What Does A Dad Have To Do For A Little Credit Around Here?

You may also like: The highly complex business of kids birthday partiesSo, my wife and I set about trying to deliver an experiential event to about 15 kids under the age of six.

As I’d written last week, my older daughter just turned four. So, as is the custom, we threw her a party. She’s an incredibly independent girl who seems to know her mind. So, she went from wanting to be Princess Leia from Star Wars to being Prince Celestia from My Little Pony. Blame Netflix if you must, but eventually, we had little choice but to comply.

So, my wife and I set about trying to deliver an ‘experiential event’ to about 15 kids under the age of six. I can tell you from years of practice that it’s probably easier to produce documentaries worth a few millions of rupees. We embarked on the mission with a fair amount of trepidation. The food menu must’ve gone through about 15 iterations while the music playlist saw about 342 additions and 215 deletions after which I stopped keeping track. The cake was easy enough since that was completely outsourced. The dress of the birthday girl meanwhile was another matter. Help from family, advice from a few websites and my wife’s immaculate style allowed us to arrive at a white flowing dress that personified the unicorn princess of the said cartoon franchise.

A ‘flowy’ cape was fashioned by the loving, over-indulgent grandma. The last but not least were the ‘return gifts’, a tradition I’m yet to find someone to place the blame on. We settled on plants and cake pops as giveaways to our miniature guests. The aunts and uncles organised the theme-based games and decorations while also providing the necessary manpower and moral support.

 The levels of frolic could not be ascertained exactly due to the lack of the willingness of our patrons to take up a survey but it’s safe to say that it was a fun evening. For me, though, the point of describing the above is because of one text message my wife and I received containing the words, “well organised, Debkanya.” I have no doubt that she deserved it. I have no hesitation in admitting we pulled off a smooth event. That said, I helped put my daughter’s birthday together as well. Coming from another mother, it was a fairly telling comment. I know the mother, and if she’s reading, I don’t mean any offence but it just made me realise that the comment was reflex for her because it’s the reality for so many households.

It made me wonder whether some of us fathers who do pull their weight will ever get the same recognition? If my wife was organising the smaller chairs and tables, I was organising the chairs for the adults and the lighting for our venue. If she was fixing the food menu, I was at the nursery picking the plants for the kids. Yet, every time, we have guests over at our place, I’m always complimented on the way we’ve done up our home, followed by the inevitable rejoinder, “It’s your wife’s taste, am sure.” The guest may be of any gender, but it always comes around at some point. Just for the record, I’ve spent as much time picking the fabric of the curtains as she has picking the brand and size of the TV.

Before you think, I’m fishing for compliments, I know a lot of heterosexual couples who are exactly the same, but the man is always discounted when it comes to things domestic. I think, we’ve done it to ourselves. As a gender, (and I dare speak only for the Indian urban male), I think we’ve evaded duties of this nature for a long time due to the perception of it being a slight to our masculinity. While I think that is rapidly changing, it can’t change fast enough. If more fathers are willing to take their daughters to the tailor to stitch a new dress or are seen at the play gyms hanging out with their kids, we might see more empathy towards & credit given to the hands-on father. It might even possibly provide more encouragement for those who hesitate as well.

Yet, there’s a long way to go for us fathers. In India, if the contributions of homemakers were included in our GDP, it would boost our domestic production by nearly 13 percent. So, while we fathers can complain, we have a long way to go to even hold a candle when compared to the mothers of India. So, yes, well organised Debkanya. 

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