From A Parent Who Does It All

So RD was on a trip to Sabari Malai for a week. When I told people that I was taking care of R, my 5 year old, all by myself, no-one bated an eyelid. I don’t want anyone to. My issue is when I was away for 3 days in January for an official trip, everyone really sympathized with RD, and told me how LUCKY I was to have him as my husband, who agrees to take care of the child all by himself.

I was like, WHAT THE ****? I take care of R all by myself, when RD is away, so why can’t RD do it. Why is he being given all this special applauds? Let me tell you, it’s not that I am jealous of RD or anything, it’s just that I have seen this happen in a lot of households.

The only person who asks both RD and me EQUALLY whether we want help is my mother. If RD goes she asks me if she needs to come to help out and if I am away, she asks RD if she needs to come to help out. If my trips have been longer than 3 days, RD has called her to help out with R and school and stuff….

If the father takes care of a child all by himself, he is some kind of a great super dad, but if a mother does it, ah! it’s just part of the parenting bit.

If my brother does everything for my nephew including cleaning his bum, putting the diaper, giving him a bath and getting him ready for the daycare which my bhabhi drops him to, he is considered great! What’s the big deal? Isn’t my brother an equal parent? but if my bhabhi does it, ah well, it’s just usual why why why?

This is my problem with the parenting bit, especially in India. If fathers do, they are great, if mothers do, whatever…

I remember once my mother had gone for her school annual day, and Appa was supposed to take us there and then pick up Amma, and drop a couple of her colleagues to home. Appa had combed my hair and made two plaits, Which is perfectly normal. Not that he had made some extra ordinarily beautiful style or anything. But I still remember the way some teachers saw me and gushed out the fact that my FATHER had done it…excuse me, my mom used to do it day in and day out eh?

Or the fact that my Appa used to do second shift when we were younger so that Amma attended her school, while Appa took care of us, and then Amma would come back in the afternoon and Appa would leave for office. Everyone used to think it was a great thing to do! Really???

When are we going to realise that a father is an equal parent and there is absolutely nothing special about him taking care of HIS child. I agree that it’s a mother who carries a child for 9 months and in the initial months, takes up the task of breast feeding. But apart from that, what a mother can do, a father can and SHOULD do. Whether it’s changing diapers (cliche!) or combing hair!

RD goes out with his friends, at least 4 times a month, all by himself, and that’s not considered an issue. But the other day I let someone know that I was meeting up with my old office friends after a long time, and they asked me ‘Are you taking R along?‘ I said ‘no, her dad will take care of her‘ and they went  on and on about his wonderfully benevolent ways of letting me lead a life of my own..yaa seriously!!! I just don’t get it. I hardly go out to meet friends..I can actually count the number of days in a year, on my fingers..and yet this is the reaction I get. And to be honest, it just irks me a lot!

Or take R’s school parent teacher meetings. Hardly, I have hardly seen fathers around who come and take up the results or talk to the teachers. The one off fathers who come, are  (from my personal observation) usually those whose wives are heavily pregnant and can’t come or something like that! Why? Why do we expect only mothers to be the more important, more responsible or more into parenting, kind of parent?

I am not saying this is the case with every household. All, I am saying is this is the case I have seen in many households, including mine. I yearn for a day, when my brother will not be applauded for getting my nephew ready in the morning, while my bhabhi manages the kitchen. I yearn for the day when my husband will not be put up on a pedestal for agreeing to take care of R when I am away!

It’s time we raise our sons to realise that they are EQUAL PARENTS and not just the sperm donors in the entire baby making process. 


Cross posted on IMC


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46 Responses to From A Parent Who Does It All

  1. paatiamma says:

    :)Lol!!! Sperm donors..Good way of describing adult males who think that they do a favor by changing diapers!!!

  2. Shweta says:

    This is the way Indian Society works R…. And I totally agree with you when you say it is an EQUAL responsibility of the Father to take care of the child! Don’t know why, but STILL women are perceived solely responsible for maintaining a household whereas all a male has to do is take care of the earning bit! (even if she is a working woman!!) 😐
    The mentality is bred very rigidly and needs to change!

    Loved loved loved the post!!! 🙂

  3. Prachi says:

    We can’t help others opinion RM, only we thing we can do is teach EQUALITY to our kids.
    I too belong to a family where DH used to go for parent teachers meet and he was the only father there. FIL prepares lunch box and dress up my 3.5yr old son for school. As I have to leave home by 7.30am for office. But when I tell this to others I get stares…!!!

    PS: A bada wala BIIIIIIIIG THANK YOU RM….I won the Festive Food Contest on IMC. Credit goes to my mom and you.

  4. Sumana says:

    Claps and More RM, we need to get this thing straightened. It starts at home, right from my MIL who tells every tom dick and harry “Oh it is my son always who drops the kids to the school bus…” Ya right, when the said son is out for like 2 months, i do the dropping along with catching 2 buses to my work place since i miss my cab. No one ever gets to hear about that.

  5. Divya says:

    Hello R’s mom
    I totally agree with you, but it’s a fact in far away US too. It’s Indian mentality, my husband helps out in taking care of my 2 yr old. We both are full time working folks, so most evenings he bathes her while I get dinner ready and one of us feed her, sometimes he does chapathis while I get her ready. We have no issues doing this, but when we share this with the pea brained desi folks around us , all I get is ” what crappy mom and wife I’m while husband is kept on the pedestal”. My American male boss cooks dinner for family everyday, a desi man will never say that aloud.

