Tag Archives: Bonding with kids

Part time father, full time daddy

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The alarm goes off sharp at 6AM on the Monday morning. Lazily, I turn around and hit the snooze button. Ten minutes are precious and with that I turn around and drape my arms around the little bundle that is rolling all over the bed.  I finally hit the shower at 6.30 while my daughter gets her milk and my wife begins the ritual of getting her ready for school.  We need to leave at 7.30 and its always a mad rush with us just about make it to the car, after the customary goodbyes and ‘see you on Friday’ routine……

The school bus picks her up from her mother’s place and the mother and daughter catch up over the next ten minutes before we get her onto the bus – her mother goes off into the apartment building and I drive off to work…. Well that’s the culmination of the weekend that I have spent with my kiddo until the next weekend.

I lose track of the day and get home later in the evening to what seems like much quieter and emptier house – there is no noise of small feet coming running towards me, ready to jump on me with a hug or a visibly upset little girl boxing me with all her might when she her daddy does not understand her :).  Yeah, it is much quieter and an evening that I clearly dread every day of the week.  I realise, that its amazing as I have been used to this routine to over three and a half years now and yet every Monday seems like the first.  I am not a man to exaggerate, but every Monday morning leaves a void that slowly gets filled as the week moves on only to split wide open the next week.

My wife and I sit, discuss the day, watch some TV and invaibly end up laughing at all my daugter’s antics over the weekend. Yeah, Mondays are depresessing for the world and for me even more so.  I have a shorter fuse, I don’t have time for anyone really and I just want to sit with my drink at the end of the day and not have to worry about anyone else. Wishing to drown away every other thing that surrounds my existence right now….

Every Monday I keep wondering whether I could have done things differently, been a better husband or a better parent to have avoided this dual life that my child now needs to lead.  She clearly associates weekdays with ‘mumma’ and weekends with ‘papa’.  As she has grown over the years, I have tried connecting with her during the week so she knows that I miss her and love her through the week. But not even being five years old right now, she clearly has other priorities when daddy calls her in the middle of play time with friends.  Even then, she will come speak with me, tell me what she’s upto before she runs off to play.  The girl’s a sweetheart and breaks my heart even more.

So what do I really do on the weekend – hmmm… I make sure I feed her atleast two to three meals myself, give her one bath atleast, help her select her clothes (but with her sense of fashion she doesn’t need too much help from daddy :)), help her with her homework – we agree on a schedule of what needs to be done and when, read her a couple of stories at bedtime (if she has already not passed out with all the activity over the day), take her to a mall where daddy and kiddo play games together (she does bring out the kid in me as we race cars and zoom on bikes in the gaming arcade :)).  In between, she will run off with her young friend, who she calls her little sister, go play with my bro’s pet beagle, catch a nap together, top up daddy’s drinks with ice and also watch an overdose of ninja hattori…

We make sure she gets to bed on time on Sunday night so she is bright on Monday morning and by the time its Sunday night, both my wife and I are sombre – not always because we are tired of having done much but just dreading the quiet that would descend on the house next week.

In such weekends, I have often had a conversation with my daughter which goes something like this

Me – So sweetheart, papa is really going to miss you during the week. Will you also miss me?

Kiddo – I will miss you too papa

Me – so sweetheart why don’t you stay back with papa – after you go papa will be all lonely and so sad…..

Kiddo – but I will back no papa?  Hmm… When will I come back????

Me (smiling ) – on Friday

Kiddo – see papa, I will be back on Friday, mumma also must be missing me no ?

So much of sense is a body so small is crazy and amazing. I just hope I can be level headed enough to match this pint sized person.  I can’t argue much with that and more often than not I will end up giving her a kiss as we move back to whatever we were doing before that.

So it always brings me back to the question as to whether I am really doing enough to make a lasting and positive impact on my child’s life?  I remember recently reading many articles which stressed on how fathers should spend atleast a couple of hours a day with their children, understanding their day, having a conversation, reading them stories and just connecting with them at some level so that they build that long term relationship with their child.  Well, I really don’t have the option do I?  All I can do is make sure that I connect with her during the week as much as I can or she permits with the hope that she will be more willing as she grows up and yearns for more daddy time…..

And this situation does drive me a little to paranoia most of the time – to ensure that I really get enough face time with her and yet she has fun when she comes over. After all, after a few years, she will most likely choose her friends over her ‘fuddy duddy’ daddy anyways and unless she has fun here this face time is likely to reduce even further.  So trying to be involved and maybe doing many of the things that regular dads do over the space of a week I need to sometime cram into the two precious days I have with her.  My biggest fear and also my biggest driver being that I will look back on my life and realise that I really don’t have a bond with my daughter. That is by far my greatest fear……

I recently read a proverb which I had long since forgotten – “Any man can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad”

I became a father nearly five years ago, but I hope I make a dad at some point in my life and there will really be no proof other than the bond I will share with my daughter.

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Mums, kids and the other parent

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 As I sit down to write this piece, off the bat, I visualize two very distinct reactions 1) from the few guys that do read this – “dude, stop acting like a chick” and 2) from more mature people – “this boy still needs to grow up and understand life”.  Well, what the heck, it’s my blog and I write what I want.

