First Wicket Partnership- Parenting Edition - Vibes Of India

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First Wicket Partnership- Parenting Edition

| Updated: February 3, 2022 19:48

We stand at an interesting crossroad, with one leg firmly in the past and the other stepping into the future. As a country rife with contradictions, one may find themselves vacillating between the past and the future with equal ease. We Indians have strong views about everything from religion, culture, politics, gender norms, education to cricket too. And, of course, parenting is no exception to this rule. Your aunt’s next-door neighbour will have a definite opinion about – How you should raise your child. What you should feed your child. And of course, the unflinching who should take care of Your child. 

For those with decided views on cricket, I thought there’d be nothing better than a sporting analogy. Cricket, as you know, is a team sport; you may have a great batsman, but his runs will mean nothing if the rest of the batting lineup fails to perform. Similarly, a solid first wicket partnership between two batsmen will provide the necessary momentum and ensure a strong run rate and a competitive total for the team. Parenting is just like this; it’s a team sport. Having a great parent will give you chances of success, but having a great set of parents will increase your chances manifold. 

The gender roles in India are fixed, the duties of men and women have been bifurcated, and child-rearing firmly rests in the latter’s domain. Growing up, my dad was a very protective parent; he doted on me, spent time with me, yet he never attended a single PTA meeting or sports day, not because he didn’t care; it was just something that my mom handled. My mom looked after my education, extracurriculars, knew my teachers, my friends; basically, she was the nucleus of my universe, and dad was the cell wall in the periphery providing protection. And he was the most involved of any of my friend’s fathers. 

Times have changed. I now know enough fathers who have changed the same number of diapers as the mother, who’ve taken equal shifts through the night to feed the baby and who’ve actively divided the responsibilities when it comes to bringing up the baby. My husband had grown up in a set-up similar to mine, and at first, when baby A was a newborn, he was happy to delegate her responsibilities to me. He would tell me what his father had told him, that he’d get more involved in her life once she becomes an adult and needs him. When baby A started crawling, being more emotive and expressive, things changed. He didn’t want to miss out on her childhood; he wasn’t content being on the sidelines. He wanted to be a part of the nucleus too. 

In a family, responsibilities are divided between its members, but this division should not be based on gender and cultural norms. Men doing household chores and taking up babysitting duties doesn’t make them extraordinary it makes them normal. Let us normalise partnership. Parenting is hard – ask any new mother, but it shouldn’t be a lonely and alienating affair too. Lend a hand, be a better parent, and by default, you’ll end up being a better spouse. And you never know your baby’s first words could be Da Da – I know Baby A’s were.

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