Not so perfect Father Figures

Is Becoming Parents a natural choice for Newly Wed Indian Couples?

I don’t know how to make tea. He can’t stand my Murabba.
Both of us love our grilled chicken and vodka.
I don’t know how to drive a car. He doesn’t like my Yo-bike.
We never miss our evening walk.
I love my afternoon siesta. He can’t wait to try his reverse engineering at noon.
Both of us spend the whole night watching the stars.

I can’t control my anger; anytime. He can’t stop checking his phone, anywhere.
We both listen when our child speaks.
I love to listen to regional folk songs. Nothing dares to come between Arnab Goswami and him.
We both love to spend evenings sipping vodka, listening to Ghulam Ali and watching Elementary.
I can watch Rhet Butler n number of times. He can’t stop praising Captain Spock.
We both love to watch the latest Bollywood drama first day first show.
Still, deeply, madly in love with each other, we can’t stay apart for more than a day.
Both of us married to each other and that makes us a couple. 
Not so perfect, but still together we may make a good team as a parent. Let’s give it a try.
I will clean, bathe, feed and massage the baby. 
You will tell her weird stories, play ball with her and put her to sleep.

Sounds like a Disney production’s urban fairy tale? Maybe yes. 
Because life doesn’t always give you perfect situations.

 The baby doesn’t sleep when you want it to. Cleaning the baby not so easy and making it eat without much fuss, a mission impossible. Managing all these new roles along with your own personal needs and aspirations seems an equally impossible job. We see parents all around us: hotels, temples, parks, tourist places, buses, shopping malls, airports and schools. For many of them, it is their first time, while others are seasoned in the jobs. The first –timers tread cautiously, sometimes too carefully. They hesitate to err and so follow into the shoes of their peers, neighbours or relatives. Some adventurous parents do try new practices and sometimes succeed while some times err and learn. Some still living in the oblivion, let the babies have their way. Every couple lives by their own rules or sometimes no rules.

Shaping the future of a child is such an important activity for all parents, but surprisingly there are no grooming schools for this job. In India, while you will find tuitions for all kinds of jobs; you will hardly find any coaching institute for dealing with post-partum depression/ babysitting/ how to make the baby burp. All of us may not become doctors, engineers, civil servants/ bankers but yes, most of us will definitely be in a relationship, get married and probably have children.

In India, most of the parents get the advice from their close relatives, neighbours and/or friends. In very rare instances, people take the help of books, experts and/or your own partner. After marriage, there’s hardly any planning done for conceiving a baby. It’s because of the social pressure, not to forget the ever ready mothers and mother-in-laws, couples are forced to plan a baby. In such a situation, it becomes very important that the couple decides their priorities together, without any compromise coming in between.

Before they decide to have the baby, it is important to know each other’s weaknesses and strengths; whims and fancies as well as dreams and ambitions. In today’s world of equality, ambitions play a very important role in a relationship. It is equally important for partners to respect each other’s abilities and ambitions. If there is a need to make any compromises to accommodate a child, it should be a mutually agreed decision and not a forced one. I have many times been called a Mother India for quitting my job as an IAF officer. Some of my friends think I am earning a lot more in the civil street and they aren’t competitive enough to take the risk. 

 But very few understood that it was a well-planned decision made by both of us because we wanted to enjoy our daughter’s childhood. So if one wasn’t able to be around, at least the other was ready to shoot the Princess’ development. Neither of us feels guilty or jealous for making some changes in our lifestyle. I still don’t know how to cook and he still makes me draft his letters. One need not to always feel that a supreme sacrifice is required from only the would-be- mothers; when getting ready for the child. It can be a practical decision too. One of my friends, a civil servant in a state government; has a techie husband baby-sitting their son and at the same time working from home 24/7. Instead of leaving things to destiny, it’s always better to be a little more planned in living our life.

Once the decision to have a baby is made, it is always better to take expert’s help in how to spend the nine months of pregnancy. Many times it’s more of a punishment for the lady as she has to keep in mind many restrictions while the husband is free to enjoy his bachelor dandies once again. An advice for ladies: enjoy and explore as you are also free from those monthly painful days only for these nine months. Sometimes, a couple’s limited sexual activities during pregnancy, creates distance between them. Occasional romantic outings, movie screenings, drives and /or foreplay night outs with other couples will do the trick. Any interesting and positive activity will ensure the baby’s well-being as well as foster togetherness of the couple. 

Finally, as Nadal said on being fined for slow play at French Open: ‘Players are not machines. We need time to breathe.’ Similarly, couples need time to know each other and keep falling in love with each other again and again. And, it takes equal time to plan healthy and happy babies; and become their not so perfect Father Figures.

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