As a mother, I feel very proud when I read about how babies have a very strong bond with their mothers even before they are born. After Vedu came along, there have been so many instances when I have beamed at the way she calms down with just a touch from me, after desperate efforts from others, even Hari.
However, as a mother, there are times when I feel bad too at the way the role of mothers is glorified to such an extent that fathers end up being a silent shadow. And I feel that it is unfair to them, at least, in the present age. I know how mothers are considered goddesses in our country. Mother’s love is the be-all and end-all of one’s life, especially son’s. But this feeling of supreme respect for mothers has its roots not in a strong belief in women empowerment or respect for women in general, but in a rigid patriarchal mindset that is a part of our upbringing.
While father is considered the “bread winner” for the family, mother – even a working mother – is not really acknowledged for the financial support she provides, but for the extreme multitasking that she is an expert in, when she juggles all her responsibilities in all aspects of her life. And the primary reason for this is that household chores are considered “her” responsibility.
We all grew up watching mothers wake up even before daylight breaks, cook four meals a day, clean the house, do the laundry, get the kids ready for school, pick out an outfit for the father, and do millions of little and bigger things all day, manage her job with all these if they work, and be the ones to switch off the lights and ‘close’ the kitchen for the day late at night. We were used to watching mothers be the last to eat, making sure that everyone had enough of everything, be the ones to put the kids to sleep, stay up all night if they were unwell or cranky, while fathers had blissful sleep because they were too tired after the day’s work and resting in front of the TV all evening. Not that all the fathers of the previous generations have been the same. But this has been the general picture that was painted because it was like this in most of the households.
Times are changing and so are men. If not all, if not a lot, at least some men are redefining the role of a father. I can vouch for this because I am mother to a baby girl who is taken care of equally by her Acha and Amma. He is the one who runs to her room if she jumps up from her sleep crying in the middle of the night. He is the one who wakes up first when she wakes up early in the morning. No matter how late he slept, he wouldn’t disappoint a naughty bundle of energy who is all eager to run around the house and play after a restful sleep. He makes sure that I get undisturbed, continuous sleep, so that I am not exhausted or low owing to a lack of sleep. He is the one who gets more concerned when she falls sick. He is the one who feeds her breakfast before taking a short nap and rushing to work. He is the one who bathes her, feeds her and takes care of her all day long on holidays. And even during the peak season when he has hardly 3-4 hours of sleep a day, he makes it a point to help me out at home and take care of Vedu, alongside managing his hectic schedule at work.
So the next time you think of sharing posts that say “Mother’s love is the purest” or “Love your mother the most because you won’t get another one” – think again. Literally and otherwise, you won’t get another father either. Both are unique in their own ways. The love that both have for their children is pure and unmatchable too.
If you love “Mother’s Day”, love “Father’s Day” equally too. Or better yet, make everyday their day. That’s the best you can do to make them happy. 🙂
Also published on Medium.