The Changing Role of Dads

Guest Post by wordssetmefreee

When I was a homemaker (when my kids were little), I was in this playgroup of 5 kids and their parents. 4 of them were moms and there was one dad. It was my first time meeting a full time stay-at-home dad. He was completely capable and handled tantrums, diaper leaks, eating disasters, and slushy mud puddles with ease and a great sense of humor. This was about 10 years ago.

Now I meet stay-at-home dads everywhere – in my neighborhood, at work, at my kids’ school, in my support group. Some of them work from home. Some of them run businesses from home.  Others take care of their little kids and the house full time.

In the last post, Chaiwallah brought up the point about a man being discriminated for being a homemaker. I do not see this discrimination as something separate (men’s suffering versus women’s suffering in patriarchy) but as connected. The more we encourage gentleness and caring in boys, the more nurturing and helpful they will be at home when they become parents. Dads doing their fair share at home supports moms’ empowerment. If men are free of stereotypes, then women are free to make more choices. If men can choose to stay at home more, then women can choose to be more career focused (in families that prefer to have this division of labor). If both parents choose to work outside the home, then both can share the housework and childcare fairly without attaching gender labels to these duties.

Here’s a sampling of some recent ads about dads. Of course, for every one of these ads, there are a 1000 others that show women in traditional roles.  In reality, (if we look at stats worldwide) men have a long way to go in terms of doing their fair share at home. But, look around you. Things are changing, little by little. The fact that businesses want to spend millions of dollars positioning their products around this cultural shift means that the shift is happening. It means we are beginning to lean toward the following notions:

  • gentleness, warmth, and caring don’t make a man any less of a human being
  • the ability to demonstrate emotions makes a human being stronger, not weaker
  • dads are not clueless at home, they can be relied on to do their part at home and keep the family running smoothly, and they can multi-task as well as moms
  • housework, cooking, and cleaning are not “inferior” jobs assigned to “less capable” people (read women), they are simply – jobs that need to get done -and every person (man or woman) has to learn to do them.

Swiffer Ad – dads cleaning the house, watching kids jumping in puddles. Dad complains, “no such thing as deep couch sitting”🙂

Dove Ad –Dads kissing, hugging, playing with their children. Dads helping kids out of stuck shirts, cleaning them after toilet use, ready to help when they’re stuck on a road, when they’re afraid of water, when they have a bad dream, when they’re distressed.

Tide – Child napping with dad.

Cheerios – A funny ad about a capable, confident dad – it’s called “How to dad”🙂

Extra gum Origami – Dad is there with daughter through all the stages of growing.

Johnson’s – Dads comfortable conveying their love through touch, caring for their babies, being delighted in them.

And here’s a dad who’s better at cleaning than mom – because cleaning is just like any other skill – it isn’t gender specific – some people are great at it, others not so great🙂 Some people enjoy it, others don’t.

 

Watching these ads, I am reminded of my childhood. My father would practice volleyball with me to help me win the matches at school. The ball would keep going over the fence and he would quickly scale the fence and get it back in a jiffy. Bonus points for teaching me as well how to scale the fence🙂 He was also a great cook and could make the best eggplant bhajjis. He would slice them so thinly and dip them in such light batter that they would just melt in the mouth.

Please share if you had fun experiences with your dads at home doing things that break stereotypes. Also, if you have seen other nice dad ads, please share.

Do you agree that things are changing in this regard? Or do you feel they are predominantly the same?  What has been your experience with your father/husband/siblings/friends/coworkers?  If you’re a guy, please add how you feel about all this.  Do you want to change things?  Do you want to be a different kind of dad from your own (assuming your own played a traditional father’s role)?

Related Posts:

I Want To Be A Dad. – Radhika Vaz

“My problem is my wife doesn’t like me hanging out with friends.”

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s body and Willow Smith’s hair.

An email from an Indian father: I want to place on record my own story as a warning to anyone…

Workplace Equality requires Equality at Home

The Men in Our Lives

Why are these dads such a threat to patriarchal social structures?

Dad wears short shorts to teach daughter what she wears is everybody’s business and everybody’s approval proves her great worth.

“My dad tells me not to wear skimpy outfit when he is around”

“I know my dad is short tempered but he was never this aggressive until my relatives started making him over think about my marriage.”

