As a mother, while I portray my everyday difficulties in looking after home and children as struggles, I am glad I am not a father for I will HAVE to shoulder a lot more than what I do as a mother.
You reach home back from office to find your kids already sound asleep. At first, you feel relieved that you can get some lone time in peace. But, when you have a second look at their sleeping faces, you realize that you have missed a day of their school stories; you have missed some sweet little conversations and you have missed a few precious hugs and kisses. Yes, we all run, run and run with our everyday schedules – boss, assignments deadlines, presentations. At the end of the day, the realization that all of these took away your priorities an edge over spending time with your kids, can leave you with a feeling of bad conscience. And its not too uncommon for fathers!
With a laptop crash, I couldn’t pull up the fatherhood series. Well, my laptop revived back just in time on Father’s Day. I shall continue to write on the series until the end of the month. It is about Daddy time today! It’s one of the joyous phases in fatherhood when the child begins to share his love and time with the father, after having been solely dependent on the mother in the initial days. The mother to child bond is instinctive whereas the father to child bond is mostly acquired. And the very fact that the little one begins to look for the father’s presence, is a sign of an exuberant connection.
By highlighting this emotion of fathers today, I would like to raise awareness to stop tagging men to financial responsibility, to support stay-at-home-dads, to change our perception about gender-biased parenting and to understand the emotional confinements of a father. If there is a father at your home – your father, husband or brother – speak to them with concern about the career difficulties and anxieties they are facing. Listen to them, that’s all they need!
Ask a dad who looks into the screen to see his baby the first time over a skype call. Ask a dad who returns home after an exhaustive day of work and driving to see the baby squeal in excitement to see him. Ask a dad whose hands his daughter refuses to part on the first day of the school. They all will tell you that they simply felt that something which they don’t know how to explain. As a matter of fact, the essence of fatherhood lies in many such small things.
As it’s the mother who is always given attention soon after the baby, the silent struggles that a dad undergoes often go unnoticed. And the fact that fathers either do not know to express their emotional struggles or perhaps do not want to, can leave them irritable or in an emotional confinement. Yes, not known to many, Paternal PostPartum Depression (PPPD) does exist!
Of course, I couldn’t disclose my secret fears to her because she’s pregnant. Neither could I to anyone else for I will be looked down upon for the father I was going to be or even for the man I was. Even if I share with someone, I will be counter-attacked, “You are going to be a dad, become responsible.” Thus, while my wife, the family and the extended families celebrated the good news, at a secret corner of my heart, I was afraid if everything is going to be alright.
Starting from the 1st of June until the 18th of June, I am plunging into a bold attempt in bringing to light, the emotions behind being a father. I say bold because I shall leave behind the superior tag of a ‘mother’ to explore the deepest secrets of fatherhood.
As a dad, if you’ve ever felt secondary to your wife in parenting or even jealous of her prestigious status and felt like banging your head to know the why, the what and the how of this unfair superiority , here are a few inputs from my brain. This is only a compilation from my observation of parents around. There might be much more that men lack as fathers or, on the brighter side, I could be wrong in one or more of my points. However, before you read on, do remember that you are too one among those humans who glorify your mothers a little more than your fathers.
I quit my job a few months before my son was born. My seven years’ of cancer research career came to an abrupt halt. The so-called ‘climbing the ladder of success’ had no ladder to climb. Nor were there earnings, promotions, aspirations, professional accomplishments or colleagues to bond with. And yes, my résumé has a…