For fathers managing child single-handedly during the paternal break can be difficult. However there are a few important considerations which fathers should factor as they plan to get started.
1. At a high-level develop a plan for the period identifying plans and the milestones for progress towards getting your child more self-sufficient, typical day of a Latte Dad, resources needed to manage the day and to execute the plan. Few examples from my experience
In our case, we aimed to get our child on day-long day care by the end of the 2.5 months with milestones for half-day and 2 hour-long day care identified
Weekdays were primarily devoted to managing child but the weekends were kept relatively free to ensure I pursued other interests and chores
Resources e.g., support from a maid at home to manage the child are critical for you to manage the period well
2. Given the high attention needed by the kids, days can look non-eventful and energy-consuming. Pursuing interests outside parenting can help you remain motivated, however be cautious of not defining hard targets for self. In my case, visits to coffee-shops, reading business magazines, and coding were regular part of the day. Additionally reading up on work topics and informal conversations with colleagues helps you remain connected to the workplace and makes transition back to work easier.
3. In absence of one stream of income (assuming you are on absence without pay), planning for yourfinancials becomes critical. Given there is no change in the lifestyle, the expenses are likely to remain the same and hence you should plan your financials to manage the expenses during this period. Deferring discretionary high-value spending during and before the break can be one good way to manage financials for this phase
In case you have specific questions or feedback on these considerations, please feel free to add comments or write to me using the ‘Contact Me‘ page.
Like many families in the city [Gurgaon], me and my wife migrated to Gurgaon for work and have a dual-career family. Post the 6 month long maternity leave, when my wife was joining back the office we had a few options around managing the child:
Solicit help from parents to help raise the kids while we were at work
Send the child to day-long day care while we were at work
Quit jobs [one of us] to raise the child
Take a break from work to help raise the child for a few months
After some thinking, we opted for choice 4 because many of the other options seemed unviable and / or did not align with our thinking around parenting and career-aspirations. Choice 4 seemed the most attractive and viable because of the following reasons:
I had not spent enough time with the child so far
I had a strong desire to be a primary care-giver for my child for sometime
I wanted to ensure my wife had a good career [breaks may not go well for career]
I wanted a few months break from my work
So a 2.5 month long-journey started with me taking a break from office and becoming a full-time dad [Latte Dad]. But when compared to the developed countries, the Indian workplace and society has not evolved to accept and enable long enough parental breaks by fathers.
Both my and wife’s workplace do not offer equivalent paternity leaves, and continue to design policies considering mother as the primary care giver
Long paternity breaks come at a cost to the employee e.g., loss of pay, lower performance ratings
Society still considers mothers as primary care-giver with an unstated expectation of sacrifices from the mother for the child at any cost
However I believe these are changing and Indian society will have more Latte Dads in the future. The blogs in this series are intended to help a few parents especially ‘Latte Dads in making’ understand this journey a bit better. I have seen support from my wife, families, office teams and seniors, and this is one of the way to pay the due forward.
This post is in response to a post by Fire Crystal about a girl’s right to career. This blog derives heavily from my personal experience, blogs & books I have read and songs to which I have lent my ears to.
Often many parents ignore the fact that “Ramming one’s point down the throat of another will NOT work no matter how correct the point might be.” The case of Ananya is a typical case of disagreement between a parent and a child where the parent is intolerant to the alternate choice of his child and is trying to enforce his view point onto the child without any (near-to-zilch) logical debate around the issue. More often than not, child in these cases tends to accept these enforced decisions with a caveat of passing the buck to their parents in case of the choice not materializing successfully. But siree, ain’t we fostering an environment wherein a child can easily prefer to be irresponsible?
Parents need to realize that “Individuals need to be themselves responsible for what happens to them. Merely passing the buck is irresponsibility.” Hence, let the child make choices and decisions which impact his/her life the most. Shit might happen but let the buck stop with your child.
Ananya’s dad needs to realize the above said statements. Based on the narration in the post, I deduce that no one has given much effort to convince Ananya’s dad on the matter. Ananya needs to take proactive efforts (probably making him talk to her teachers, the course administrators about the usefulness of the course etc). Moreover, Ananya should reflect the confidence that taking an alternate course will only enhance her chances of leading a better life. If her Dad is able to see such confidence in her, I think he would agree (but this might take time).