Dad knifes girl for speaking to lover

Why do men NOT have to choose between being a CEO and a father, but women have to make this choice.

“Freedom can wait, I’m staying put for Dad”

Abhishek Bachchan as a Working Dad in the new Idea ad.

“My husband says he can’t go against his family. My father says study but not without your FIL’s permission.”

“Ask your father if he has never beaten your mother!” Please adjust.

Response to “Koi Baap Apni Beti Ko Kab Jaane Se Rok Paya Hai”

Haryana killing : Here is a father A P Singh might want to defend.

“This dad is openly threatening his daughter and is instigating others to burn alive their daughters.”

The father threw the baby on the ground and tried to strangle her with his legs: No case registered.

Father wants the world to know her real name.

Feminism Is Good For Society

Where do they go away?

 

 

55 thoughts on “The Changing Role of Dads

  1. My relationship with my dad is not exactly amicable, and I don’t really remember a thing from my childhood that I can look back at fondly and say – that’s the way to do it. But he did teach me a lot nonetheless – I know exactly how not to raise my child when he/she is born!

    I see the changes you’re talking about, however. A lot of my male friends are very hands-on with their children, regardless of how they were brought up. Men are changing and this is linked, like you said, to women’s empowerment, and that of society as a whole.

    I see only good things in the future.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In my immediate friend circle, I have seen only one dad who is comfortable doing baby work. Most wait for the child to grow up in order to connect and do ‘dad’ tasks, But if you ask me, baby and toddler hood is when you need both the parents to be hands on with the child, share the responsibilities.
    My husband cleaned nappies, gave the baby a bath,fed him at times, He used to be scared to hold the baby, but learnt on the job.
    As a mother, you are expected to be a pro at child-care the minute you give birth!
    My dad used to work fixed hours and had weekends off. He encouraged my mom (she was just 23 when I was born) to do a post-graduate course after my birth. My mom was (is!) very bright academically and dad encouraged her. From a shy, reserved person she went on to head an institution and played a key role in its expansion. My mom has always been in the limelight in all social situations, and my dad has been pretty cool and happy about it.
    He and I spent more time together, Told me mythological stories, taught me how to deal with neighborhood bullies, fostered a love for reading, taught me cycling. In fact, he very scientifically explained the process of menstruation to me at the age of 12. My mom was very uncomfortable talking about it.
    All my friends at school/college used to say that I have a really cool dad. I agree!
    I am close to both my parents, but especially with my father. I totally adore him.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. In business terms ads are a lag indicator. They first do market research and then create ads that will appeal to the demographic. This indicates ((drumroll!)) there are more men interested in cleaning products than previously thought. Is the filthy squalor of the man-pad a myth? I think so.

    Looking at men close to me – Dad, FIL, husband, friends, almost all of them are more obsessed with cleanliness than their wives (only exception is my husband who married the child of two obsessive cleaners). A male (single) friend maintains such a welcoming home and he spends so much time getting the cleaning and the cushions just right. A friend’s husband has taken over supervision of housework because he cares more than she does. My Dad and FIL have been known to organize shelves/books/etc when insomnia strikes. In fact, whenever we visit my IL’s our train gets there in the middle of the night. When my little tornado destroys the living room, my MIL happily heads up to bed when she gets sleepy while FIL can’t sleep unless he’s cleaned up (no expectation from me to help whatsoever. we all cheerfully wish him good night).

    My dad absolutely loves kids. My husband is an awesome cook and he’s a much more hands on parent than I am. My brother loves to garden and loves a clean house. None of them expect anything from their wives/daughters. In fact, I face pressure to reduce how much housework/cooking I do. I love all things housewifey and I can hold long discussions on the philosophical aspects of clean sheets. My parents and IL’s think I should redirect that energy towards my career. Go figure!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A lot of Indian dads in the U.S. are very involved in the day to day lives of their children. They do as much as the moms. They have good role models around them to emulate.

    They also don’t have their mommies and daddies trying to coddle them when they come back from work and bullying their wives to serve everyone while he sits back and watches TV.

    My Indian female friends tell me how their husbands get treated like Olympic gold medalists if they change their kids’ diapers when they visit India, ‘cos it is considered wimmen’s work and they are repeatedly reminded of how lucky they are. I too (only in India) am reminded of how fortunate I am that my husband cooks, cleans, does laundry and serves me tea in bed each morning. He is never reminded of how lucky he is.

