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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Here’s to the Working Fathers! and their woes…

Pregnancy- Right from the time when the news of the pregnancy is shared with the world, all pampering happens to the Mom-to-be. They get the license to eat whatever they want, even take more than their fair share off the husband’s plate. He doesn’t have the freedom to eat anything the mere sight of which may be a potential cause of nausea to the wife. Suddenly everyone seems to side with the wife. The biggest ditcher is the mother. Overnight the DIL becomes the best, most loved and most cared for. All healthy, nutritious, tasty food is made for her and the poor, ignored son is made to do all the hard work including the simple tasks of switching on the fan & the tough sacrifice of handing over the TV remote to the wife.
They bear the brunt of the sudden bursts of emotion & are made to respond to all the whims of the pregnant wife. And do they get to buy paternity clothes? While women can use the occassion to shop every trimester for new maternity wear, then post partum wear and then new clothes again once they are back in shape.

Post delivery- The situation is the same- if at all worse as the baby also joins the league.
A whole bunch of relatives will appear on the scene to help the new mother & none come to help the new father. Nobody prepares the new father – they have to learn the game themselves. If the Mom is a working mom, she additionally gets to take the maternity leave from the so supportive workplace. And some grant paternity leave to make sure that he gets to support the just-delivered wife in hospital, take care of the new baby, change diapers and hold the baby when the mom wishes to relax.

Re-prioritization- the loving wife becomes the loving mother and the order of priority is baby, baby, baby, self (so that she can take care of the baby), house (since everything has to be clean so that baby does not get affected), relatives (who are helping with the baby), maid (to help with the baby) and not to forget- husband.

Working Hours- And does the working father get a break at all? Maybe the Mom gets to sleep when the baby sleeps. When Dad gets back home, he is handed over the baby, in the name of bonding even before he manages to remove his shoes. And of course- the Mom is tired after taking care of the baby whole day while Dad is whiling away time at office. And weekends are never the same again. Since Mom takes care the entire week, Dad has to fill in during the weekends. So all hopes of even a small afternoon nap flies out of the window as Dad dare not express the wish of a nap to Mom who does not get any break during week days. Of course all repair work, home maintenance work and shopping has to happen during the weekend so that Dad can do/ supervise. Mom is willing to do it if Dad promises to take care of the baby without even once calling Mom for help!

And the Nights- since the doc has advised- no diapers at night, keep the baby comfortable, Dad is supposed to do the change of nappies and then hand over the baby to the waiting mom for feeding. If still the baby doesn’t sleep, Dad will hold the baby and walk around till (s)he sleeps. After all Mom has been doing exactly this the whole day and also elders say that the mother will find it difficult to put the baby to sleep. The baby will be able to recognize the mother and then expect that feeding routine will take place and therefore will not sleep. So the indulgent Dad has to do the drill. Same for bottle feeding- Dr Spock says mom should leave the room when baby is fussing when bottle fed.
While Mom can sleep till late in the morning if the baby allows so, Dad has to get up & go for work – on time. Even miss breakfast if the entire household is busy with the baby.

Touring- Wonder if it happens to the mom, but kids refuse to recognize the dad when he comes back after a longish tour.
When my husband came back home form a 3-week tour the little monsters decided that they did not know him at all, until he sat down to do his daily puja & rang the bell. When Tejas was 6 weeks old, Hubby suddenly materialsed after a 2-week tour and planted a kiss on his cheeks- the little fellow spent about 20 minutes crying in fear.

Separation Pangs- of course Dad also misses the baby- whether in office or while touring. Some times they also miss out in being the first one to witness the milestone happening.

Performance Anxiety- diapering, holding the baby, making the baby sleep, baby should not cry in his lap etc etc. Basically be good at everything the mom does and be evaluated for the performance by everyone.

Bad Cop- Dad gets to be the monster- wait till Daddy comes; I will tell him all that you did today.

There, Dads of the world, I have taken up your cause. You may contribute and add to the list while we Moms may look for more occasions of making you bond with the children.

Edited to add
This post is linked to CHBM in response to the Carnival


the_outsider said...


Hats off to you for generating such prodigious output and each post is stronger than the previous one.

