In a society where stay-at-home dads are seen as a matter of shame, this heart-touching story of an inspiring father shows why we need to end this stigma as soon as possible. It is heartbreaking how stay-at-home dads are shamed.
While sharing his story with HoB, this stay-at-home dad shares his heart-touching story of love and care for his daughter:“Reshma & I had been on a solid career track since before we became parents. She loved her job, while I ran our family business. She was working throughout her pregnancy; so after Mishika was born she had to juggle motherhood and a full-time job– it got overwhelming for her. That was also the time when I realised how much I wanted to be around our baby– by the time I got home from work, Mishika would be fast asleep- I was losing out on every special moment.
And right after Reshma’s maternity leave ended, she landed the job of her dreams. I really wanted her to accept the offer, so I told her, ‘I’ll take care of Mishika!’ She was taken aback and said, ‘Are you sure?’ I was a Cardiff graduate who was talking about being a stay-at-home Dad. I convinced Reshma, but the idea didn’t sit well with my parents, ‘What do you want to prove by doing this?’ they asked. It seemed like a no-brainer to me though; I wanted to be home for our daughter and help my wife keep her dream job.
So when Mishika turned 1, I quit the business. My days would start at 4 AM; I’d warm her milk, feed her and rock her back to sleep. Right from her first steps to her first day of preschool, I was by her side. I don’t know when she grew out of the pram and began climbing jungle gyms–time just flew! I’d run after her all day, to get her to eat and finish her homework. I learnt how to braid her hair, and she’d say, ‘You do my hair so well, Papa!’
During evenings in the park, some mothers would treat me like a novelty, and tell me it’s ‘so great’ that I sacrificed my career for our daughter; things they wouldn’t say to other mothers. At other times, I’d get confused stares and questions.
Last year, we threw a party to celebrate Reshma’s promotion. Right after she told me, ‘I couldn’t have without your support.’ Still, my relatives nagged me, saying, ‘What good is a man who can’t earn for his family?’ But who cares about what other people say? I know how well the dynamic was working out for us.
Of course, there are frustrating moments, but Mishika is my mirror; she’s just turned 6 and has learned to express herself more clearly. So, when I sound annoyed, she says, ‘It’s ok, Papa. Calm down!’
Now that Mishika is older, I’ve slowly started working from home. Although it feels great, the last 6 years of being a full-time stay at home dad have been far more rewarding than anything else! To know that my daughter is going to be so much closer to me than I am with my own dad makes me happy. People raise their children in different ways, we’re doing it this way. And I’m loving it; I’m loving just being known as ‘Mishika’s Dad.’
At IFORHER, we are in awe of this inspiring father. Rather than letting the society’s negative voice bring him down, he is focusing on the person that matter him the most – his daughter!