    Hopefully, things are changing in India too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post!
    I have had the opportunity to observe Indian dads in their early thirties, including my own husband. Things have come a LOOOONG way. They’re hands on and don’t feel like it’s beneath them to change diapers, feed their babies, clean spit-ups etc. My mother and MIL were surprised to see how hands-on my husband was when our baby was born. He was actually genuinely happy experiencing doing things for the baby. Needless to say it made both moms very uncomfortable and they’d run to change diapers before my husband could get to them because a man changing diapers?! God forbid! But I told them to cut it out and that if they wanted to baby their own husbands, they’re welcome to, just don’t tell mine to watch from the sidelines while I do everything to raise my child!
    Things are changing and men are less affected by what others think too. Traditionally, it was both the man’s mother (ironically) who disapproved of her ‘laadla’ being made to do such things, and the ignominy of being labeled a ‘joru-ka-ghulam’ that would keep at least those men who wanted to contribute from contributing. Now they care far less about what anyone has to say. Still, I wonder sometimes if I lived with my inlaws how much pushback there would’ve been wrt my husband helping out…. some of the peripheral influences also need to change, but we’re on the right path.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I know exactly what you mean. My mom praises my husband a LOT. I get where she’s coming from but I have to keep reminding her he’s just doing his fair share and that isn’t really noble, it’s just reasonable🙂 Actually he reminds her of that too🙂

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  6. My husband is a stellar father. He is super hands on. He does as much as I do if not more for the baby and around the house. The only things he’s not done involve breastfeeding, pumping breast milk or shopping online😀 He has made putting the baby to bed his “thing”. It started when I was actively nursing the baby and he felt guilty for not doing enough🙂 I always knew he’d be a great father but the character he’s shown after we had our daughter is something out of my imagination.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My dad was in Indian Army and he always treated me and my sister like boys. He would wake us up at 6 am in morning for jogging, I and my sister used to make big fuss everyday as it was hard for us to wake up early but my father being strict and disciplined man, pushed us everyday. He also bought Punching Bag and hung it in our balcony. We would practice boxing and he used to teach us tricks on how to handle ever-teasers😀
    Also, I and my sister tasted liquor in 9th grade first time with dad🙂 He occasionally drinks beer and whiskey and always offered to us and would say ” Drink with me if you want, but don’t drink outside with boys, they can take advantage of you” (we being teenagers at that time) But once we both sisters started earning, he stopped even asking where are we going or what are we doing. He only expected us to tell him that we are safe, not matter where we are.

    My father knows cooking and can cook a complete meal if my mother is not home.

    And when our relatives would tease my dad on our height ( we both sisters are 5 feet 7 inches) that it’ll be difficult to find boys for us, my dad would proudly say ” my daughters would find husbands on their own and wont trouble me”🙂

    There are lot of good memories and some bad memories too which affected my relationship with him for few years. But I don’t want to talk about those bad memories as its a father’s day🙂
    My relationship with him has improved and back on track again🙂 god bless him with long life

    Happy Father’s Day

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Relationship with my dad has been on the rocks because he is a very traditional Indian dad and I am not a traditional Indian daughter. However, many times, we agreed to disagree. He did teach me a lot and I value his presence, which was more of an absence while growing up. His crust may be hardcore patriarchy but I have come to realize that deep down he cares for me as much as he does for his son (my brother).
    I just wish my parents had a better relationship. Being a typical Indian couple in an arranged marriage surrounded by the expectations of an Indian society, they never really understood love. How I longed to see them holding hands or expressing love for one another! Now that they have grown old, they are finding it even more hard to tolerate one another and this makes me very sad. Well anyway, it was the role of my dad at home that helped me decide the kind of guy I wanted to marry. I am very fortunate to have a hands on husband. He is sensitive and nurturing….and he loves being that way. He believes in equal parternship and works very hard to keep it that way. Now that we have a daughter, women empowerment is even more important to him. Trust me, I could never have asked for a better dad for my daughter. When I look at their bond, I feel blessed.

