Sometimes, I pause to think about the good things in today's world. That's hard to do, but I try to find the time. Isn't watching a father and child together one of most heart warming things? Like a giant hug. So, today on Father's Day 2020 I am pausing to marvel at how the role of fathers has changed. And I love it.
Today, Rich my husband, is not the "secondary" caregiver. We are both equal parents. We make decisions together, we raise our child together and we firmly believe in equal parenting on all fronts. Be it diapers, feeding, reading, bedtime, showertime, playtime, dropping and picking up - logistical or emotional, we do it together. And every day I see more of this. And it's great right?
As we challenge stereotypes of the father being the provider and the mother being the nurturer, more and more parents are adopting roles of both provider and nurturer or finding a balance to suit their individual family needs.
We spoke to a few dads to get their personal perspectives on how traditional roles and stereotypes are being challenged.
Veeral Desai, father of two with another little one on its way had this to say.
"Gender roles have evolved so significantly over the past 40 years. When I was growing up, many fathers were not as involved in traditional child rearing activities (cooking, diaper changing, school drop offs/pickups). For me, I have found some of the greatest fulfillment from being involved in every aspect of their lives."
Sagar, dad of two firmly believes that the "best way to take care of your child is to take care of their mother. Every. Single. Time." That's going to get him some brownie points.
He says, "Stereotypes are definitely there. However, the nice thing is that stereotypes are not static. They are evolving as people challenge the status quo and bring their own meaning to something like fatherhood. While there’s a long long way to go, I do think many young fathers embrace the role with more active participation as well as a more equitable distribution of responsibility than just a decade ago. And this continues to progress further the more we talk about it and accept it and truly make it the new status quo. "
Siddharth Balachandran who spent a large part of his child's early years as a stay at home dad says, "Society not only does have a stereotypical notion of a ‘father’s role’, it also conditions us a lot early on so that we try and emulate these roles. Like the father is the head of the family. The father goes out to the office or to work. The father provides. Yes, it’s true in some households. But as we slowly march ahead, we’ll also see that the tide is changing. But there’s still considerable progress to be made. And it’s going to sound pretty basic, but when fathers look after their kids, maybe don’t term it as babysitting. And despite the fact that I’ve enjoyed a lot of applause that I’ve received for being a stay-at-home dad, maybe it’s time to stop putting fathers who do that on a pedestal. These fathers have made the choice to do that - but at the same time, we need to realise that not every father or household has that luxury. Parenting is ultimately a team activity. "
Govind Mittal, who became a dad at 30 years, found out that his little one had special needs a year into his parenting journey.
He says, " When I was growing up in south asian communities, the role of the father was well defined. The father was not supposed to do certain things. And if a father took extra care of their child, they were always applauded. I noticed that my wife, Swati who was taking care of Kyra was burning out as she wouldn't take breaks. And she would feel bad asking me to take care of Kyra when she really needed help. I feel that societal pressure needs to end and society needs to understand that both the father and mother are equally responsible in taking care of their kids."
It is amazing to see families emerge and define a new code of parenting for themselves. So, let's celebrate the fathers we know and love, let's also celebrate the joy and love a shared parenting experience can bring to both parents. #dadlove
Thanks to all the dads who shared their story with us. Happy Father's Day to all of you!
This blog is the copyright of indigrow. indigrow makes delightful books, games & songs that help little ones all over the world rediscover the magical world of India. Visit us at www.indigrowkids.com