Daddy's Role in Parenting

Daddy's Role in Parenting
Guest blogger R's Mom, editor of www.indianmomsconnect.com, talks about sharing parenting responsibilities equally with your partner.

An increasing trend I have noticed when talking to women around me is their lack of confidence in their husbands in taking care of their kids.

I have met at least four of them in the past few months, who expressed that they had supreme confidence that their husbands will not be able to manage their children alone.

"How do you know?" I ask them in astonishment. "We see it day in and day out!" they answered. "But you haven't really tried it right?"

They came up with reasons like:

"He can’t put them to sleep."

"He won’t give them food properly."

"He can’t make their school tiffin."

"He won’t clean the kid’s bum properly."

"He can’t wake them up."

I am a bit confused. This parenting bit includes the father as well, right?

I admit, between RD and me, R is definitely inclined to come to me first for a lot of things, including getting clingy when she is unwell and asking to read her books or put her to sleep. But if I am not there, RD does it all, and he does it well.

In the past five years as a parent, the most important lesson I have learnt is to have trust in your partner. That’s what most women seem to lack. Trust that your partner has the capability and responsibility to handle your children. I will give you my example.

This happened when R was about two years old. She had started daycare. The three of us used to manage by ourselves. I usually took up only day travel for work-related purposes. Go in the morning and come back by night. Once I went to Delhi and my flight got cancelled. My manager tried really, really hard to put me on another flight, ready to shell out Rs 35K for the ticket, but there was NO seat available. Which meant, R had to stay alone with RD that night without the mother-in-law or my Amma to help. RD was shocked at that. "How will I manage?" he said over the phone in panic. And then he said, "Okay, fine, I can do it. You don’t worry." I of course was hit by panic. I cried and all that (my manager, poor guy, was feeling awfully guilty for no fault of his).

In short, RD managed without an issue. R did ask for me and he explained to her that I was away and he would put her to sleep. That day I realised that I needed to let go. I needed to trust my spouse to take care of R and that I cannot micro manage my child's life at all.

There have been times when I have travelled for a short duration and RD has managed everything (except combing her hair, which the neighbour aunty does!) without issues. Or even if there are issues, he hasn't told me about them.

Here are a few things I have learnt:

1. Let go. Believe in your partner. Earlier, when I had to work late and R's daycare was closed, RD used to take leave. He would take her to a mall and make her play in the playzone and feed her pizza. I refused to fret about it. Fine, his child, let him handle it. After a couple of times, RD realised that it was too expensive for him to keep doing this and automatically went to parks or used to entertain her at home.

2. Don't micro manage. He makes her watch TV or gives her the phone to play with. I understand, it's not a great way to keep the kid entertained, but remember that he is a parent as well. He has equal rights on the child and he is equally responsible for the child’s upbringing.

3. Have faith. Did you give her milk? Has she done potty? Did you give her a bath? He will. Even if it is at his pace and his time. He knows the few essentials of basic hygiene, so have faith that if it doesn't get done at 10 in the morning, it will get done at 2 in the afternoon!

4. Choice. When a child realises that his/her mother is not around, he/she will automatically adjust. The problem is that we try to give tasks to the father even when we are around and when the kid comes running to us we tell the father, "See I told you so." That's not right because the kid knows the mom is around. When you leave them alone, the kid knows with Amma not around, Appa will do stuff for him/her.

At the end of the day, the father is an equal parent right?

(Image courtesy ThinkStock)

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