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  9. My relationship with my dad…well all I can say is I am glad he is not in my life anymore. He taught me what I do not want in my life partner and what I do not want in my kids’ father.
    My husband, on the other hand is an absolutely kickass dad to our 21 month old son. We have totally opposite ways of doing things around the house, but as long as we dont tell each other “how” to do household things, we survive by doing household chores not bound by stereotypes and also both of us working full time. Our work divisions at home and related to the kid are divided based on our schedules. He takes care of morning routine (son’s breakfast, cleaning him, getting him ready for day care, dropping him) and I take care of evening routine. Picking him up from day care, his evening bath, son’s dinner, feeding etc). We have an aunty come and cook our food once during the week and both of us cook 1-2 times a week.
    Hubby has considered multiple times being a stay at home dad. I dont want to be a stay at home mommy as I do feel the need to do something outside of home. We have both mutually agreed to take up jobs that are less demanding. I have made that switch and my husband will make the switch later this year to a job that is hopefully less demanding than his super hectic current role. That way, both of us will get enough time to spend with our son. That said, I do understand the burden men face when they are almost forced by the society to be sole bread earners, especially if they have a strong desire to handle the household. Things are changing for sure I feel as I do see so many of my friends contributing as an equal parent and not just “helping” with the kids and chores. We do have a long way to go, but the image of dads and moms are definitely undergoing a change.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have a dad who used to help my mom even though she was a homemaker. He has never shun away from housework and in fact sweeps the house everyday (last 15 years or so) before going to work as his share. I grew up pampered because whenever my mom gave me housework I would look up to my dad and he would say “I will do it. Don’t make my daughter work.” This is just not my dad, I have seen (and still see) my grandfather help as well. He is 85 and he helps my grandma by cutting vegetables or watering the plants. Having grown up with them I expected the person I want to live with also to be similar or better. I found an equalist/feminist who in fact wanted a girl who was fiercely independent. I have seen many males who do not care about stereotypes and do everything from cooking to cleaning etc. But I also have males around my age group (20s) who absolutely do not want to change and who are very clear in not wanting a female partner who is a feminist.

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  11. Like Anawnimiss said, my maternal side of the family taught the same lesson..how NOT to raise your kids (ie, become a arrogant, controlling, chauvinistic parent). Anyways, I like the fact that men are doing household chores. My dad does stuff at home. Though he does not cook much, except for his parottas (and it’s disastrous if he does lol), he does help vacuum, do the garden, wash dishes..etc. I guess being forced to move to the US as my mom was working here changed him a bit. If we were still living in India, it would have definitely NOT like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And being a stay at home dad, well that works well too. I both parents somehow need to take responsibility for their kids. There’s nothing wrong in helping out with the kids.

      Like

  12. My father is the stereotypical Indian father- he never changed a diaper despite having two children and is the type (still, aided and abetted by my mother) to come home, sit down, and then pretty much have every need of his catered to. In a way, I thank my father because observing him I knew precisely what I did NOT want in a husband and father to my child.

    My husband, thanks to his parents, is a wonderful man and father. He is, by far, the better parent in our relationship. He has a lot more patience than I do and he insisted on putting our daughter down to bed every night (sometimes even rocking with her for over an hour) when she was a baby. Oh, and he is proud to say that he changed many diapers but that he also changed our daughter’s first diaper.

    He teaches our daughter things with a level of patience, understanding, and gentleness that is remarkable. I wish I could post a photo of my husband with my daughter but he is notoriously media shy so I will leave you with this word image-

    A 6’6″ man cradling a tiny, fussy baby against his chest with the utmost gentleness.

    That is one of my most favorite mental snapshots – that juxtaposition of such strength paired with vulnerability. I am very glad that things are changing, slowly, but they are changing. Hopefully by the time my daughter is an adult gender roles will be even more diluted.

    Raina.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “A 6’6″ man cradling a tiny, fussy baby against his chest with the utmost gentleness.” – This. I just swoon everytime I see my baby girl nestled into my husband’s beard and sleeping against him without a care for his snoring(which btw, pisses me off :P)…he’s known to contort himself into pretzels in order to keep her comfortable. I fell in love with the man all over again after we became parents…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Enjoyed reading.
    My generation and the previous generation had Dads who were pakka patriarchs.
    A change began with my generation in a small way, particularly in families where the mothers were educated and went out to work.

    The next generation is much better. My son in law is even better than I was at his age as regards sharing responsibilities and bringing up my grandson.

    Times are changing (for the better) but I feel this is only among the educated middle and upper middle classes.

    The rest of society has a long way to go before they catch up.

