Raising children isn’t a duty to be fulfilled solely by a mother, but a responsibility that is to be equally shared by both the parents. A mother and a father play different roles in the upbringing of a child. Along with the new phase of parenthood comes the pressure of managing the house, taking care of the family members as well as working to earn a livelihood.
Gone are the days where men are supposed to go to work while women have to balance career and kids together. A life where you don’t have to be the only bread earner or restricted within the house to just take care of children and the house; you don’t have to be a part of someone’s decision but together make decisions for the child and the family as a whole, where you know that you will be doing everything but not bearing the pressure all alone, that’s equal parenting. It goes beyond just taking care of kids together.
There is no right time to start parenting equally. It begins from day 1 of entering parenthood. After delivery, mothers go through a lot of struggle, and taking care of the baby also requires efforts. So, this phase itself embarks your journey of sharing parenthood.
There’s no parent who doesn’t love to enjoy experiencing their child’s first moments and watch them grow up. But what about the parts which require all the efforts? Starting from the endless crying, feeding, changing diapers to handling tantrums and helping in studies, mothers have to manage the tough part all by themselves. The fathers should also give it a shot, initially with the little things, and then gradually taking up responsibilities.
Such collaborative efforts not only reduce pressure and stress from one person’s shoulders but also helps in breaking gender stereotypes. Studies have shown that equal parenting helps in reducing the chances of postpartum depression which is commonly seen in new mothers. Kids are also benefited as what they see right from their childhood, eventually becomes normal for them in the future. This will help them once they step into adulthood.
If your child has crossed the stage of being a toddler and you wish to start dividing the roles at this point in time, even then it can be done. It doesn’t matter if one starts from the beginning or whenever they realize this truth of equal parenting, as it’s never too late to mend things. Talk to your partner about the problems you're facing, why you require their support, and not to forget to discuss this change in routine with your child too as they need to know what’s happening so that there is no disruption while trying to coordinate.
In addition to benefiting parents in sharing responsibilities, this is also beneficial for the children as they get to spend some quality time with each parent, and in the process develop a good and healthy bond as well. Being in regular contact with both the parents makes the child open to discussions, sharing problems, asking for solutions, and guidance from them.
Nowadays, teenagers tend to find help from outsiders who may give wrong suggestions which in turn might harm the child, but if that help is found at home then there won’t be any need to look elsewhere.
If one of the parents is not in a state to have a conversation with or assist the child in any way, they can seek help from the other parent without any hesitation or thinking twice, as they already have a good level of understanding and attachment with both of them.
It has always been challenging when someone goes against the traditional norms but this challenge will only help grow a healthy family life. What others think should not come in the way of your priorities. Many Indian households have started adapting to this way and now even you should go ahead with it. Remember, it’s never too late to start something!