Parenting is a wonderful journey, any parent will tell you that. Of course, like everything else, it has its ups and downs but more importantly parenting is a responsibility. Unfortunately, in our country and other parts of the world the word parent is synonymous with mother. The term ‘father’ shows up in more lofty societal titles, “Father Of This or Father of That”.
The growing involvement of dads was one of the insights that sparked the launch of Pops in a Pod. Between work, marriage, parenting responsibilities and enough coffee cups to keep the local Starbucks in business, the podcast was launched in January last year.
Through the podcast we have come across many interesting parents who have shared their stories, learnings and even struggles. This June we celebrated Father’s Month and as a tribute we invited a few inspiring dads to share their journeys.
Times are changing and so are the fathers, significantly. He now plays an equal part in the upbringing of his child(ren). Through our experience we have noticed that fathers today are no longer your stereotypical babysitters or just the “fun” parent.
And that’s where Lahar Joshi steps in. The advertising and creative professional put his business venture on hold on to become a stay-at-home dad, while his wife became the sole bread-earner.
Lahar is a straight talker and when we probed him as to what motivated him to take this step, his explanation was less extraordinary and more practical. “My wife earned more than me, so yeah I decided to stay back and manage the kids” said Lahar nonchalantly. He continues to question the norm saying ‘What’s the big deal?’.
Lahar views his role as a parent as that of a coach, where it is not his responsibility to know what each person does but to ensure that they work collectively as a unit.
This modern avatar of dad is one who is passionately involved in his child(ren)’s life journey. We see dads balance their work, life, and share equal responsibilities with the wife on the home front because if it takes two to make then it takes two to raise.
It’s stories like these that pushed us to look for more such dads because we knew that they exist. There were more dads who think and parent equally but we rarely get to hear their stories, where he gets involved with the kids from food to snooze and everything in between.
Another dad we spoke with was Ankit Jindal, a marketing professional with Wipro. Ankit has a genetic condition that has made him visually impaired. Planning for a child was not an easy subject for Ankit and his wife, in the end his wife gave him a lot of strength and they decided to become parents. Today he is a dad to a healthy and strong boy.
Ankit’s journey of being a dad was far from easy. With his disability he did face unavoidable moments when his son would question him about his lack of sight. Instead of receding in the background Ankit took it upon himself to educate his son about his condition and sensitize him about people with disabilities. Ankit sits with his son during his classes and even though he cannot actively participate, ensures that he is around to help in his best capacity.
A dad with a unique set of challenges is Yan Garin, a Frenchman married and settled in India. The Country Head at Ecole intuit.lab, a design institute based in Mumbai has traveled to over 50 countries and is still surprised everyday by India.
As an expat dad, Garin decided to stay in India as he found it easier and he doesn’t regret it. As the head of a design institute Yan looks at objects not as just colours and patterns but as problem-solution. This is one aspect that he tries to imbibe into his sons through extra curricular activities. He spends his weekends with his sons guiding them to be curious and embrace the arts through DIY activities like building models, creating electronic components and stop-motion animation. Yan’s philosophy for them is that there are many things in the world and the more you look the more you discover.
We ended the Fathers’ Month with a self-proclaimed ‘swaddle ninja’ Mohijit Mukerjee. He also holds another distinct title, The Pandemic Dad. Mohijit and his wife become parents smack in the middle of the pandemic.
Mohijit, a Spotifier, shared with us some very interesting tit-bits of planning to be parents during these testing times. He highlighted the support that they received from his gynaecologist and how she put them to ease through the pregnancy. Don’t miss THAT Uber story from this episode.
Through our journey of Pops In A Pod we are getting more and more convinced that there are many dads out there who are doing their best and being involved. It is no longer acceptable to just show up. Showing up is just the first step and there are many more steps later that makes one a parent.