So a small context to the entire piece – I am a divorced man on the wrong side of 30 with a 4 year old daughter, who lives with me on the weekends and vacations.  It appears that I suffer from an uncommon ailment called “insecurity” of “the concept”.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a good looking, confident and very modest man 🙂  but I just can’t seem to understand the entire society’s obsession with maa kya pyaar (a mother’s love)  when it comes to a child.  So the title of this piece and “The concept”.

Ever since I can remember – for the male species and in the last few years for me as an individual member of this species, it has been engrained into our psyche that we are the lesser parent.  Talk about the weaker sex!!!!!!  So we may be the most accomplished, confident men but when it comes to a child (no less our child)….dudes….you are never in the race of being a model parent.  It’s like you’re preparing to run the marathon and Usain Bolt has already won the sprint gold…..

Having never been at the receiving end of any discrimination I got a first real taste of this discrimination (not sure what else to call it) when my ex-wife (including her large family) would continually tell me that no matter what I did I would never understand the depth of a mother’s love for her child.  So don’t get me wrong, my ex is a good person and a fantastic mother, but it’s not really my fault that I did not carry our daughter for nine months, or give birth to her…hell knows, I guess, if it was biologically possible…I might have done it…. (note to self – google up the man who recently had a baby before making such claims in future).  Does that make me any lesser a parent that my daughter’s mother? NO SIR.

So when we do have these discussions, which re quite animated after a few drinks, informed people, then quote studies and tell me how it has been proven that both parents are equally important in nurturing a child. But (and there’s a big one here), the same people will not bat an eyelid and quote the dreaded words “but she’s the mother you know, understand that” at the first sign of my attempting to assert fatherly dominance in my daughter’s life.

This entire concept was further beaten into me during the entire legal process of the divorce. Starting from well-wishers and finally my lawyer nailing the coffin and telling me that the law would also favour the mother unless proven otherwise.  It’s like being guilty until proven innocent!!!!! Sure, my work schedule is tougher than my ex (like a lot of men), but would the courts even consider custody to the father if the professional roles were reversed… Am not a legal eagle but I think I know the answer there.

So this whole “concept” has been irritating me for a while now and by the time I have reached here, the few readers that I have, have already logged off at the nonsensical rambling of a lunatic.  But I shall continue for the pleasure of the few that persist 🙂  So what did I do next….like any reasonable tech savvy person, googled up to see if there was some godforsaken formula or something where I could input some random data and see a result that said — dude, you are actually more important than your ex – to your daughter.  Alas (for my poor male brethren out there) there was no such algorithm. Can you believe that?

And that really brought me to the deeper question – WHY AM I COMPETING FOR THE LOVE OF MY CHILD?????? That little mite has so much love to give everyone that there is enough to go around and some……

Even though I do my best to ignore the obvious, realization dawns and I finally figure out that in a way, I am a still bitter about my divorce and maybe the pangs of guilt still exist that I could not make it work.  I have always been good at anything I did, (I did mention I am very modest) and the crumbling of the marriage was the first real sign of failure in my life and maybe a big bruise to my large but fragile ego.  I somehow needed to prove to myself that I was the better parent and that my exs decision to end the marriage (there’s goes one more secret down the drain) was not the best decision for any one of us….So this entire aversion to “the concept” appears really to be an effort on my part to consciously massage my ego.  At this point, the handful of men still reading this are like “dude you just lost your right to be invited to a boys night out and the next thing you’ll tell us that Titanic is your favourite movie”….hmmmm…. never really thought of that but no….it’s just to sugary for me….. More such realizations and I could be an enlightened one very soon….

Also, it never occurred to me to check with my sisters what their views were and how was their relationship with our father.  I know, there are some things that a daughter will always confide in her mother – her first crush, her first kiss or even her boyfriend but I just wish that would be me.  In my case, it would be even more unlikely since I have been convinced since her birth that I need to buy a shotgun the day my daughter hits her teens.  I was once a young man and I know :).

So this really has nothing to do with me competing with my ex but just the love I feel for my child. Is that any less? Then why is it always beaten down on me that “she’s the mother, you have to understand”.  To top it all off, during one of my random net surfing episodes I read an article (another proven study, mind you) that confirms that boys lose more in the absence of a father figure and not girls….WOO HOO… way to go on building the confidence, buddy!!!!! Somehow such ‘empirical pieces of evidence’ have a way of finding their way to me.  Reminds me of one of the episodes of THE Simpons – where Homer ends up seeing donuts everywhere…while I do love the show, I think my parenting skills are by far better than that of Homer’s…..

So where does that really leave me now…..All I can say is that I have a great relationship with my daughter but where the relationship would be 10 years down the line is potentially all up to me and the effort I make…. Hopefully at that point in time my insecurity would have gone (to some extent) and I would grab the love she doles out with both my hands. Maybe I will even have the courage to show her this piece and watch her expression as she reads it…. What she will say I don’t know but I know what I want her to say…..

Till then I just need to reconcile to the fact that ‘the concept’ will most likely always exist and there’s not really much that one can do to fight it……kids have so much to give and we waste the time trying to fit them into our moulds and make them our pretty little trophies to brag about….

So LADIES and GENTLEMEN (hopefully atleast one man has survived through this long, winding note), welcome to the ramblings of a confused man and many more to come.

In the words of the great poets of the modern era – JOURNEY – Don’t stop believing, hold onto that feeling, streetlight people……