this was published here earlier.
Image source: a still from the movie Ant Man
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Stay-at-home father to twin daughters and an amateur blogger, ex - rat-racer. I
I loved reading it. Raising a child should be a matter of choice not gender. I support you whole heartedly. You are doing a terrific job in giving your daughters a gift of a life time.
There are a number of ways to be man. Most important one is being secure of their masculinity, and knowing that doing or not doing a particular job won’t take it away.
Thank you for your encouraging words Khimpi.
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