There was a time when only women were expected to take a break from their careers, if they wanted to embrace motherhood. Choosing between a child and a job was inevitable for most women not many moons ago. But with a gradual shift in attitudes, and equal distribution of responsibilities, things are changing.
Today, several men are taking a step back from their professional lives to become stay-at-home dads, not just internationally, but even in India.
As the world is set to celebrate June 21 as Father’s Day, we speak to a few men, who have consciously left their jobs to take care of their children at home.
The 37-year-old former retail professional has been taking care of his daughters, Tulip (4) and Ayana (13 months), for the past one year.
Travelling and visiting retail sites would consume a lot of my time. I wouldn’t get to spend quality time with my daughters. So, I started working from home, and doing consultations. I work for a couple of hours every day, and the rest of the time is dedicated to the upbringing of my kids. It all started by getting Tulip dressed up for school or taking her to the park in the evening.
My daughters and I are early risers. I take my kids for cycling and sports training between 8am and 8.45am. Then we go home, and I prepare breakfast for them. We listen to some music. In the meantime, my wife prepares lunch and leaves for work. I’m a good cook as well. My wife, Trupti, and kids love to eat everything I prepare. They especially relish my dum biryani and egg/paneer bhurji. I read books to Ayana and play with her, while checking my office emails and calls at the same time. At around 6pm, I take them out to play. My wife returns by 7pm and prepares dinner. We end our day with a stroll post dinner.
For me, taking care of my kids is a responsibility, rather than a job. Women also need their space and a chance to explore their potential, or else what’s the point of getting all the education and being confined to the home? Fathers, too, need to develop a sense of responsibility towards their children.
The 41-year-old has been a stay-at-home dad to his daughter, Adel (4), for the past one year. He works from home as a graphic artist for an e-learning company
When I worked in the office, I never had enough time to spend with her. There were days when I didn’t even get to speak to her. That’s why I took this decision. Taking care of my daughter has changed my life. I am happy to spend more time with her.
My day starts when my wife leaves for work at 7am. Adel wakes up post that. My first task is to give her a bath. After serving her breakfast and getting her dressed, I drop her off to school. My wife, Maryann, who is a school teacher, returns after 2pm. Since I work from home, at times, it gets difficult to manage my daughter, and fulfill my professional commitments simultaneously. In such a scenario, I keep her occupied with activities that she enjoys doing, like drawing and listening to music. To save time, I order food from outside. When I have to work for extra hours, my wife comes home and takes over.
Luckily, I’ve never faced any criticism from people because of my lifestyle. I live life on my own terms. There is nothing wrong if a father takes care of his kid. It is the responsibility of every man to provide his child not just financial support, but also love and care.‘I don’t worry about what people say’
Martis (47) has worked with a hotel, and in the HR department of a private firm in the past. He has been taking care of his sons, Keith (17) and Aryan (9) for the past seven years.
After Aryan’s birth, I was told by a neurologist that he needed special attention, because he has cerebral palsy. So, either my wife, Cecelia, or me, had to give up our careers to take care of him.
My day starts at 6am. After cooking for all of us, my wife leaves at 8am. I am in charge thereon. I wake my son up at 9am, brush his teeth, feed him breakfast, and then I ready him for school. I drop my son to the school on my scooter. I have designed a special belt, which makes sure we have a safe journey. Initially, I would need help from people to get him seated on a two-wheeler, but now, this belt has been helpful. Aryan comes back from school at 1pm, while Keith returns at 2pm. I have my lunch only after I feed Aryan. My wife is back from work at 6pm. I go to the market to buy groceries post that.
Saturdays and Sundays are offs for all of us. But I finish all my work on Saturday itself, so that we spend time together on Sunday. On these two days, Aryan gets extra care. But I miss taking him on the scooter because that’s when he is really excited.
If Aryan was not a special child, I don’t think I would be sitting at home, and looking after my children. I have often been criticised and looked down upon by my relatives and people from my area, though covertly, for taking care of my children, and not working. I have even tried to explain to them the reasons for doing this. I don’t worry about what people say. My family’s happiness is all that matters to me. Fathers should experience what their wives and mothers go through to raise their kids. My day starts when Aryan wakes up with a smile, and it ends when I put him to bed in the night, which brings a smile on my face.