  6. Sreetama says:

    I hear you RM! I have seen this all my life & it irks me as much! 😦 When will this notion change! When I do all the housework, nobody notices or makes any appreciative comment. But if I forget to do one thing, it’ll be made sure that I am reminded that I have missed to do my task. If my hubby doesn’t keep his clothes in the hanger or his plate in the sink, he is considered to be the ideal man!

  7. Deeps says:

    I’m nodding my head vehemently in agreement RM! I know how unfair this is. This is how our thinking works, has always prejudiced! We refuse to accept that parenting is about sharing the responsibility of your child’s upbringing equally.

    I had done a post long back with a slight twist of topic but very similar in my grouse against regressive mentality. I had raised my concerns over work-life balance and the choices we make. Husband and I had had a huge discussion on how women have it reasonably easy when they decide to quit work to look after their kids as opposed to men who wish to choose the same. When women decide to be a stay at home mom, they are easily accepted because that’s what is ‘expected’ of them. But if on the other other, a man decides to be quit work and be a stay at home dad, he is made to feel guilty of being jobless, termed hen-pecked! :roll:.

    You see how imbalanced our thinking is?

    • R's Mom says:

      But if on the other other, a man decides to be quit work and be a stay at home dad, he is made to feel guilty of being jobless, termed hen-pecked! – Thats so so true..and such a big problem in India 😦

  8. DI says:

    When I was heading to a team dinner one day, a colleague asked me who would manage Zo. I said The Dude. To which he said ‘Poor guy! Has to do this after a long day at work!’
    Imagine how much fumed because The Dude usually returned after 10 every night from work and I managed her every frigging day, after, yes, a long day at work too! I was quite vocal about what I thought, till the poor guy started cowering, so I shut up.
    I never get it either. But I usually don’t let it bother me anymore.

  9. Ramya says:

    I love love love your last line… Looks like some guys still need encouragement to do some jobs coz, they are just coming out of the shell (the way boys have been brought up during our times).. But believe me, having 2 boys myself I am trying to get this established… No girl task boy task. A task is a task. We will achieve it by the time our kids grow up

  10. Carvaka says:

    You tell ’em RM! Totally agree with you. People need to stop being so surprised at equality between spouses!

  11. It’s so biased isn’t it? As you said, men are not just sperm donors! People make a big deal when a dad takes the child out or does something but it’s expected of the mum to do it. Both parents brought the child into the world…both parents are responsible for every aspect of child rearing. Great post RM! 🙂

  12. ashreyamom says:

    i loved your post.. even i get such statements like, ” ur hubby is so nice, he gave you a choice of working in different city and stay alone with a kid just because you wanted to work for in that institution?”. another statement which really irks me, ” you dont give ur salary to your husband?”. i tell them back that i am running the house, my daughter is living with me. so i take money from my hubby . this irritates the questioner as they never understand the logic.. :)..

  13. Jay says:

    Annoying isn’t it!

  14. Nidaa says:

    Heard versions of this from many friends… Sigh

  15. Couldn’t agree more with you here, RM. The same happens here, too. When I go out once in a while alone, I am told I am so lucky that the OH ‘allows’ me to do so. When the OH goes out with his friends, I am told that it is natural, of course, he will go and meet his friends, that I should just relax and keep things ready for him when he comes home! Both of us don’t have problems with the other leading his/her own life, but the society does seem to have a problem with mine! Sigh! The seeds of patriarchy are sown so deep into our society that it is not going anywhere for a while. The same is the case with the OH packing his own suitcase when he goes on a tour or him getting a glass of water for himself! I mean, come on!

    What your parents did – the managing of work shifts in a way that both of them could spend equal amounts of time with you kids and take care of you – was indeed the ideal thing to do. I would love it if we are able to work that way. In our country, equal parenting is in the nascent stages and most households do not believe in it, even though it is the right thing to do.

    • R's Mom says:

      Exactly..I dont understand why two people married must always be dependent on each other..especially husband on wife…each can go their individual way na!

  16. **Feel free to delete this comment, okie?**

    BTW, I am sorry if I hurt you in any way by telling you that you should take R along when you go to any events in your city. I didn’t mean it that way. What I did mean is that you should have a life even after a child, and figure out ways to do so, at least once in a while.

  17. sjscribbles says:

    Hats off for the post – RM !!!

  18. Ashwathy says:

    The same issue also screws up the job scenario in favour of men. Women trying to take leave for family matters becomes a nuisance. Men don’t do so, so why should women? Arre the whole point is, if the responsibility was equally distributed then the issue wouldn’t arise in the first place! Hmph!!

  19. am says:

    You said it so well R’s Mom 🙂

    It bugs me too and it applies to every single role we play doesn’t it? It is like standards are superhumanly high if a woman is doing it. And no acknowledgment, no receipt nothing 😉

    And if our guys lift something heavier than a newspaper, there is stampede of aunties (have you noticed that, it is almost always aunties) with citations for him and the ‘stink eye’ for us.

  20. Richa says:

    We really need men and women both to believe in equal parenting. Women, including me, tend to say thank you and feel blessed to have their child taken care of by their husbands for the two hours they spend at the parlour or shopping for groceries. Its pathetic, seriously.

    Kudos to you for writing this!

  21. Amit says:

    The next time someone sympathises with RD, just tell them that it is super easy. You do it all the time and you are just a feeble woman. Surely a husband who is strong and independent can do it, *And give a sarcastic smile at the end*

  22. Sadly, timeless post it is. The situation hasn’t changed one bit.

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