Father Figure(d)

Here is an article that was published this month in an Indian parenting magazine called CHILD. The editorial team asked me to write a piece for Father’s Day and my perspective of being a day in this day and age. Hope you guys like it.

IT’S 2:00 AM, the room is nice, cool and quiet; I am in dream mode, nothing could possibly go… SPLAT! Out of nowhere a tiny hand lands on my face like Thor’s hammer. My sleep disappears and so do my dreams. My almost two-year-old daughter seems to have lost her internal navigation compass as she is sleep-whacking; her hands finding my face; her legs my wife’s face.

New dad, new tasks

Our daughter has an inconsistent sleep pattern. As a new father, I have realised that responsibility doesn’t send you cute giphys on your phone announcing its arrival, but just like the hand, smacking you in the face when you least expect it. If I was drenched in patriarchy, I would have turned the other way, and pushed my daughter towards my wife and let her deal with this cranky, thirsty and insomniac baby.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel fathers today have moved beyond the glorified role of a baby-sitter, i.e playing with the kid till they get bored. The modern day dads are the good guys who are resolutely involved in their child(ren)’s upbringing, ensuring that they not only balance their work and life, but also share equal responsibilities with the wife on the home front. These guys are aware that if it takes two to make, then it must take two to raise.

Two to tango

Being involved in parenting duties ensures that my wife and I discover things together, bringing us closer everyday. We discuss our child with equal participation since both of us have experienced certain treasured moments raising her, right from tackling a stinky diaper to feeding her, especially when she insists on eating rice ONE. GRAIN. AT. A. TIME.

I can’t stress enough on how vital it is for both of us to work. Not just for financial independence, but for personal freedom as well. My wife becomes mentally exhausted caring for our daughter 24/7. This is where I step up and embrace my half of the child-rearing duties, so that both of us have equal opportunities to pursue our own careers and personal development. Children are keen observers. I want my daughter to remember her parents as equal parents. I don’t ever want her to associate one of us with ‘indoor’ and the other with ‘outdoor’.

But, there is still room for improvement. I urge myself to be more proactive as I still wait for instructions from my wife on certain aspects of our parenting life. Things are moving slowly, but surely. With a child you go to another level, stick together closer than before. As they say, it takes two to tango.

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