Only If You Let Me Manage Our Kids On My Own…!

In the end, parenting is teamwork where both the team members are in it to nurture confident, capable, and compassionate individuals.

I planned my first trip to Goa with a college friend a couple of months ago. Just the two of us. Minus our husbands and children. That was the plan and to me, it sounded like a trip to the moon. In my parenting journey of 8 years, I never considered the opportunity to travel without my children for leisure’s sake, so when we did make such a plan, I was jubilant and sleepless for many nights.

Tickets were booked, and I started preparing for my much-awaited vacation. During one of my conversations with my mother, in the days that followed, I informed her about my travel. There was absolute silence post my disclosure. She seemed crestfallen for some strange reason known only to her and the almighty.

‘Will he be able to manage the kids?’

But what about the kids? Will he be able to manage?’ was her question.

 ‘He is their father. He will.’  I replied curtly.

‘I did not mean it like that. It’s just you haven’t gone out without them ever. Vaise to vo kar he leta hai.’ Was her reply.

I thought it was best not to continue the discussion any further. I am not sure if I was amused or disappointed with her statement Vaise to vo kar he leta hai. Not because of any other reason but that he is a mariner, and he sails for months in a row. Strangely no one has ever said this about me that Vo kar he leti hai. I wish to clarify that I am not trying to belittle anyone, my husband, or my mother. I hold both in high regard. They are both fabulous individuals. But to be told, how my husband CAN manage his children in my absence, is a little unsettling because I do it all the time, all the year round! And no one is worried about how I will parent my children without a partner.

Mother’s guilt settling in

Moving on, I continued to remain excited about my trip. But as the date drew closer, I started getting cold feet. The quintessential mother’s guilt had set in which made me question myself How will he manage them?

The cook was asked to extend her duty hours during the four days I wasn’t around. Another request was rolled out to my husband’s cousin to be around just in case he needs help. The grocery was replenished as if all online and Kirana stores would be going on an indefinite strike. Even the clothes were stacked in sequence in the kid’s wardrobes.

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‘How will I manage if you don’t let me?’

One fine day, I was sorting the children’s activity books and cribbing simultaneously. I wanted to visit the salon before my trip, but I kept on finding work for myself. My husband who had been watching this drama unfold all along finally addressed the elephant in the room.

This is how the conversation went:

‘Why don’t you go to the salon?’

‘Because all the unused activity books and art sheets are mixed up with the used ones. If I do not arrange all this, you guys will mess up every corner of the house when I return.’

‘I will do it. You go.’

‘Let me finish it. Do you think all this is easy? How will you manage?’

Silence.

‘Exactly. How will I manage when you will not let me manage anything? You have been planning for so many days. Is there anything left? When I am away for months do I go around fixing a schedule for kids or stock the fridge to its full capacity? How can I manage if you won’t let me?’

Ouch. That hit hard. And at the correct spot.

All this while I had been trying to make things easy for him. But easy was not his requirement in the first place. I was reducing his role as a parent to that of a babysitter which was not the right thing to do. He was their father. A parent just like me. Nothing less.

Two days later, I headed to Goa with my friend

At first, I felt divided about how I felt. I was happy. Sure. Because I was travelling alone after so many years. And I was with my friend. So much to catch up and talk about. No cranky kids running wild in the airport. No one to roll your eyes at. No one to clean up after a restroom visit. I was free. But that was just one-half of me. The other half of me was back at home wondering if my children were missing me, wanting that they miss me. Secretly I was also harbouring the desire that when I go back, my family should run into my arms and acknowledge that Mommy does it best.

I called my husband several times on the first day. At night he made it very clear that this could not go on. I was on a break, and I should let it be one. And that I would get to do a Video Call with the children only once before sleeping time. If there is anything that needed my attention, he most certainly shall inform me.

I learnt to let go, finally!

I made peace with this and decided to finally let my hair loose. Needless to say, it was the best decision. I spent the next few days and nights exploring and enjoying Goa with my friend, guilt-free.

While a little part of me was upset to see how well they managed without me, a bigger part of me felt liberated. Because I finally learnt to let go of my self-assumed responsibilities and guilt. I also understood that sometimes the men in our lives are not able to figure out their journey as a father because we do not let them.

In parenting, there cannot be primary and secondary caregivers. There should not be. No one has a bigger role or a lesser role to play. There are days when you may have to cover up for the other person. There may be days when one of you may feel the heat more than the other one. We can’t keep scores. But in the end, parenting is teamwork where both the team members are in it to nurture confident, capable, and compassionate individuals.

We have often read and referred to a woman’s motherhood journey as incredible. A man’s fatherhood journey should not be any different. While we are hardwired to think that we do things to make it enjoyable and easy for him, what we do not realise is we are not letting him traverse this journey on his own. Let him make the mistakes. Let him juggle and hustle. It is his journey after all. Let it be equally incredible.

This Father’s Day let us give this a thought.

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About the Author

Varunika Rajput

Varunika lives in the city of Mumbai with her two gregarious girls and her husband and is happily taking care of her nest. In a parallel universe, Varunika is the author of the book WOMEN & read more...

4 Posts | 4,157 Views

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