(This article has been written by my husband. I’ve been wanting to put up something from a Dad’s perspective as well. He finally agreed. Hopefully this will be the first of many more to come!)
They say girls have an innate maternal instinct and can’t wait to have kids. For guys, however, its quite a different story. A lot of my guy friends both unmarried and those just married freak out at the idea of having kids. I would have had the same mindset until five years ago. But then my life changed. My son was born, and then two years later my daughter came along. Life has not been the same ever again and I wouldn’t want it any other way. There are some things that I enjoy as a dad that I could/would never experience otherwise. Here are five of them:
#1 You have a default fan following
As a young boy I was in awe of my Dad. I never needed google then, as my Dad was a living encyclopedia. He had an answer to my every question. He knew the meaning of every new word I came across. He was the best cricketer, best storyteller and the most fun person to be around. As a five-year-old boy I was his biggest fan. Today, I get that same vibe from my own kids. My son wants to brush his teeth the way I do and my daughter wants to waltz the way I do (even though I absolutely can’t). Every man has a desire to be admired. I have two of the cutest little fans and I love it. It’s true that I have to be careful in the way I speak and act, especially to their mum. As like every true fan, they want to be like the one they admire!
2. You can be a kid again
I often miss the fun I used to have as a kid. All those toys, exciting cartoons and yummy (and pretty unhealthy) food. Now, as an adult, you’re expected to be ‘grown up’ and its embarrassing to admit that you still enjoy those things. For example, admitting the fact that I am still a huge superhero junky! All these years of education has thought me that I need to be an adult. But most men can’t deny that somewhere deep inside them is still that little boy who gets can’t help but wonder how cool it would be to be a kid now. Being a dad gives you full license to unashamedly be a kid again. I think I get equally excited visiting a toystore to see the latest Marvel superhero figurines as much as my son does. What is important, however, is that in order to connect with our kids, we really have to become like one of them. They are not adults and we shouldn’t treat them like they are.
3. You have the choice to help your kids know what is important
Every one of us have certain things that we value above others. For some it is integrity, for others respect. They say children are like sponges, especially upto the age of six. Whatever we deposit into them at this age, normally stays for life. I have the joy of having both a son and a daughter. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been trying to help my son learn how to respect women through the way he treats his sister. More importantly, this is something only a Dad can do, especially through the way I treat my wife. On the other hand, I’ve been helping my daughter understand that girls and boys are equal. For example, I answer her questions about cricket with the same intention as I would with my son. When I cook I get both my kids to help out. In the world we live in I feel that when dads teach and live out such values they have a lot more impact than if their mum would say the very same thing. What a privilege, and yet with great power comes great responsibility.
4. You start doing things you never knew you could do
When I became a dad for the first time, I realized one very important thing – that my wife had also become a mum for the first time. As much as I didn’t know how to bathe the baby, carry and wrap the baby, and most crucially change the diapers, she too didn’t. So we decided to learn how to do it all, together. And guess what, despite being a man, I could manage pretty well (at least that’s what my wife told me). It’s funny that I often spend my time thinking of creative, innovative and more time-effective ways to bathe-change-feed my kids while watching the match and being on a conference call with a client. I love being part of their lives in this way. I can’t imagine all the memories I would have missed out if I didn’t do, what society expects only mothers to do. As dads we must remember that taking care of our kids is not called babysitting, its called parenting.
5. You get so much more than you give
Finally, the thing I love most about being a dad is what I get out of it. Being a parent can be hard, especially with all the responsibilities that tag along. We sometimes feel we have to keep giving and sacrificing our lives without much immediate return of the investment. But honestly, nothing compares to the love and the joy our kids give us. Be it the happiness we see in their eyes when we enter the home or the arm that wraps around our neck when we’re lying down next to them, reading them a story. Every man has a desire to protect (be it from the sound of thunder) or even give their life for a greater cause than themselves. Being a Dad has given me purpose in life. It has given me a reason to pass on everything I believe in, to someone who will last beyond my own lifetime.