This post comes as a breath of fresh air.
So that means Moms do observe what happens to the Dads and are hopefully appreciative.

Or wait! is this post some kind of trap to get dads to comment on how good they are and then bash them on the head :-)) Just joking ;-0

Artnavy said...

dads get pampered too- by their MIL & of course their kid(s)- and they get photographed much more with the kid because the mom is the camera weilder!! - u know that.

How do we know said...

Phenomenal!! Just plain Phenomenal! All new dads in the world will bow to your empathy and cheerish the fact that they finally found someone who understands their pains too.. what makes the victory sweeter is that the empathiser is a woman!!

A little like a Britisher founding the Indian National Congress!

Great Post!!

Kalpana said...

When at experience, will know about it... So, no comment.

mommyof2 said...

ur right.. Still nothing compared to 9month pregnancy with hormonal change effect, few of them, which I think last lifetime:-)

Anusha said...

My DH will totally appreciate this post, especially this line: hehe :)
So all hopes of even a small afternoon nap flies out of the window as Dad dare not express the wish of a nap to Mom who does not get any break during week days.

Anonymous said...

Please, PLEASE tell me this was a satirical piece! You mean to say DADs should get equal sympathy and attention just for saying "Awww, you poor baby" occasionally? Thats all they CAN do during the pregnancy - right?

Well, in my opinion, dads can expect to get the same level of pampering, support and attention when they carry the baby for nine months, worrying every second about the excessive movements or none at all, going through the monumental hormonal changes, experiencing morning sickness, bearing the (unasked for) advices of all mausis and chachis with a grin, waddling like a whale and other numerous things that happen through pregnancy. Then I'll say dads and moms should receive equal treatment during pregnancy. After childbirth, it is a whole new story. (don't even get me started on that) :D

Sorry! Didn't mean to vent. This is a nicely written piece - dads do need a voice to tell the world the part they play in child-rearing. Some points just touched a nerve that is still raw I guess. I thought I was over all of it!!

Twisted DNA said...

Wonderfully written! You captured most of what I went through. It was fun though :)

The only thing differnt in my case though, is the "performance anxiety". In our case it was mom who was feeling that.

Also teh "Bad cop" thing. In most families I know, mom is the bad cop. Dass always pamper the kids. I know I do :)

The Inquisitive Akka said...

:-)Loved it!

Has to be me said...

Wow....gud 2 note that u've supported the Dads here! Im sure all the DADs wld love to read this post! Good thinking!

Garam Bheja Fry said...

hi, I am a final year student and i am still a long way from fatherhood...will definitely refer this post, say 5-7 years from now..:)

btw thanx for visiting my blog..:)


Sree said...

This is what I call being fair, a good one... I am sure S would feel the same a year or so down the line :-).

Itchingtowrite said...

outsider- thanks so much for the good words & encouragement. and yes- u never know my intentions!
art- so rue- mil treat the son in law as if he is god's gift to her daughter..
how do we know- great analogy
kalpana- keep the fingers crossed
mom of 2- read my next post- completely empathises with the women
@- thanks,inspite of me writing this post, i don't let hubby sleep
- after all, I am a woman too & i hav a right to do it
gettingtherenow- 2 sides of a coin- even men face a few difficulties, but i empathise with you. have been thru it too- esp with advices like i shud sweep the floor so that deliver is easy
TDNA- i picked all the cues from my poor suffering hubby
IQA, has to be me, sush - thanks
cardamom- ur blog is great. & welcome to mine. keep coming, who knows u may find something of your interest some day!

Noodlehead said...

Nice post, I should show this to N....only to give him some sleepless nights...hehehehe!

i do empathize with the father-to-be but not nearly enough! i KNOW that it's tougher on the woman...for instance, I have a kazillion dietary restrictions while N can eat anything he wants! I'll be going through the labor pain and N says he'll just wait outside and come in AFTER the baby is born...he doesn't want to see any disturbing sights! I can go on and on and on but I'll stop here! On the plus side, N has adopted my dietary restirctions (cho chweet!) and he did put all my footwear on the top rack so I wouldn't have to bend and he did mention that he appreciated how much I would have to sacrifice while pregnant! The latter makes the former half oh-so-bearable :))