In case her Dad disagrees, let Ananya pursue the other course and let her try making a good living out of the other course. In either case, I would urge her to talk and to discuss her desires with her Dad more. Simply do not hold back your thoughts and desire and do not place your happiness in others’ hands. A few lines for Ananya to remember
Remember, There are no free lunches in life.No matter how much support you have from people around you, at the end of the day, you are going to be on your own. YOU are the one who has to live your life, and you are your own staunchest, most unswervingly loyal ally. No one is as concerned about your happiness as you.
P.S: I borrow a few lines from Savage Garden’s song Affirmation – “I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do…… ” – There is no manual to parenting and parents always make decisions keeping the best interest of their child in mind. Their choices are half chances as everybody else’s and hence shit happens.
P.P.S: Some references made in the post belong to the following blogs and you might find these blogs/posts interesting:
This post is in an extension to many posts and comments I have come across on religions recently. Many of the posts and comments have raised points around religion being used as a tool to discriminate and relevance of religion in today’s world. In this post, I would primarily try to present my view on religion’s relevance in the current world.
I think religions are loosing relevance in today’s world. Many bloggers have pointed out that religions today have outlived their use and have not evolved with the pace of the world.
One of the primary reason for this decline in relevance is that unfortunately religions have been too much about God and very less about human. Priests and preachers are too much in love with the traditions and rituals and worry less about the individuals. Theory says firms/institutions (in this context – religion) that focuses on firm’s/institution’s needs instead of it’s customers’ needs and wants (in this context – individuals) falter, fall and disappear.
Today very few religions offer counseling services around fighting stress, coping with pains, practical insights into leading good life. Even if they offer, these are still very naive and built around traditions and rituals and offer no solace to the individual concerned. An example to cite here: catholic churches in south India appealed to Christian couples to have more children (News Article – Catholic church says to have more children). Unfortunately this advice/appeal was issued keeping dwindling Christian population’s impact on Christianity in mind rather than the common good of individuals in mind. The above example indicates the focus of religious institutions – power, traditions and rituals above the common good of individuals involved. This love of religious institutions with traditions, rituals and power makes religions irrelevant to many youths.
So, does that mean religions would perish from the surface of the earth? NO. As religions represent way of life (often with a lagged effect), religious institutions will alter themselves slowly. Though a universal religion might be a very distant dream, I hope religious affiliations will no longer be used to discriminate individuals. For the common good of human being, religion would become a part of private life and would stay away from public life. AMEN.
P.S: I have read through many blogs and opinions of individuals on religion. Some of them which the readers of this blog might find interesting are presented below:
“Civilization made god out of good people (mostly philosophers/social workers) who gave a direction to society may be laid a few pointers to lead life with respect to their structure and situation of the society… Somewhere down these paths people lost the view that these are just ways to live and all is made by humans for humans to live like humans …” – Sumit Mukherjee, a close pal of mine
Well, Riteish proved to be a good entertainer than me and most of my friends thought him to be. The visit was scheduled to shoot a video album for the film “Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai”. The actor accompanied by actress Jacqueline Fernandes, actor Vishal, Ruslaan, Sonal and Shaan. The shoot was fun and Riteish was very entertaining. Hope to see ourselves immortalized in the movie. Till then you can watch a few shots I captured using my mobile phone.
The recent terror attack on Mumbai sent nerve-wracking feelings into the Indian citizens. Outfall of the incident is a “mood of anger, agony and sadness”. A major fallout of the crisis is a turmoil in the sentiments of citizens which has lead to questioning of the governance system of India. A series of blame game has been started by the youths and the urban population of India on the governance in the forms of agitations, peace walks and rallies.
However, in a democratic setup of such a large scale, the blame game completely violates the premises of the democracry because “In a democracry, the government is of the people, by the people and for the people“. The abysmal working of the government needs to be attributed not only to the officials and the politicians of India but also to the people and the youth of India. Consider the facts below :
35% of the Indian population is youth. However, a very few represent the population in Lok Sabha.
In India the poor, who comprise the majority of the demographic, are more likely to vote than the rich and the middle classes, and turnout is higher in rural areas than urban areas. Recently urban area population is the one which is carping about the failure of the system.
Around 10% of Mumbai Youths between 18 and 24 are voters. Think about – how many actually turn to vote on the D-Day !!!!
Has the urban population and the youth of India turned into individuals with external anchor? (An individual with external anchor blames the surrounding, the environment and the system for any fault of his own) Introspection is a must for urban and the youths of India.
One of the first step for making a change in the governance is to be a part of the system and being among the decision makers. Participation of youth in Indian politcal system and bureaucracy is a must for bringing the change expected. It is necessary for the best and the brightest among the youth to join politics and serve the nation. Indian youths have to aspire for a political career path for bringing in a change.
