Traditional roles have placed Dads as the providers and mothers as the nurturers. However, this is changing fast in the current environment with more women mastering the workplace and more fathers stepping in to provide backup within the house and with children. Nevertheless, it is tough to break away from established norms. I too have stepped up to the plate to offer my wife back up and support as she juggles demands of career, family and home. Here are a few of my thoughts:
The first thing for Dads is to remember at all times is that they are equally responsible in conception and birth of a child. While the mother does the hard work of carrying the baby for nine months and then delivering the child, Dads too have contributed in creating a living being and, therefore, they too must take responsibility for bringing up the child.
#2:Pram in not embarrassing
Second, seeing pushing a pram in not embarrassing at all. Yes, take the child for an evening stroll, carry a change of diapers, some water and milk and spend the evening bonding with the child outside the confines of the house, preferably in nature. It is also a great way to take a break and refresh yourselfs.
#3: Avoid Sleeping in other room
Third, avoid sleeping in another room basis the excuse that the child waking up in the middle of the night will disturb your sleep. It is the same for the mother. While there may be work pressure to deal with, picking up the baby in the night if it cries can only help in reducing the stress on the mother. Yes, in the initial few months, the child may wake up for a feed, but there are ways around that as well andother times too when the Dads can easily assist.
#4: Diaper duty is not painful
Fourth, the diaper duty is not that painful. Mothers are usually exhausted in nurturing the child during odd hours, running around with them the whole day and barely have any time for themselves. Taking on simple tasks only lessen the load on the mother.
#5: Sing Rhymes when needed
Fifth, reading to the child and singing nursery rhymes in the formative years is extremely essential and crucial. Dads can bring in some element of fun by making their own renditions of some popular rhymes, or singing in different accents and tones, using hand puppets and props. Try it – will be a lot of fun – and not just for the child. In fact over the years it can transition into an interesting bedtime ritual between the father and the child, leaving mother free to catch a few minutes in front of TV or read a chapter or two.
#6:Strengthen and toughen them
Sixth, being rough in order to strengthen and toughen them, to doing piggy back rides are all fine and expected of the Dads, but it is also important for them to consider and play an active role in the health and well-being and safety of the child. Doctor’s visits, sports classes, etc. are all places the fathers can participate and contribute.
#7:Help doing Homework
Seventh, the homework is not always the mothers prerogative. Most often than not, it is implied that teaching is the domain of the mothers, why should it be limited to one parent alone. In some subjects the Dads may have a natural knack of teaching but they can and should definitely contribute in imparting knowledge to the child.
#8:Teach them Financial Prudence
Eighth, teach them financial prudence early on in their lives. Bring home a piggy bank. Invent s system of rewards and recognition for good work as they grow older. It could be as simple as picking up and putting their shoes in place which earns them a rupee as reward. Balancing the reward and recognition is also important as else, they would tend to grow up demanding the same for each and every thing they accomplish.
#9:Make weekends counts
Ninth, Assuming that the week is spent in earning the bread and butter, there would be hardly any time left for the family to bond during the week. Make weekends count, wherein, the entire family spends time bonding with each other. It could be simple excursions to the Zoo or the local museum or a meal cooked together. The idea being quality time with the family.
#10:Dad and child time is another aspect
Tenth, While the mother, on virtue of her spending the maximum time with the child (assumption here is that the mother is not working), will know the child inside out, the same can only be achieved if the Dads spend some quality time bonding with the child. The emotional connect can be extremely powerful in such cases when the fathers spends quality time alone with the child without any distractions, so make sure to leave the mobile phones, ipads and TV out of the equation. This has a dual benefit as the mothers also get some me-time for themselves.
My son is growing up fast, and it is easy to lose them as they hit the adolescent years. It has been my endeavor that he sees me as a friend who he can come to for advise and rely upon. So if he is ever in doubt, I would rather he come to me than turn to questionable advise form other kids his age. But this level of relationship has to be built from day one and nurtured throughout.