Saturday, May 11, 2013

Daddy Cool....

More Alibag pics. I love the one of Aditya and Anandita in front of a mithai shop. The other two are an extension of my new love affair with shooting into the light...
This appeared in Mumbai Mirror.... on the eve of Mother's Day, it's time to give Fathers a break... what say??

                             Daddy Cool….
It needed a seriously gutsy guy to break this particular bhanda. And has he broken it! Journalist Toby Young has triggered off a world- wide debate on men and babies, with his brutally honest views on parenting and the entire work-life balance jhanjat that plagues career people these days.Young has four kids under the age of ten. His wife expects him to switch gears at 6 p.m every evening and take over baby duties from her. These duties involve bathing the kids and getting them ready for bed. Young admits candidly he hates doing this! It’s tedious and boring, besides, he’d rather spend the same time working late at the office or hanging out with friends. He says it’s the same for women (his wife is a full time home maker) and most mums find childcare equally tiresome and difficult. But can never admit it. Which is why he goes along with his wife’s wishes even though he finds the whole thing ‘horrendous’! In addition to these delightfully blunt opinions he also points out that most men would rather spend  time pushing personal career goals than changing nappies. What’s more, they really wouldn’t suffer from the slightest guilt! In his book, men really don’t worry about not getting enough time with their kids. On the contrary, they resent not having enough time for their careers. “ I don’t think it’s just me,” he states flatly, adding most men he knows don’t enjoy hanging with children. Young adds, “Call me a bad father…” Ummmm. Okay. You’re a bad father,Young!
I am sure countless Daddy Cools reading Young’s piece will agree with him and roar ‘Rah! Rah!’ I frequently observe young dads playing caring-sharing New Age fathers in parks and around swimming pools. They dress for the part, act the part, but their pained expressions give the game away. They really and truly look abysmally bored, as they try and soothe/amuse a bawling brat , or feed an obstinate toddler who spits out every mouthful. Yet, the pressure on this hip, studiedly trendy young dad is such that he dares not step back from daddy duties, even when all he probably want to do is bond with guy friends and swig chilled beer. Give these oppressed chaps a break, girls! See how sheepish they look with infants strapped across their manly chests ( only Hritik Roshan can carry off this look) . Agreed hunks with chunks ( babies) look pretty hot. And kiddos often make great arm candy/ fashion accessories ( better  by far than the mini iPad). Even so, I notice there is a great deal of pressure on aak kal ke daddies to attend kiddie parties, organize play dates, get involved with pre-school activities, supervise homework, play football in the  building garden, befriend parents of other brats, work on the kid’s extra-curricular interests, doodle, play games on the ubiquitous  iPad , watch annoying cartoons with the kid for the umpteenth time, keep an eye on the fancy stroller, manage the myriad moods of temperamental toddlers and fussy nannies on holidays…. Oh God, a thousand other equally irritating responsibilities that didn’t exist a decade ago.

An older generation of dads had it much easier. They produced  kids. And forgot all about them till the sons/daughters were adults. It was the mother’s sole responsibility to raise children. And uss zamaney ke moms didn’t have the guts to demand more participation from their husbands. Not even when kids were sick! I have heard fathers exclaim, “  God knows when these children grew up!” Today’s scene is straight out of a Woody Allen film. Not only are young dads expected to share bachcha responsibilities 50-50, the poor fellows also have to fake loving it. Wives insist on hubbies waking up for night feeds or jumping out of bed when the baby cries , quite forgetting the established fact that most men are stone deaf when it comes to hearing an infant’s ear shattering screams at 3 a.m. They aren’t pretending to be deaf, dear mums – there is a genuine medical problem! Accept it.
Mommies, let’s give Daddies a break. At least during the long hot summer. Let’s offer them a chhuti from bachcha  duty. Instead, make them work hard in other areas which need their expertise  much more. Like shifting heavy furniture around… going off to Lohar Chawl to look for electrical fixtures and bathroom fittings. Leave babies to  experts – bais, ammis, daadis, aunties, naanis, nannies, nurses . Relax.It’s official now – hubbies and babies don’t make the best combo. Unless , of course, yours is the exception. Yawwwwn!   


Abrita Sinha said...

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Ashwini Sane said...

Hey that's the trend- we are following the Amazonian lifestyle!

The'real' men also hate going to the 'Unisex' salons!

Happy Mothers Day!

TalkItOver Team said...
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TalkItOver Team said...
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Sould Out said...

Hi Shobhaa,

I have been a fan of yours and have read most of your books and eagerly read your columns. I have a concern to share: lately, I have seen a lot of gender stereotyping in your articles - and it surprises me, especially coming from you.

As a psychologist, I can share that research after research suggests that fathers who participate in care giving for the infant (changing nappies, bathing, feeding, playing) - along with the primary attachment figure - have several positive outcomes for the infant and mother. Yes, in earlier generations, fathers played an inactive role in care giving - therefore so many negative consequences of those children who grew up (this generation!)There is a lot of research that points out the co-relation between low self esteem & anti-social behaviour with a lack of fatherhood in the first 5 years of life.

My problem with this article is that there are too many assumptions about the roles of a 'father' and a 'male' must play and (may not play).

I miss the Shobhaa who spoke boldly about gender issues and stereotypes that helped empower both men and women!


Pooja Rathore said...

its quite true ,i am not married but i have seen my friends marriage my friend works in a school and has to leave early and her husband has flexitime schedule so he takes care of the daughter and sends her to school(he does this because he has no choice) because when school vacation starts and my friend is at home she manages the whole thing she tells me her husband is most happiest and his moods are better bcoz he doesnt have to bother with the daughter stuff,its true.
Another story from my guy friend who works from home says he just loves the whole idea of taking care of his daughter and sending her to school it makes him happy(this type of cases are in minority) ...hmmm but in majority men dont like it,its a fact!

Tsomo85 said...

Boarding school showed me the other kinds of "parents" as well. Specially, mother. I Thank God for that. Or else life/ world will be so bewildered to understand the psychology of different traits of species! And my personal favorite is indeed the ones that are winner in human relationship be it a bond btw (spouses or parents-children). It takes a lot to be firm and strong rather then aggressive and superior! Although I full hearted respect the sophisticate, competitive, and cynicism of the latter! Or else there won't be such a fortune of knowledge or gifts to inherit no? Life is good~~~~ when the mind is blessed~~~~~~


jaya said...

Loved this article

Aaina said...

Wow..touchwood I must be one of the few lucky women around.
Not only is my guy a great hands on dad from playing baseball with my son to changing my duaghters diapers..He actually loves it.
When he was working a lot, he would sulk and be in a bad mood if he didnt get time with the kids (not me so much :)).
He maeks them breakfast in the weekends and adds,"Parents should raise their kids and not a nanny".
My late dad was such a hands on dad too.
He picked me up from school when he got home early. despite being a bust army engineer, he helped me with my homework. Took us out, read to us, cooked on weekends.
Ands that what I remember about him even after 20 years of him pasing, its not the toys or money he made but the time he took care of me when I had a fever, When he took me to his work on weekend, when we went hiking as a teenager.
Sad to see someone of your caliber say something so sexist.Gender lines are blurring. I have a friend who is a woman VP of a bank in Manhattan and her Ivy league educated husband is a stay @ home dad. Ofcourse they can afford a nanny but who would you want your kid to run to when he/she is hurt? you or the nanny?

Sunil said...

LOve this post :)...


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