Leaders like APJ Abdul Kalam have constantly raised voice for involving youth in the governance system. He has set himself as a role model for youths who aspire to become a part of Indian democratic and bureaucratic setup. Politicians like Advani (Youth can change the ugly image of Indian Politics) and Rahul Gandhi(Rahul peps Youth) have also raised voices on the same line.Professional Party of India which has endeavored to alter the governance system of India by fighting all seats of the Lok Sabha and forming a Government with honest, patriotic and professional Indians, is one of the recent efforts indicating a change in the mindset of Indian Youths. However, we still need more leaders like Karkare and visionaries like APJ who can incite the desire in Indian youths to be a part of the INDIAN system.
The video is an incident in which me like many other auto-rickshaw commuters in Chennai ended up paying much more than the stipulated amount (Metered Amount – Oops, meters do not work here). The extra amount one pays above the stipulated amount can vary somewhere from 10% to 100%. For new travellers, the extra amount a traveller pays can go upto 200%.
Traffic Meters are installed but are not used by the rickshaw drivers. The commuter needs to fix upon the fare before boarding the auto. Haggling with auto-rickshaws over the fare is an usual scene on the roads of Chennai. Haggling can be based upon your previous amount paid by you for the previous ride to the destination or based on some other commuters’ advice. Even, a day-to-day commuter cannot persuade the driver to agree upon the correct fare. Result – every rickshaw commuter pays much more than what he is supposed to.
I have payed an amount equivalent to the metered amount for the ride only once during my one year stay in Chennai. Thanks to a Tamil speaking person who haggled and argued with the rick-driver. For a non-Tamil speaker the job will be an Herculean Task, a task next to impossible as per my opinion. The only place from where you can board an auto which accepts metered amount is the railway station auto-rickshaw stand. Unlike any other metro-politan cities in India, where few auto-rickshaws stationed at airport or selected few locations charge sum above metered amount, the unfair practice is prevalent and practised by auto-rickshaw drivers of nearly every part of Chennai. Such unfair means practised by auto-rickshaw drivers are reported by newspapers frequently and by many society conscious writers. Many reports of “Auto-Rickshaws being owned by traffic police personnels and hence non-stringent implementation of meter usage by traffic police” have been floated by the media.”
Frequent tariff revisions are institutionalized by authorities to incentize and encourage meter implementation in Chennai. However, the implementing system has been loosely structured and red tapism has inflicted it badly as reported by the media causing an abysmal performance of the system. But, how can we get rid of this menace on roads?
Promotion and encouragement of public transport like State Transport Buses and Local Trains can help the authority confront the situation. For attracting and encouraging travellers to adopt public transport mode, a lot of investments to improve the condition of public transport needs to be made. The public transport needs to match commuters’ needs and expectations. One of the most important need of a rickshaw commuter is time limitations hence public transport also needs to strictly adhere to time deadlines to attract the commuters. Such a strategy of improving public transport system will be a multiple result oriented strategy leading to results viz decrease in road traffic, increase in government revenue, reduction in environmental hazards and monetary saving of commuters.
Divisive politics exploitsthe fissures in the society for political mileage. Using divisive politics as the tool to generate favor among the voters has been an old methodology in India. Divisive politics has been constantly into play right from 1984’s Blue Star operation to recent clashes in Rajasthan. Recent verbal warfare accompanied by violent clashes in Maharashtra using regionalism as the framework to capture vote banks is one of the example of divisive politics.
India boasts of a secular state and an amalgamation of diverse cultures but do divisive politicians playing devil in the society portray an India which is a cross-cultural web (one which is sketched by tourism program ‘Incredible India’). Caste based reservations were fabricated in 1947 with an aim to bridge gaps between various strata of society but now has become a tool for divisive politicians to exploit the ignorance.Indian society which easily absorbed the cultures of kings and colonies who conquered or transgressed in India now detests the differences among itself.
Poverty and ignorance are the two pillars on which the divisive politics fundamentals stands. Terrorists exploit the society on the basis of religion similarly divisive politicians divide the society exploiting the ignorance and poverty for political mileage. ‘Society Terrorists’ would not be a misnomer for divisive politicians. Divisive politicians today are creating an invisible enemy “Hatred” which would soil the harmony in India.
Weigh the Indian population welfare and the Indian vote bank on politicians’ weigh, you will find vote bank weighing more than welfare. Divisiveness is a huge tree deep rooted in the mindset of Indian population. When this tree will fall it will shake the earth.