    Regards
    GV

    Liked by 2 people

  14. My dad. Never did much hands on with us, however he was always there to take us on picnics vacations trips etc., 😄 once my son was born he wanted to be able to be and do things with the baby, he claimed he spent his entire life working and now he wanted to enjoy a bit, so he retired and was a hands on grandpa. Still he’s old school not very hands on id say. My husband on the other hand is full time hands on parent, he did the waking up at night. Tha t was our deal, either I have no kids or if I have kids he does nights. With my son we did 50-50 with my daughter I haven woken e a single night, she was all his.
    Now they are grown he spends a lot eting with the teens teaching them math and science, I’m ok with a B he is not so he helps them get an A 😄 thank god we have outsourced the cleaning , maintainenec bit.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. justPriya, raina, mypunchingbag, k007603 – what a change from one generation to the next!
    Women need to start expecting more from their husbands/partners – I think that’s what’s bringing about this change.
    I used to have friends in the early days of my marriage who would say I’m “lucky”. But they would never expect/insist on their husbands doing their part. Not blaming these women. They genuinely believed that certain chores were not the husband’s job and if husbands did them, that’s because they were being generous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Priya, reading what you had to say reminded me of when my parents came to visit before I married my now husband. He was sweeping the porch outside the apartment and my mother comes to me and say “poor thing, he is sweeping”. If I were the one sweeping, there wouldn’t have been a single comment.

      It is very hard for me not to blame women like my mother because I very clearly remember my own mother raging at her mother for letting my grandfather treat her the way he did. So obviously there was some awareness of the fact that things shouldn’t be how they are but nothing was done to change things. Hopefully someday I will mature enough to let go of such things.

      One of my biggest fears is I am going to end up like my mother and just even writing that gives me the shudders and immense motivation to not become complacent.

      Raina.

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      • Raina, you will not end up like your mother. Or anyone else. When you start thinking for yourself, and listening to your inner voice (as you have done) you can only be you.

        Like

      • I had this fear too. However, I began thinking of how my mother has handled the significant challenges of her life.

        The unwitting grace and generosity of her actions humbles me. She has grown as a person after witnessing what divorce did to me.

        She transformed from being an entitled, arrogant and superficial army wife to someone who is extremely sensitive, compassionate, generous and forgiving.

        I hope that I can forgive with as much grace as she can.

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  16. He was also a great cook and could make the best eggplant bhajjis. He would slice them so thinly and dip them in such light batter that they would just melt in the mouth.

    haha! My dad made the best bhajjis too! I’d always have him make the dosas as well since I preferred his crisp and thin ones to my mum’s. He was pretty hands on as a parent when I was young.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. From washing utensils, clothes, to cooking (on a regular basis), I have seen my father do it all. And perhaps that is the reason why I find it difficult to accept (even till date) , the gender-specific division of work in families.
    My mother used to work in the same company as him, had the same work-timings, and we didn’t have any maid at home. And so, the work was divided amongst all 4 of us (mother, father, sis and me). It was my father who taught us riding scooter, playing table-tennis, badminton. He encouraged us to try out new things. And I give him all the credit for my love for gardening and singing .
    He has taught both me and my sister to be fiercely independent. There are times when I lose the steam and start sliding down. But then out of no where, he comes, and gives me a big motivational speech – and I get ready again to face life’s battles.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Puja, your dad sounds like a great parent. I also think your parents got it right when they assigned chores to everyone including kids. Great way to reach team work and responsibility.

      Like

    • Also, how heartening to see the comments from others where they attest that dads are being more and more involved with their children since quite a few years now. Here’s to changes for the better!

      Liked by 2 people

  18. My dad was not much involved with us when we were kids ,……he was busy trying to earn a living ! My mom was busy running the house on the budget and taking care of us ! But Dad did all the outside work ,like buying vegetables, groceries ! He still does that ! My dad can’t cook except for chai and omelette ! But even then, Dad has done a lot ! He took us for picnics,played with us encouraged us to work and study!
    My mom was religious and made sure to teach us Quran,how to pray namaz and made sure we followed things ! There were some things they were pretty strict about and pretty lax otherwise ! Since my mom was expert tailor,we three sisters never lacked pretty clothes even though we were slightly above the poor !
    Overall I had happy childhood ! And since my parents slogged for everything, I am pretty indebted to them !
    When Mom fell sick, my father left his business unattended and took care of her ! He doesn’t know how to do things around the house but me and dad managed ! I kept instructing how to use the appliances,some recipes he could cook !
    X——–x
    Most men (family friends) don’t much around the house ! Some are rich so they have maids who do most rest the wives manage ! In the struggling class the womenfolk in the house do all the housework and childcare, men do outside work ! Since many women are discouraged to work outside at jobs other than teacher,lecturer etc after marriage, they are expected to do housework !
    Since maids do the basic cleaning ,cooking is usually the only job house wives do mostly ! Nowadays, young men are more involved with children but since most of them into business they are barely at home to do things !

