But aren't men suppose to be the karta dharta of the family, the one who brings home the daily bread, the one on whose shoulders the burden of children's education, home loan, EMI, household expenses and so much more rests? And isn't it the woman's role to take care of the family, cook, clean, raise the kids?
Times have changed no doubt and we see more women emerge out of their houses, shatter the glass ceiling, earn as much and sometimes even more than men, juggle a career and family. However people still consider the woman as playing second fiddle or just lending a helping hand to her husband. And what happens when say a man is not doing that well in his career and his wife is very successful in her professional life? No I am not talking about egos here, but picture a situation where they have a kid and no family support. They are not very comfortable leaving the kid in daycare or with a nanny without any supervision. They feel the need of at least one parent being there for their child in those growing years. In such a case, what if they switch roles and the father agrees to take up the responsibility of raising the kid and the woman can work guilt and tension free? Wouldn't that be the most ideal solution?
We all know raising a child is not easy. And managing the house either is no less a task. And this is not to say that Daddy would not do anything else. In fact it's a great opportunity to learn a new skill, take up a hobby, write or engage oneself in any other activity which interests him. Daddy gets the golden opportunity of spending quality time with his child which is practically difficult for an otherwise Working Dad, Mommy can go tension free to office knowing baby will be well looked after and baby is happy as well (anyone would prefer Daddy to Nanny right!).
Maybe its not fair to say that the man is not doing well in his career for I believe that is not the sole purpose for him to decide to be a Stay at Home Dad. If he wants to take a break from the drudgery of corporate life and pursue some other goals or take time and think on some other options. Or still better if he wants to play an active role in raising his child and happily pass on the responsibility of getting the pay check home to his wife.
A utopian world, but does that exist? People are so conditioned to see men work that Daddy would be looked down upon saying he is not man enough to work and earn for his family. Mommy will be chastised for being selfish and putting her career first and poor baby will have to hear people's sniggering comments which will compel him to think that his parents are not normal.
I have a colleague who is a lawyer and she's doing really well in terms of her job and she earns comfortably well to take care of a family single handedly. Her husband was doing some business but it did not do well and he had to shut it down. Since then he had been a stay at home dad to their 8 year old son. She cooks in the morning and he is the one who drops the little boy to school, runs errands, picks him up, fixes a meal , takes care of his studies. I think it's a awesome job he does. If not for him, my friend who spends long hours at work and commuting would not be at peace. She makes it a point to imbibe in her son that Daddy is doing a great job being with you. As this is not something that the boy sees with everyone else so there are times when he has innocently questioned why can't Mummy be at home with me and Daddy go to work? She may not be able to explain everything to him at this point but she doesn't want him to ever disrespect his Dad for being a Stay at home Dad for this is no less a feat. I don't think there is any shame in it.
It's time we challenge the traditional age old stereotypes. Think beyond and do what best works for us.
I also saw a Stay at home Dad once in Aamir Khan's famous chat show "SatyaMev Jayate" who has been in this role for the past 20 years or so. He lost his job and his wife was having a stable job. They had a young daughter and he decided to take the bold step of raising her while his wife continued working. People used to make fun of him asking him to wear bangles and sit at home, this did not deter him. His daughter who was a teenager was also present in the show and she was proud of her Dad, who gave her a fabulous childhood. And let's not forget our very own author Chetan Bhagat who quit his high profile investment banking job to take the plunge into writing. Of course he is very successful now and has built a career as a columnist and writer but he continues to be a Stay at home Dad and his wife Anusha is the one who goes to work. Isn't this a great example?
Yes all stay at home dads may not become Chetan Bhagat's but finding your own space and doing what makes you happy is what matters, isn't it?
As parents, just as we should not judge other Moms and Dads it's equally important that we teach our kids to think freely. Our daughters cannot build their careers unless they have supportive spouses and we must inculcate the values in them that you can be whatever you desire to be, yes you can be the breadwinner my dear. Who ever said that's got to be a man? And to our sons we must sensitise them and teach them that being a man is not only measured by how much money you make, but how you stand by your family , how you support your spouse and do the right thing fearlessly. Let's break these age old shackles and hopefully we see a day when Mommy comes home tired but happy to be greeted with a cup of tea, hugs and kisses from Daddy and baby.
Now let me confess- I am really NOT someone who loves watching
daily soaps. I know reading the tile you thought- what the heck, if it’s a
daily soap on TV it is bound to be stereotypical, full of nonsense and drama
and if you watch such stuff why complain, and if complain why watch? There was a
time when I was in college, all naive, and this was when internet was all about
going to the cyber cafe and getting all excited about entering the chat room
and typing asl (age ,sex ,location) and talking to strangers. At that time, the
only source of entertainment for young people like me was the idiot box so I won’t
lie- I used to watch the Ekta Kapoor soaps and probably even like that at that
point, that’s why I use the word Naive. As I grew up, met
diverse set of people, read and experienced new cultures, my thought process
changed. With a hectic job, I hardly found time for any TV watching. My Mom who
is also a working woman used to watch a few Marathi soaps. She always told me
Bhagwan you speak English with your daughter? What is happening these days?
People want to show off and are forgetting their roots”. I have heard this many times. Earlier my
reaction used to be - apologetic. I would keep quiet and try to ignore the comment
and find an escape route. But now if someone dares to talk to me about this
matter, I snap them off then and there. I am unapologetic I don't think I have
done anything wrong which I need to feel ashamed about. So yes I do speak in
English at home and this is my first language. No qualms about it. And
it's not because of an inter caste marriage in fact I have been speaking
English as a first language right since childhood. To give you some background
on how this came to be. My mother’s parents belonged to Mangalore ( it's a
coastal town in Karnataka) they migrated to Bombay in search of a livelihood
when they were young. They married, had kids and their kids were brought up by
a maid. As my mom and her brother lived…
As Aesha tapped her heel restlessly at the Visa Consulate, one
might just think of her as yet another young woman who has set her heart on an
overseas dream, a future in the greener pastures and she is probably nervous if
her visa will be stamped or not as her fate can either be made or broken by
this one seal (or the lack of it). But for Aesha , her tumultuous mind couldn't
be tamed today. While she was at
the cusp of an important milestone in her career and getting the visa would
mean she inches one step closer to her dream professionally- somewhere she
shuddered to think of how it would impact her love life and the very foundation
of her marriage. It seemed like
yesterday- Aman and Aesha met at a sangeet and got talking. They hit it
instantly and never realized where time flew. They would always chuckle when
they got to know later that this had been set up by their parents. Aesha was a young, dynamic, super smart, intelligent woman who was
a great fan of Sheryl Sandberg and truly…