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  19. Indian men have definitely come a long way. My dad barely did any hands on care giving for me. He was like the other dads of his generation. Respected and feared. He was loving too but never hands on. Cut to my husband. I can claim exclusive rights only on birthing and breast feeding the babies. Rest of the stuff, he has done more than me. In fact he can beat me hands down in care giving as he has a lot more patience. All that, in the presence of his own parents (my ILs stay for extended periods with me) !😀
    I would also like to point out that I am comfortable with living for extended periods with his parents because he continues to share children and household chores with me even in their presence. To tell you the truth, his parents were not so comfortable in the beginning with our no gender stereotypes relationship. Now, they have gotten used to it and what’s more FIL has started stepping up to help MIL with domestic chores too.
    So my dear men, if you really want your wife and parents’ relationship to work, you need to get your bum off the couch!🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • The greatest takeaway from this is that not everyone starts out being egalitarian or being a feminist. But instead of dismissing or branding them as patriarchal, if we can simply practice what we believe in (equality) and demonstrate the effectiveness and rationality of our belief system, people will come around. At first, they will tolerate. Then they will accept. Finally they will participate. Eventually they will embrace equality because it all starts making sense to them.

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  20. My dad is the most important person in my life and his teachings are most valuable. Looking at my mom and dad, to this day I feel so happy because of the love they share and the things that my dad does for my mother just to make her happy or make her life more comfortable.
    My father and mother like most people those days had an arranged marriage. My father comes from a village and is the only son to my paternal grandparents who was born after 3 daughters to them and people of my village say that my paternal grandmother did everything under the sun to produce a son and finally my dad was born, so he had an extremely extremely pampered upbringing so much so that my grandparents moved with bag and baggage every time my dad moved to a different town to study as my grandmother could not live without seeing him even for a day. My dad had everything handed over to him and was never allowed to stay in hostels because that would mean that he will have to eat in the mess and wash his own plates…
    My mother on the other hand, was born in an extremely aristocratic family in a city in South India, was sent to a convent along with all the other girls in the family, my maternal grandparents were very particular about education and employment for girls so all my aunts and mother were married only after they completed PG and had secured jobs. So my mother also had finished her PG and was going to enroll for her M. Phil when my dad’s alliance came knocking on their door. My grandmother immediately politely refused as she could see the stark difference in their upbringing and lifestyle and was sure my dad would be a male chauvinist. But my dad kept requesting them to meet him at least. Finally my grandmother asked my dad and his family to come home and she was surprised that he came alone to see my mom. When questioned as to why he did not bring his family, my dad replied that “he was marrying so he had to first see the girl and that he hated the whole concept of parading the girl in front of a 100 people”. My mom was really impressed and so was her family. Finally they got married and my dad took my mom to Singapore for their honeymoon. Due to my dad’s family being extremely traditional and conservative, my mom could not adjust with them and so my dad never forced her to adjust too, my grandparents stayed with us but my dad appointed servants to look after them and my grandparents were also ok with the arrangement.After I was born, my dad completely took over my responsibility except for feeding me, in fact my entire growing up years I would call out to him in the night if I needed anything, he would help me wear my uniform in the morning, check my bag and pack it for me, help me with homework, he would buy groceries on his way back home etc. He was also the man who taught me that I should say “NO” if I don’t like anything and also taught me self defense. When I was having boyfriend issues, he was the one who told me that I should break off the relationship if it’s not working out and that I need not marry someone just because I had been in a relationship with him.
    Then I got married i.e. had an arranged marriage and that is when my love for my dad grew even more. My husband was in a different city and so my dad would travel during the weekend just to meet him and talk to him to get an understanding of how he is and what his thoughts are. The day I said yes to my husband, my dad took me aside and asked me if I am really comfortable with going ahead given the fact that I had said yes after a few meetings. My dad in fact asked me to take more time, talk more and meet him a couple of times before saying a yes but I assured him that I was fine with it. After our engagement, he was the one who again told me that just because we are engaged I need not marry if I sense something wrong. He has always been my backbone and I really do not know what I would have done without him.
    My husband is a hands on man too, runs the house like a pro, is concerned about every cushion being placed at the correct place and angle, makes awesome food and cleans the bathrooms after watching youtube videos on them because apparently there are techniques to clean bathtubs….My husband also is the only son, again like my father he was born and brought up in a very remote part of India as my FIL and MIL were both central government employees. He was also brought up in a very conservative atmosphere, but fortunately for me, he is more a feminist.
    It is these men I look up to every single day, the background that they come from and the way they were brought up, I wonder sometimes how they did not imbibe that lifestyle. When somebody asked my husband why he is not forcing me to have a child, he told them “the person with the uterus decides what to do with it, since I do not have one I cannot take a decision too”…
    P.S. : Sorry for the really long comment, but it’s just that every time I read about the horrible men on this blog, I feel so proud of my family and that’s why wrote so much.
    Do not publish it if you feel it’s long.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Interesting how both men brought up in such patriarchal settings forged their own paths and treat their wives and daughter as complete equals.
      This is the greatest purpose of the human mind – not to just survive or thrive – but to examine, question, analyze, infer, understand, and to act upon this new understanding.

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      • Thank you Priya. Truly its commendable.
        Also, since we are talking about dad’s has anyone here watched Ajith’s new movie Yennai Arindhaal?
        I loved Ajith in this movie – probably the first time that a hero like Ajith has been shown not like a “macho man” but a man with feelings and emotions and I was really happy that Ajith agreed to play this role against the image of “Thala”…
        I loved the way the father daughter relationship has been portrayed and how the kid gradually calls him Appa only after she is comfortable and for this to happen Ajith earns her trust.
        This is my favorite song from the movie..

        Times are changing and there is hope for a brighter future…

        Liked by 2 people

  21. Beautifully written !!! My father was an excellent dad too. He would always support my mom in everything that she did and always took care of us. He was our support and though he was as flawed as the next human being, he was the best father anyone could have.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi Priya, as usual a fantastic post!
    My dad is very down to earth and hands on! My mom is a Phd holder and is holding a high position in a uni right now all because of the support and encouragement from my father. He equally shared childcare with my mom, getting me ready for school and feeding me( tough task to get food into me!), played cricket and taught karate and helped with the homework too. Fast forward, after i got married and had kids, for each of them he came to stay with us( my mom is still working and dads retired) help with the kids, he is the best grandpa in the whole wide world! His dosas are the best and the egg fry he makes is to die for!
    My husband.. We had a typical arranged marriage . He comes from a very conservative family where the men never entered the kitchen and know only how to order their wives to cook, clean and laundry. Never have coversatio s, discuss and take a decision etc! Although it has taken a while, by the time we had kids he learnt how to share work with me and how to help with the baby etc. now he is the one who takes days off/wfh when the kids are unwell/ vacation time etc!
    sorry for the long comment, but i wanted to say, the men need to understand the wife’s standpoint and if we want to be a family together and do the best for our kids, shouldering the responsibilty equally is the only way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your dad is fantastic … give him a hug from me:) Great to know your husband’s moving toward sharing household responsibilities – it’s happening because you are expecting it. I agree with you, making marriages work is both people’s job, not just the woman’s job.

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  23. Yes, the role of dads is changing. What is not changing is the society and the workplace. The workplace still does not acknowledge that fathers are now an important part of the family circle and need flexibility to deal with that part of their lives. And there are no diaper changing tables in men’s rooms, no feeding rooms where men can go. In a social gathering,

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  24. True a lot is chaning these days… But the previous gen existing around do take a dig at it often… When my husband used to attend to my daughter when she was a toddler, by chaning her diapers etc… my MIL would often take a dig as to why he is doing it when I was there….. For her it was almost always like I was shirking responsibility. Never would she look at it that it is a father who is doing it for his daughter, whom he considers as his own….

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  25. Pingback: But do we have any benchmark for ideal parents in our traditions? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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